Post and Courier
Sep 24 2015 6:10 pm
By Allison Prang
It’s the first of its kind for Charleston.
The city’s hospitality industry on Thursday welcomed its first “dual-branded” hotel, a growing trend within the lodging industry.
The occasion also marked the return of the Hyatt flag to the Charleston area.
Officials untied a ribbon to kick off the official opening of Hyatt Place and the adjoining Hyatt House at the Midtown site near King and Spring streets.
“The idea of the two paired hotels, each with a slightly different marketing or accommodations plan, added wonderful additional diversity,” Charleston Mayor Joe Riley said after the event Thursday.
The hotels have separate lobbies and offer different types of rooms at different rates. Hyatt Place has 191 conventional rooms, while the pricier Hyatt House has 113 units with multiple bedrooms and kitchen areas. The properties share a pool and a fitness area.
“For us, for visitors, having the two products together is magic,” said Helen Hill, president of the Charleston Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.
She also said the hotels will bring more visitors to the booming Upper King area.
“For us, it’s really important because it gives us another anchor on a main thoroughfare,” Hill said.
The newly opened hotels bring the Hyatt flag back to Charleston. Previously, the chain constructed what is now the Mills House Wyndham Grand Hotel on Meeting Street, Hill said.
“It’s fun to have them back,” she said.
For Hyatt, it’s the first time the Chicago-based chain has combined these two specific flags on the same site, said Pedro Perez, general manager of the Charleston properties.
“We’re definitely going to learn a lot from opening these hotels,” he said.
Other chains are buying into the two-for-one concept, partly to offset rising land and construction costs in urban areas. For example, Marriott stacked a Residence Inn atop a Courtyard by Marriott in New York City earlier this year. Hilton has about 15 dual-branded lodgings in North America, and Hyatt has other deals in the works, according to a report this year in the New York Times.
The Charleston project, which includes a 405-space parking garage, took about two years to complete and cost about $80 million.
“To watch this project come from a hole in the ground to this magnificent building is just amazing,” said Rachel Frost, sales director for Hyatt House.
“My general manager has opened eight hotels. And this is my first,” Frost said. “And people say it is an addicting process, and I understand that, but … I’m so excited to actually now be a part of a hotel.”