The area's first Marriott Fairfield Inn and Suites opened in Marietta Tuesday, 10 months after ground was broken for the project near the intersection of Ohio 7 and County House Lane.
A soft-opening ribbon-cutting ceremony was held at the hotel site Tuesday afternoon, but a grand opening is slated for later this year.
"We'll have a grand opening for the public on June 6," said Kim Wolfe, vice president of sales and marketing for MPH Hotels, which built the new Fairfield Inn and Suites.
"We're the only Marriott property within an hour's drive in any direction and the city of Marietta has been so welcoming to us," she said.
Jack Bortle is president of SJB Management, Inc., in Athens, a managing partner with the hotel ownership group along with wife, Sandra and son, Chad.
"In the last 20-some years we've opened 35 hotel properties," Bortle said following Tuesday's ribbon-cutting.
At a glance
About the new Fairfield Inn and Suites in Marietta:
Located on Cherry Tree Lane in the First Colony Center development near the intersection of Ohio 7 and County House Lane.
Includes 104 guest rooms, indoor swimming pool with whirlpool spa, exercise room, board meeting room, valet laundry service, a 24-hour market, free high-speed Internet and fax and copy services.
Room rates start at $124 per night. For information, call 374-3000, or visit the website at marriott.com/pkbfi.
Those properties include the Holiday Inn Express in Mineral Wells, the Wingate Inn in Vienna and the Hampton Inn in Athens.
"We were looking for a hotel site in Marietta 10 or 15 years ago and couldn't find a suitable location," Bortle said. "But then Larry Lang Excavating began developing this property. We've actually been planning this project since 2009."
The $7 million, 104-room facility will be the anchor business for the 27-acre First Colony Center, currently in the first phase of development just south of the hotel property.
"We have five 1-acre lots with infrastructure installed all ready for commercial development," said Mike Gulliver, project manager for Larry Lang Excavating, Inc., which is developing First Colony Center.
Bortle said the commercial development will be key to the hotel's operation and vice versa.
"We believe there are some entities that can't come into this area without adequate lodging facilities-now they can come here," he said. "It won't happen overnight, but the business will come."
The hotel sports a swimming pool, board meeting room and fitness center, as well as a variety of room styles, including two-room executive suites.
"On our biggest nights we may have 250 to 300 guests staying with us," Bortle added.
Dona Cernus, whose family was the original owners of the First Colony Center property, said her late father, Joe Cernus, would be proud.
"He was quite a visionary and would have loved to see this," she said.
Marietta Mayor Joe Matthews said he was glad to see the hotel project come to fruition.
"It's beautiful, and very nice for Marietta," he said. "We're pleased the owners have invested in a first-class facility for this community."
Hotel General Manager Mike Koker said reservations are already being made, and the facility's first guests were expected at 3 p.m. Tuesday.
The hotel will employ a total of 25 full- and part-time workers.