The 120,000-square-foot Marriott is rising like a monolith at the corner of Ridge-McIntire. “It’s going to be spectacular,” promised owner Charles Wendell of Virginia Inn Management, and he hopes to be open between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Wendell, who’s from West Virginia, has a local connection: “My wife and I began our married life in Charlottesville in 1970,” he said. And his son went to UVA.
This is Wendell’s 21st hotel, and it won’t be like the typical Residence Inn. “Rather than the standard interior, we hired a special interior designer and upgraded the whole space,” he said. “It’s not generic at all.” The interior has “great height, and a “great feeling of walking into a special hotel,” he enthused.
Around back, there’s room for 20 cars near the entrance and the garage has 119 spaces.
The pool is already in, and the hotel will have a big exercise room and meeting space, he said. Its courtyard in front of the lobby on West Main features a firepit, and Wendell thinks it will be an excellent spot for locals to have a drink.
The seven-story hotel that was once the site of Random Row Books and City Clay will have 124 rooms, and on the second and third floors, two large suites look out on the Lewis and Clark statue. On the seventh floor, “anywhere you look the views are spectacular,” said Wendell, quickly amending that to say the views are good from anywhere in the Marriott, which overlooks Staples, the federal courthouse and of course, the Omni.
Wendell says the hotel he built in Morgantown, West Virginia, was voted one of the top three in the Marriott system of 650 hotels, and is one of the few winners not managed by Marriott.
The new hotel will not have a restaurant, he said, because there are plenty of good eateries already around. He does think it will bring something else: “a presence.” He said, “This hotel is going to be transformative for West Main Street.” And Wendell, who lives in Charleston, South Carolina, envisions West Main becoming like Charleston’s happening, restaurant, bar and gallery-laden Upper King Street.