Orlando Business Journal, 10-06-20

Kolter Hospitality shares inside look, more details on new downtown high-rise Marriott hotel

By: Richard Bilbao | Digital Producer/ Senior Staff Writer | Orlando Business Journal

A south Florida hospitality company is not letting the pandemic spoil its plan to open a new hotel in downtown Orlando.

Delray Beach-based Kolter Hospitality will debut its new AC Hotel by Marriott Downtown next January in Orlando.

The hotel is part of the $125 million, 28-story, SunTrust Plaza at Church Street Station mixed-use tower that also will feature 200,000 square feet of new office space, a ground-level restaurant, nine-level parking garage and a Grand Central Station-type of lobby connected to the Church Street Station SunRail commuter rail stop.

Marriott’s AC brand is an upscale, modern style of lodging that caters to a mix of users. Kolter’s property likely will serve business and leisure travelers visiting the region.

The new Orlando hotel location will offer various amenities, including two board rooms with floor to ceiling windows and a flexible meeting room, and most notably, The Skybar Terrace, which is a leisure area offering panoramic views of downtown.

See images of the future hotel in the gallery above.

Orlando continues to see lower-than-usual hotel occupancy due to the pandemic. The region saw a 31.9% average occupancy rate for the week ending Sept. 26, according to the most recent data available from Hendersonville, Tennessee-based STR LLC. That is down from 67% for the same time last year.

Here, James Hansen, vice president of sales and marketing for Kolter Hospitality, shares more on the upcoming hotel, building during a pandemic and more:

What’s unique about the AC Hotel by Marriott Orlando?
The AC Brand caters to the essentialist traveler. Everything we do is intentional and designed to inspire. AC Hotels are not one-size-fits all nor can you pick a prototype off a shelf. Every decor item, finish and fixture was hand selected to embody the AC guests’ travel needs. We are a true kit-of-parts design concept that pays homage to the history of the city we are of service to. The AC Hotel Orlando Downtown will embody downtown Orlando while offering a unique experience for our guests, unlike any other downtown hotel. Our AC Skybar Terrace will serve signature cocktails, offer craft beers, a unique wine selection and a tapas menu fit for a foodie. From stylizing the hotel to staffing and the wine menu selection, every detail and experience is curated with our guests’ needs and desires in mind.

What was a first for Kolter regarding this project?
A first for Kolter Hospitality on this project was building and fitting out a new hotel within an existing structure (SunTrust Building) while having tenants and businesses in place already.

Why was the AC flag chosen?
The brand offers a format that embodies the convenience of a select-service property with the refinement and offerings of a full-service property. The AC brand is intuitive and constantly evolving to grow with our guests. From our daily 5 p.m. bar activation ritual to our mixologist-crafted signature cocktails and a variety of areas throughout the hotel to connect, the AC brand offers guests everything they need and nothing they don’t.

What does this add to the Kolter portfolio?
Another great Marriott flagged asset in a top-tier U.S. domestic market

What need did this fill in the downtown Orlando market?
The AC offers that perfect blend of refinement and innovation. It’s the new kid on the block that will be equally appealing to locals as it will be to business travelers and vacationers. Downtown is historic and edgy, and the AC is that perfect blend. Because we are 180 rooms, and the hotel floors are the top of the building, we offer a sense of exclusivity and privacy while simultaneously keeping a downtown vibe with views and amenities. Greater Orlando does not have an AC brand anywhere, so it’s a perfect choice to offer the market.

What is a lesson Kolter learned during the pandemic?
Safety, cleanliness and keeping the course are all important lessons learned during Covid. While we always have maintained guest safety and overall cleanliness in our portfolio, Covid has brought to light the importance of making sure we do the simple things all the time, the right way. We also learned the importance of communicating our efforts and the steps we are taking to enhance each guest experience.

Is Kolter interested in growing more in Orlando?
We always have maintained that given the right opportunity, we would like to grow in any markets where we currently do business and our commitment to our local communities drives us to do just that, so there is always a chance Orlando could see growth from our company in the coming years.

Which local submarkets fit where Kolter is looking to grow?
We continually seek opportunities in high-density, urban and walkable locations that have access to multiple demand generators, and Orlando offers many of those. We really like the downtown area along with Lake Eola, Winter Haven and possibly just outside downtown like the medical campus areas, for example.

SOURCE: Orlando Business Journal


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