First Home2 Suites in Maryland is brands first adaptive reuse project
The hotel is both the first adaptive reuse project for Home2 Suites and the first urban space, joining two other Home2 Suites already open in Fayetteville, NC and Layton, UT.
The new hotel is located at 8 East Pleasant Street in the middle of downtown Baltimore. Developed and managed by Baywood Hotels, construction on the property began in January 2010. The property is owned by Park Hospitality.
Originally opened in 1952, the building is a 95-suite, 13-story high-rise. The space was previously used as another all-suite hotel, and prior to that an apartment building.
“Redesigning an existing structure to fit a new prototype requires both detailed planning and flexibility. As a team, we focused a lot of our energy on finding the best way to modernize a tall building, while maintaining a small footprint, to meet current life safety and international building codes,” said Rick Fenstemaker, senior vice president of operations for Baywood Hotels. “Baywood Hotels’ extensive experience in adaptive reuse and strict internal policies for safety were top priority for this project.”
Adapting the Baltimore property required a complete interior demolition, except for certain structural elements, such as the main stairwell and elevator shaft. The new design also called for minor modifications to the exterior of the building to create an outward appearance more in line with the fresh, modern ‘Home2 look.’ Public area amenities have been divided between the main lobby level, and the lower level. The hotel also includes a media room, a unique feature to the Baltimore property, complete with an Xbox Kinect, Wii and a 60-inch flat-screen.
The hotel features eight different room layouts, with 25 king studio suites and 70 queen studio suites. It also has a 24-hour valet service.
All Home2 Suites properties are mid-tier hotels designed with the budget-conscious traveler in mind and feature a distinct style of modern, comfortable accommodations intended to appeal primarily to younger business travelers, visitors in the process of relocation and family vacationers. According to Bill Duncan, global head of Homewood Suites and Home2 Suites by Hilton, “Hilton Worldwide owners had been asking us for a mid-tier extended-stay hotel, as we didn’t previously have a brand that served that segment of the market. We designed Home2 Suites to meet the needs of younger travelers and to be an affordable option in the Hilton Worldwide portfolio, and our latest HHonors research shows the approach has been working. We’ve already seen an increase in Blue HHonors members, the entry-level tier to the Hilton Worldwide rewards program, as well as the number of rooms booked by that group of travelers.”
Area hospitals, such as the Johns Hopkins Hospital and Mercy Medical Center, are expected to drive extended-stay visits at the Baltimore hotel, as well as major area employers like the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Lockheed Martin, Constellation Energy and McCormick & Company. The new property is within walking distance to Inner Harbor, one of the most photographed and visited areas of the city that offers a variety of fine dining, cultural experiences and nightlife, and is just blocks away from the historic Mount Vernon neighborhood, as well as Oriole Park at Camden Yards – home of the Baltimore Orioles.
“I am excited that Hilton continues to expand in Baltimore City,” said Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. “Their creative use of an existing high-rise in the heart of downtown reflects their commitment to giving customers some of Baltimore’s unique charm and easy access to nearby attractions.”
“Welcoming our first guests to the Baltimore property is a much anticipated milestone for Home2 Suites,” said Duncan. “This is not only our first hotel located in a major urban area, but it’s also our first adaptive reuse project. It’s been thrilling to see the original building transform right before our eyes into a fresh, new Home2 Suites, in one of the most vibrant areas in the city.”
The brand’s approach to mid-tier extended-stay travel emphasizes comfort and flexibility, easy access to technology, community space and a unique design. Research shows that guests in extended-stay situations seek community and connection with others after several days, even if it means they are all working independently among others in a common space. Based on that research, Home2 Suites properties feature an open lobby area with approximately 4,200 square feet of space called the Oasis.
The Oasis is an industry-leading expanded community space that includes communal and individual work zones, wireless access, a 52-inch flat-screen TV and a complimentary breakfast service area that provides one of the most expansive continental breakfasts in this segment of the hospitality industry. The “Inspired Table” breakfast offers a wide variety of continental and customizable breakfast options, including select hot items. The assortment of food options, which includes breads, pastries, hot and cold cereals, and unique toppings, is such that a guest could have a different breakfast each day for 70 days without repeating. The Oasis encourages a social environment where guests can obtain information on the local area, check e-mail and connect with others and, because of its size and offerings, is unique in the extended-stay category.
All standard guest suites include the proprietary Home2 Suites “working wall” that incorporates the kitchen and flexible working space connecting separate living and bedroom zones. A fully accessorized kitchen contains a refrigerator/freezer dishwasher, place settings for six, microwave oven and coffee maker. The media/working zone includes a queen size sofa/sleeper, 42-inch flat-screen TV, roll-around ottoman, ambient task lighting, iHome alarm clock with iPod port and MP3 jack, and various pieces of furniture which can be moved around to create customized living spaces. Other highlights of the Home2 Suites brand are the Home2 MKT for grab-and-go items and an integrated guest laundry and fitness room.
The Home2 Suites brand is committed to environmentally conscious practices. In addition to recycling throughout the hotel, appointments include low-flow showers and faucets, biodegradable food trays, compact fluorescent light bulbs, dual flush toilets, recycled flooring, Energy Star appliances, carpet and surfaces made from recycled product and other sustainable product selections. Home2 Suites is also rolling out Hilton’s proprietary LightStay system, which measures energy and water use and waste and carbon output at Hilton Worldwide properties around the globe.
Though the Home2 Suites by Hilton concept was announced only two years ago, the brand already has 52 properties in-design and another 40 in development. Seven properties are currently under construction and are slated to open in 2011 or early 2012, including San Antonio, TX, Lexington Park, MD, Jacksonville, NC, North Charleston, SC, West Valley City, UT, D’Iberville, MS and Nashville/Vanderbilt, TN. Future properties are slated for many of the nation’s major markets, including Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Washington, D.C., and Denver. Home2 Suites is projected to open its 100th property in 2014 and is approved for expansion into Canada and Mexico.