Kansas City Marriott Downtown Commences Lobby Renovation

The Kansas City Marriott Downtown in downtown Kansas City, Mo. — the city's largest convention hotel — has commenced what it's calling "the highest impact phase" of a nearly $20 million, multi-year renovation, it announced this week.

The project focuses on the hotel's lobby, which is being transformed into Marriott's new "great room" concept — known as the M.I. Greatroom — and is scheduled for completion in May 2012.

"The M.I. Greatroom is a reimagining of the traditional lobby design," said Cynthia Savage, the hotel's director of marketing. "It allows modern travelers to function fluidly within a social context defined by their interconnected business, social and personal lives."

According to the hotel, the M.I. Greatroom is designed to "completely redefine the guest experience from the moment of arrival through departure." A plugged-in, multi-purpose space, each M.I. Greatroom has three distinct yet interconnected zones — a Social Zone, Individual Zone and At Your Service Zone — that allow guests to efficiently arrive and depart, meet, work, socialize and partake in various dining and entertainment options. Key features include a bar that serves coffee in the morning, beverages in the afternoon and cocktails at night; communal tables that facilitate socializing; individual workspaces that offer "public privacy"; and a reinvented arrivals area.

"The aim of the refurbishment and repurposing project is to improve the downtown Marriott hotel's competitive position against convention hotels in other cities," Savage said. "It coincides with the increased national media attention Kansas City's downtown renaissance is reaping from a $6 billion investment. The Sprint Center, Power & Light District, convention center's expanded ballroom and recently opened Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts have given our community something to sing about. We are adding another verse that is resonating with travelers and meeting planners."

Added Rick Hughes, president and CEO of the Kansas City Convention & Visitors Association, "From a convention perspective, we believe the new M.I. Greatroom will serve as an important function space. It offers a very creative, adaptive space that invites personal interaction among attendees. Research shows that real learning takes place in their exchanges during the five hours between structured sessions and time in room."