Downtown Anchorage gets first full-service hotel in nearly 20 years

Posted: Monday, March 27, 2000

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- The first full-service hotel to be built in downtown Anchorage in nearly 20 years will open its doors this week, if the finishing touches are completed on schedule.

The 20-story Anchorage Marriott Downtown at Seventh and I streets is expected to open for business on Wednesday.

With a staff of about 170, the new hotel will cater to corporate, convention and leisure clients. Construction costs were estimated at $38 million.

The market in Anchorage is very strong in summer and has strong potential to increase during spring and fall, said Bruce Rathje, vice president of sales and marketing for Columbia Sussex Corp. The Fort Mitchell, Ky.-based company owns the hotel, which is its 15th Marriott property.

Topping the downtown Marriott's highlights are expansive picture windows in all guest rooms, offering stunning views of Cook Inlet and the Chugach and Alaska mountain ranges.

All of the 393 rooms and three suites are designed with individual climate control, dual-line telephones, a workstation that can double as a desk or portable table, 24-hour room service and standard features like free cable.

The first floor hosts a business center, gift and sundry shops, art gallery, fitness center with Cybex equipment, pool and Jacuzzi, and a restaurant and cocktail lounge.

Patrick Hoogerhyde, one of Alaska's top chefs, will be in charge of the kitchen at the hotel's Cafe Promenade restaurant, which will serve American-style cuisine.

The hotel will permanently reserve rooms for passengers with Princess Cruises and Holland America during the tourist season.

Convention delegates will normally make up about 30 percent of the hotel guests over a year, Rathje said. Another 30 percent will be tourists, many of them cruise ship passengers. Another 30 percent will be business travelers from the Lower 48, with the final 10 percent corporate clients from Alaska.

The Marriott will offer 14,000 square feet of meeting space that can hold 840 people.

''For us, it means we have more rooms to sell. It's more revenue for the city and more inventory for us,'' said Joy Maples, spokeswoman for the Anchorage Convention & Visitors Bureau.

The Marriott is the last addition to Anchorage's recent hotel construction boom. Between 1997 and now, 11 hotels went up in Anchorage, including the Marriott. Most of them were suite-style hotels or ones with limited amenities.

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