The Courtyard by Marriott hotel at Mohawk Harbor is already accepting reservations and planning a mid-October opening.
Daily Gazette photographer Marc Schultz and I got the first look inside the 124-room hotel. Our tour guides were General Manager Jeff Michaelson and Director of Sales and Marketing Tom Gabriel.
They said rather than drawing people from the Rivers Casino and Resort at Mohawk Harbor on the other end of the site, the Marriott is looking to be part of the Schenectady community and will cater to business travelers and families.
“The goal with the Marriott is for markets like Schenectady — city and urban markets — to have the same feel and a level of comfort for travelers,” Gabriel said. “We’ll really be built around corporate travel.”
The hotel is located on the northern end of the site by Freemans Bridge Road. The main entrance faces Erie Boulevard and features an open lobby with interactive features like pods for check-in, small meeting spaces, and a lounge area with a television.
The amenities are not yet installed. The carpet, which is a white and plum color, is being put down now and the vinyl walls are going up. Some furniture sits covered with plastic, including a large bar that will serve coffee and breakfast by day and cocktails and dinner by night.
The bar and restaurant, called the Bistro, will serve fresh food made in-house. The hotel, like all Marriotts, will serve Starbucks coffee all day. Breakfast will be served in the morning and a light fare menu will be available for dinnertime, which will have quick bites like burgers.
The lobby will feature a “go board” — a 52-inch television that will serve as a virtual navigation tool. Guests can use it to find places to eat in the city along with events and attractions.
“It will have weather, places to eat, traffic, any events going on in the area,” Gabriel said. “All of that is loaded right into the go board where the guests can interact and figure everything out touch and go.”
Michaelson said the hotel has done a lot of research about the area to load the go board with as much local information as possible.
“The hotel was planned before the casino,” Gabriel said. “We want to become part of the Schenectady community. We’re here to cater to the guests of the casino and the leisure traveler, but we see ourselves as more and we want to embed ourselves in the community.”
There is a room off the lobby that will be used as meeting space. The 1,100-square-foot room, called the Harborview Room, can hold up to 100 people. It will have a television screen on one wall and large windows on another overlooking the Mohawk River that will provide natural light.
Step outside of the lobby, opposite the entrance, and guests can sit outside on the patio and enjoy the fire pit. The back of the hotel faces the 208-unit Riverhouse Apartments, which are currently being constructed by the Galesi Group. The harbor could be seen from the back of the hotel along with the river.
Courtyard by Marriott hotel
Address: 240 Harborside Drive
Opening: Tuesday, Oct. 18
Rooms: 124 â Single king, double queen
Rates: $189 weekdays, $159 weekends
Amenities: Fitness center, pool, outdoor patio, fire pit
Food and drinks: Coffee, breakfast; cocktails, dinner
Reservations (after Nov. 15): Call 518-496-5933
“What’s so cool about this is Schenectady is the first to really take advantage of the river,” Gabriel said. “We’re really fortunate that we have a developed riverfront and we can use that to attract guests.”
The hotel is four floors with a total of 124 rooms — 15 rooms on the first floor, 35 on the second and 37 on the third and fourth.
The Marriott will have two room options — single king or two queen bedrooms. There are also a few larger rooms that will be available for the Marriott’s platinum rewards members.
Some of the rooms are almost done. Furniture is expected to be delivered next week. The rooms are being assembled from the top floor down.
Each room will have a desk, refrigerator, microwave and coffeemaker. Some rooms will have just a shower, while others will have a shower and bathtub.
The beds will not have headboards. Rather, the beds will be positioned against an accent wall. The wall is different shades of blue with the outline of trees in gray. The carpet in the rooms is dark gray.
Instead of swiping a room key to open the door, the hotel will have badges that guests can hold up to the door to open it.
The Marriott does not offer room service but will allow guests to pick up food in the lobby. The hotel will also have an indoor pool and fitness room.
The Marriott’s parking lot will be in front of the building, facing Erie Boulevard, and have a total of 124 spaces, one per room.
Room rates are subject to change but Michaelson said they would be around $189 on weekdays and $159 on weekends.
The Marriott’s opening date is Oct. 18. The hotel is now taking reservations for after Nov. 15. People interested in reserving a room can call 518-496-5933.
Michaelson said the hotel has already hired its core team and has interviewed about 80 people for various positions. The hotel is working with Schenectady County Community College and other local organizations as part of the hiring process, he said.
The hotel’s official address is 240 Harborside Drive. Harborside Drive, the road that spans the length of the site, is now being built ahead of the hotel’s opening. The hotel is the first building that will open on site.
The Rivers Casino, located on the southern end of the site behind STS Steel, is now being built and expected to open in February or March. Its adjacent 163-room hotel, which does not yet have a brand, will open about six months later.
The Galesi Group is developing the 60-acre brownfield site off Erie Boulevard, formerly home to the American Locomotive Company, with the apartments, which are expected to be done by May or June, along with a 15-unit townhouse building and office and retail buildings.
The Marriott hotel will be the only Marriott in Schenectady. Other hotels, like the Doubletree on Nott Terrace, the Hampton Inn on State Street and the Homewood Suites now being built on Freemans Bridge Road, are all Hiltons.
Michaelson said he believes being the only Marriott in town will make the hotel more attractive, especially to guests who are rewards members.
Schenectady has had a lack of hotel rooms over the years, with Union College, Schenectady County Community College and Proctors often forced to send people to stay at hotels on Wolf Road in Colonie.
Michaelson said the Marriott’s goal would be to keep people in Schenectady and get them to explore the city.
“We’re hoping to fill a need in Schenectady,” he said. “We want to come in as a hotel partner to the rest of the community and keep travelers downtown. We want people when they visit Schenectady to stay in Schenectady. We’re very excited to be part of the bigger picture of Schenectady.”
Reach Gazette reporter Haley Viccaro at 395-3114, [email protected] or @HRViccaro on Twitter.