If there are two buildings that Grand Rapids is known for, it is hands down the JW Marriott next to the Amway Grand Plaza. However, only one of these is getting a near-total internal renovation, which will cost a pretty penny.

Photo by Kari Shea on Unsplash
Photo by Kari Shea on Unsplash

Hotel Makeover

AHC Hospitality, the management company jointly owned by the Devos' and the Van Andel's began plans to completely overhaul all 20 floors of guest rooms to update them to 2024. These renovations come hot off the heels of other renovations to the base floor that included a rebrand to the ground-floor restaurant, a revamp to the lobby, ballroom, and meeting rooms, as well as the addition of a spa and fitness center.


The new guest rooms are set to receive a multitude of cool new features, such as new wood flooring, new carpet, new wall vinyl, and perhaps the biggest addition is a new 60-inch TV that has "Bluetooth integration".


Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash
Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash

Why Make Changes Now?

These renovations are the largest to be done to the building since it opened in 2007, and that is partly why these changes are happening now. Nick Remes, the regional general manager of AHC Hospitality, had this to say:

"people forget that we are 17 years old and how quickly that time goes...in 2007, style and general design was different. … there’s a ton of dark cherry in the guest rooms, and we are completely eliminating and washing out all the cherry. A lot of nice, cool tones will be incorporated."


Man working on a laptop in public.
Photo by Joseph Frank on Unsplash


Remes also commented that another reason for the change is the result of how different the corporate business world addresses traveling for work. Since travel is down following the COVID-19 pandemic, the hotel is changing to address the ever-changing landscape. Norina Cadili, the general manager of the JW Marriott Grand Rapids, said that,

"a lot of people are utilizing space for their offices. … People are plugged in, you’re seeing small meetings taking place. … You will certainly see that people come in, even from the outside and locally, to utilize our spaces for business.”


The hotel is becoming a hub-spot for business, rather than just an accommodation for travelers. The project is expected to take about 18 months to complete.


The Highlander Hotel

2525 Highlander Plaza in Iowa City is home to The Highlander Hotel, a retro hotel with a unique history. After undergoing extensive renovations over the past several years, here's a peek at what it looks like now!

Gallery Credit: Courtlin

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