Polynesian dancers, local officials and Springfield area residents joined employees Thursday afternoon at the new Homewood Suites by Hilton to celebrate the hotel’s grand opening.
For three hours, visitors received tours of the hotel and its suites, enjoyed performances by dancers from DC Luau Entertainment, and dined on food provided by Panda Express and Tok Teriyaki (formerly Waba Grill), two Springfield restaurants located in the same shopping center as the hotel.
The LEED Silver-certified hotel, which is located at 7010 Old Keene Mill Road in Springfield, opened to the public March 13. It has a total of 165 suites, a heated indoor pool area, and a handful of other amenities for guests.
“I think it’s amazing,” said Lee District Supervisor Jeff McKay. “It turned out much better than we initially conceptualized when I approved it.”
Since opening, the reception from guests and visitors has been largely positive, said Armando Lazarte, director of Sales and Marketing. Although he wouldn’t give specific numbers, Lazarte said the hotel receives new guests every week.
The rates for the hotel vary, based on the length of time a guest stays at Homewood. Lazarte said the hotel mainly caters to the extended-stay traveler, but there’s no minimum or maximum stay limit. The longer a guest stays, the lower the rate will be.
“The average guest will stay one to three days, but extended-stay guests usually average five days,” said Lazarte.
Homewood guests receive daily complimentary breakfast, which is served in the hotel lobby area where much of Thursday’s grand opening celebrations took place, and dinner is also offered nightly in the hotel Monday through Thursday. There’s also a bar where guests and members of the public can enjoy alcoholic drinks and order food from a separate menu from the hotel’s dinner menu.
Each suite in the hotel is completely furnished with full-service kitchens that come with dishes such as plates, cups, and pots and pans and silverware. The largest suites in the hotel have two flatscreen TVs, two beds, and a living space that fits a family of four or six comfortably, compared to a studio suite, which is ideal for one to two people.
The Internet service in the hotel is complimentary, as are the printing and fax services available in the business centers on the main level. On the same level, there’s a fitness center, a laundry room with four washers and four dryers, and a small convenience store where guests can buy everything from snacks to shampoo.
Additionally, the hotel has a roof garden on the second floor with an outdoor gas grill guests can use “just in time for summer barbecues,” said Lazarte.
General Manager Chris Tyner said guests who have stayed at a Homewood Suites in the past will be impressed with the new Springfield location largely because of the 30 to 40 employees who work at the hotel.
“We have a beautiful hotel, beautiful property, but it’s our top-notch, quality service that convinces people to stay with us and come back,” said Tyner.
Lazarte echoed Tyner’s sentiments about what makes the hotel special.
“When we have guests, we greet them by saying ‘Welcome home.’ People stay with us because while they’re here, we treat them like we’re family. Many of us are on a first-name basis with guests. We’re really one-of-a-kind,” said Lazarte.
During his remarks, McKay said the addition of Homewood Suites was a positive step in the right direction to creating a “pleasant experience” in Springfield.
“[Five years ago], we had five blighted buildings that used to greet you when you came into Springfield. We knew we wanted to put up high quality development in Springfield and I’m happy to say with this project, we no longer have a single blighted property and we have new business, new energy in Springfield,” said McKay.
“If you drive around and look at some of the changes, transitions in our community, they’re a very positive step forward. [Homewood Suites] is a phenomenally well-built, well-thought out, well-designed addition to Springfield and we are quickly becoming an epicenter for positive redevelopment and activity in Fairfax County.”