A $3-million plus renovation of The Residence Inn by Marriott in downtown Hartford’s Richardson Building includes a makeover of the lobby and suites in cool grays, vibrant turquoise and pops of orange.
Geometric shapes abound and some of the furniture looks to be a twist on mid-century modern.
But what is the style of the redo?
Hotel employees, at a reception Wednesday night marking the renovations, took a stab: contemporary, but, no, that sounds, too drab; maybe, Marriott Modern because the hospitality company mandates the colors but leaves furniture and other choices to each hotel.
Finally, Mayor Pedro E. Segarra, a speaker at the festivities, finally observed: “It’s a cross between South Beach and L.A.”
No matter the style, the renovations are the second makeover since the upper-floors of the historic brownstone Richardson Building on Main Street were converted from apartments to 120 extended-stay suites in the late 1990s at a cost of $13.5 million. The Residence Inn opened in 2000.
“I didn’t think what we had previously was dated or shabby, but now that it is done, it is so dramatic,” Marc S. Levine, one of the owners, told me.
Levine said Marriott requires renovations every six years for hotels bearing its flag, or the property risks losing the right to use the Marriott name.
Len Wolman, chairman and chief executive of The Waterford Group, said the Residence Inn typically has an occupancy around 75 percent, higher than most city hotels. He notes that 40 percent of guests are “extended stay,” meaning five days or longer.
Waterford has an ownership stake in the hotel and also manages it.
The renovations inside stand in sharp contrast to the 138-year old Romanesque Revival stone facade of the exterior. The style is influenced by medieval European architecture, mostly of the 10th and 11th centuries, and is characterized by heavy-walled masonry construction, often of roughly cut stone.
Henry Hobson Richardson, a well-known 19th-century architect, designed the building at 942 Main St. The facade features three layers of arches that grow smaller and more numerous with each horizontal level.
When department stores dominated this area of Main Street, the building was home to Brown, Thomson & Co. Today, City Steam has been a longtime, street-level tenant and Hartford Stage uses a portion of the building for rehearsal space.
All the suites have new granite counter tops, stainless steel appliances, accent walls and new furnishings. Mid-week rates range from $279 to $299 a night, but decline with longer stays, Lisa McIntyre, director of sales, told me.
“With all the things happening in Hartford, we should be getting a refresh, too,” Levine told me.