Betting on ‘wow factor’
The new 120-room DoubleTree by Hilton, which replaced the Holiday Inn on Nott Terrace, welcomed its first guests in Schenectady on Tuesday.
Schahet Hotels of Indianapolis unveiled its $14 million hotel at 100 Nott Terrace, which Schahet CEO Jeffery Brown described as an upscale hotel that will attract people to Schenectady.
“The Holiday Inn served a great purpose in this location for 50 years, but we have to look to the future and we had to decide what was best for the community and for Schahet Hotels,” Brown said at a ribbon-cutting Tuesday morning. “We want to attract people outside Schenectady into Schenectady, and that we believe we can do with the DoubleTree by Hilton.”
The hotel took longer than expected to build, almost 23 months after the Holiday Inn was shut down in January 2013. But Greg Schahet said the DoubleTree was worth the wait and money.
“Getting here didn’t really go as planned, but the end product far exceeded our expectations,” he said. “Every day has been an adventure on this project. This is truly an outstanding hotel. It looks phenomenal.”
Brown said the goal was to bring a different hotel to the Schenectady market. Schahet Hotels also built the Hampton Inn at 450 State St. in downtown Schenectady.
“We want the wow factor,” he said. “That’s what really makes this hotel different from other hotels.”
The hotel features 120 rooms with a 3,000-square-foot banquet facility that can seat up to 250 people. The hotel also has an indoor pool, outdoor patio and fitness center.
The DoubleTree also has Sammy’s Burger and Bistro, which Brown described as a casual dining option where customers can build their own burgers. The hotel will also serve dinner entrees and breakfast.
Rooms at the new Double-Tree range in price from $139 to $239 a night.
The hotel has an open and modern lobby area with a bar and gas fireplace. The large space features warm tones with light browns and purples, plus finishing touches such as chandeliers and sunflowers.
The rooms have wall-towall carpeting with 40-inch flat-screen TVs, Keurig coffee makers, plush gray bedding and blue accents.
With a commercial casino and two hotels slated for Mohawk Harbor about a mile away, Schahet said he believes the demand for rooms in Schenectady will increase.
BBL Construction of Albany is now building a 124-room Courtyard by Marriott hotel on the old Alco site off Erie Boulevard. A second 150-room hotel adjacent to the casino is also planned.
“I think it could be a benefit, not just for the whole city but for us as well,” Schahet said. “We will be a little bit different and at a different level. So I think this will benefit everybody.”
About a dozen local DoubleTree employees brought excitement and energy to the morning news conference, holding blue and black balloons and shaking clappers.
City Councilwoman Leesa Perazzo said the hotel is “absolutely gorgeous” and praised the employees as “fine, professional, enthusiastic and ready to get to work.”
“This centerpiece hotel is a central enhancement to our downtown,” she said. “The investment will encourage people to visit and stay in downtown Schenectady.”
Schenectady has long been struggling to meet the demand for rooms in the city with businesses popping up in downtown and shows taking the stage at Proctors.
Businesses and colleges, including Union College and Schenectady County Community College, have been forced to send people to stay at hotels in Colonie or Saratoga Springs.
Schenectady County Legislature Chairman Tony Jasenski said the new Double-Tree would help to meet that demand and offer a unique and upscale experience.
MARC SCHULTZ/GAZETTE PHOTOGRAPHER
From top: The new DoubleTree by Hilton at 100 Nott Terrace is seen on Tuesday; housekeeper Lorraine Machuo makes a bed in one of the new rooms; the bar area; a swimming pool is also part of the new hotel. See a photo gallery at dailygazette.com .