Photo Gallery: Columbia Marriott unveils $12 million renovation

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The Columbia Marriott on Hampton Street just got a facelift with the hopes of helping to recharge the Main Street district in the downtown area. The hotel, which opened in 1983, underwent a $12 million renovation to completely transform the look of the lobby space and to update all guest rooms and suites.

“We felt it was beneficial to introduce a completely enhanced and upgraded guest experience while still offering the same great value our guests are accustomed to,” said Joel Darr, general manager of Columbia Marriott. “We could not be more excited for our re-grand opening and to welcome guests to the new and improved Columbia Marriott.”

Darr said the updated amenities are part of the hotel’s forward-thinking mission to set itself apart from other accommodations in Columbia.

“Marriott is changing its brand to meet the future travelers,” he said. Darr said the hotel’s new client is a “master blender,” people who work and play while staying connected via mobile devices.

“They have a life outside of work and work inside of life,” he said.

Guests will be introduced to Marriott’s “great room” concept that mixes communal spaces for travelers who want to stay plugged in, while maintaining plush, quiet spots that Darr said allows visitors to be comfortable and not be bothered.

The concierge lounge also has been updated, and the 27,000-square-foot meeting spaces has been set up with state-of-the-art equipment, Darr said.

At the heart of the renovation project is the new restaurant concept: Midlands Modern Southern Food Arts. The cuisine is inspired by the local flavor of the Carolinas with Southern favorites like pulled pork sandwiches, collard greens and chicken and waffles. The menu features a creamy shrimp-and-grits dish, which was a winning recipe at the Savannah Shrimp and Grits Festival, Darr said.

Darr said his team decided to build the restaurant concept around their veteran chef and South Carolina native Greg Davis. Davis has been with the Columbia hotel for five years. Darr described him as a smoker-barbecue-soul food extraordinaire and let him develop a menu that showcased his talents.

Guests can head over to Café at Midlands for a quick breakfast bite. The cafe serves Starbucks coffee and teas along with fresh-baked pastries, fruit and other on-the-go items. At night, the cafe turns into Rocks at Midlands, a bar serving up signature cocktails and craft beers.

Columbia Marriott has partnered with Soda City Market to offer a farm-to-table experience for guests of the Midlands restaurant. Darr said the hotel will work with local farmers from the market to source produce and other ingredients for the Midlands dining areas. He said local artisans also will supply merchandise for the hotel’s farmer’s market store called The Nest.

Darr hopes the changes will make Marriott a premiere business and meeting destination on Main Street.

“Marriott is really invested in downtown Columbia,” he said.

Categories: Business