Friday, August 1, 2008
Murfreesboro’s Embassy Suites
Nearly seven weeks before the opening of Murfreesboro’s Embassy Suites, workers are putting the finishing touches on the hotel and conference center that is expected to be an economic boon for Rutherford County.The smell of fresh paint and the sound of machinery was in the air as hotel officials gave members of the local media a first look at the new hotel located at 1200 Conference Center Blvd. off Medical Center Parkway adjacent to The Avenue lifestyle center and Interstate 24.“It is pretty exciting,” David Latture, hotel general manager, said about the upcoming opening. “I have done this before and it is a great experience. You hope everything comes together.”The 10-story, 283-suite Embassy Suites Hotel and conference center could open as early as Sept. 10 but no later than Sept. 16, he said. The Embassy Suites, developed and owned by Springfield, Mo.-based John Q. Hammons Hotels & Resorts LLC, has 43,325 square feet of meeting and event space. Hammons is the leading independent builder, developer, owner and manager of upscale, full-service hotels.The 28,800-square-foot grand ballroom will be the third largest in the greater Nashville area just behind two ballrooms located within the Opryland Hotel, said Phil Martin, a hotel spokesperson.“It fills a niche that is not in this market,” he said of the hotel and conference center.Overall, the conference center has 21 breakout rooms. The ballrooms are named after large Rutherford County subdivisionsThe Mirabella grand ballroom can accommodate 2,000-seated guests and 4,000 for a reception, said Becky Vealey, Embassy Suites sales and marketing manager.The Oakleigh junior ballroom can accommodate 500-seated guests.“This will probably be the room where most weddings will take place,” Vealey said due to the room’s large windows.Latture said he is confident about making the opening date as water features in the atrium and a fountain outside the main entrance seem to be the largest projects that need to be completed.But to be on the safe side, the earliest reservations being taken are Oct. 1.Some of the first events booked at the conference center are the Tennessee Society of Association Executives Trade Show, the Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce’s annual banquet and the Society for Military History.Construction of the Embassy Suites Hotel and conference center is estimated to be at $70 million. The facility is expected to generate more than $23 million in annual revenue and have a projected annual economic impact of $39 million.The Embassy Suites has a grand appearance with large hallways and meeting rooms throughout the conference center. The décor throughout the hotel is largely made up of patterns of burgundy and gold that runs through the conference center as well into the room suites.The main entrance of the hotel opens into a large atrium with water features called water trails that will cascade and meander throughout the main entryway. Instead of the traditional check-in desk, the hotel has pods near the entrance that encourages employees to greet guests. Between 25 and 28 mature trees will be planted within the atrium.Just to the left of the main entrance is a yet to be named restaurant that can seat more than 200 diners. Directly across from the restaurant is a 24-hour business center and Caffeina’s Internet Café that will serve Starbucks coffee and contain a gift shop.To the right, past the atrium is the hotel’s fitness center and indoor pool.Embassy Suites room rates range from $149 a night to $650 for one of the hotel’s two presidential suites.The front room of the luxury suites contains a couch with a pull out queen-sized bed, a table and desk. The bedroom has either a king-size bed or two queen-sized beds. Bathrooms have granite countertops and dark wood cabinets. Each suite also has two 32-inch flat-screen televisions and large windows with tree line and interstate views.The Embassy Suites also offers high-speed Internet, room service and in-room wet bar, refrigerator and microwave.Presidential suites have larger living and dining room areas, garden tubs and large tiled showers. More than 1,500 have applied for the 225 or so jobs available at the Embassy Suites. Latture said he was impressed by the applicants who attended the hotel job fair July 25-26. A number of the applicants lived in Murfreesboro but were commuting to hotel positions in Nashville.