Fairfield Inn gets unique remake
BY TIM MEKEEL, Business Editor
The term "unique franchisee" seems to be an oxymoron.
After all, franchises are built on the idea of all franchisees offering the same product or service.
That way, customers know what to expect when they walk in the door, no matter where that door is.
Yet Horst Realty found a way to put its own twist on its Fairfield Inn, as the Granite Run Drive hotel was converted into a Fairfield Inn & Suites.
With the approval of Fairfield owner Marriott, the $2.5 million, one-year renovation gave the hotel unique colors, furnishings and rooms.
"When people who haven't been here in a year walk in, the first word out of their mouth is 'Wow,' " said Sue Whittaker, its general manager.
"They're not used to seeing what they see here," she said Wednesday.
The blue, gray and purple color scheme, the dark furniture, the artwork on the walls and other touches were picked out by Steve Horst, president of Horst Realty.
The Granite Run Drive hotel is the only Fairfield out of the 600-plus locations to have those items, said Whittaker. The typical Fairfield colors are aqua, green, blue and orange.
It's also the only Fairfield with a two-bedroom, two-bathroom suite, created out of the leftover space from a guest room sacrificed to build The Market, a 24-hour snack and beverage area.
That room was among three guest rooms eliminated to free space for new uses, which took the Fairfield from its original count of 133 guest rooms in 1997 to 130 rooms and suites today.
Besides The Market, former guest-room space was used to create a 30-person meeting room.
Other common areas overhauled in the project were the lobby, the business center and the breakfast area. Guest rooms got new sinks and new 37-inch flat-screen televisions.
Outside, the swimming pool got lifts to help handicapped persons get in and out. Exterior walls of the three-story hotel were painted dark red, tan and off-white. Signs were replaced.
"I don't think we missed much," said Whittaker, "if we missed anything at all."