published Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

Chattanooga's first waterfront hotel opens Thursday downtown

The seating area in between the lobby and the patio with a view of the river is seen Tuesday at the new Spring Hill Suites by Marriott hotel that will open this week on Riverfront Parkway.
The seating area in between the lobby and the patio with a view of the river is seen Tuesday at the new Spring Hill Suites by Marriott hotel that will open this week on Riverfront Parkway.
Photo by John Rawlston.
GOING FOR LEED

The new SpringHill Suites by Marriott was built to garner the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Silver certification, officials said.

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    The new Spring Hill Suites by Marriott hotel will open this week on Riverfront Parkway.
    Photo by John Rawlston /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Downtown Chattanooga will add another hotel -- its first on the waterfront -- Thursday when a SpringHill Suites by Marriott opens its doors.

"Chattanooga is known for its river," said Hiren Desai, chief executive of developer 3H Group Hotels.

The $16 million, 116-room hotel next to the city's marina off Riverfront Parkway is the latest new lodging offered in Chattanooga.

An Embassy Suites is under construction off Shallowford Road, and Desai said his Chattanooga-based company has plans to soon put up another hotel and refurbish an existing property at the same Interstate 75 exit.

In East Ridge, a Comfort Inn has been extensively renovated and turned into a Best Western Plus. In addition, Vision Hospitality is planning to build a Fairfield Inn by Marriott downtown at the south end of the Walnut Street Bridge.

Desai said he's not sure where the saturation point is for new lodging, but the SpringHill Suites will cater to both business and leisure travelers and will hold 2,500 square feet of event space.

The five-level hotel is all suites decorated in a "boutique, Euro-style" fashion, he said. Some rooms have exterior patios overlooking the Tennessee River.

Jake Honegger, the hotel's general manager, said rates will start at $169 a day.

"It's something unique," he said.

The SpringHill Suites is the first part of the larger development known as Cameron Harbor, said Chattanooga developer Eugene "Buck" Schimpf.

He said negotiations are under way to put a restaurant adjacent to the hotel, and he plans to extend the city's Riverwalk by the lodging and his adjacent tract. Schimpf said he still is putting together plans for housing to go on that site.

Bill Breneman, director of sales and marketing of the Best Western Plus Arbour Inn & Suites in East Ridge, said that hotel's extensive renovation was finished in late April.

"Everything is brand new," he said, adding it was upscaled to compete with the Holiday Inn Express brand. Officials will mark the work at the hotel at a May 30 event, Breneman said.

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about Mike Pare...

Mike Pare, the deputy Business editor at the Chattanooga Times Free Press, has worked at the paper for 27 years. In addition to editing, Mike also writes Business stories and covers Volkswagen, economic development and manufacturing in Chattanooga and the surrounding area. In the past he also has covered higher education. Mike, a native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., received a bachelor’s degree in communications from Florida Atlantic University. he worked at the Rome News-Tribune before ...

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