BIG CHANGES AHEAD for the Landmark Inn.
First of all, the Crow’s Nest, the famed restaurant/bar formerly located on the top floor of the hotel, will be revived. Makes sense. Anyone who’s tried to find an empty table in the tiny Northstar Lounge on the top floor on a busy night, and was turned away, understands.
It’s frustrating. You wanna be up there, with the commanding view of Lake Superior and Marquette, but there’s no room for you, or there’s a long wait.
So here’s what the owners, Graves Hospitality, are going to do: They’re going to bust out some walls, relocate the women’s bathroom, and extend the North Star Lounge into the Sky Room which is used for banquets and meetings. And then rename the new, expanded venue the Crow’s Nest.
The renovation and expansion, incidentally, will still allow for banquets and meetings–it’ll become what’s known as a “flex” space.
“The Crow’s Nest was important in the history of this hotel,” says Benjamin Graves, the CEO of Graves Hospitality. “We want to bring it back. We’re sure this is what the community wants.”
He’s right. And equally important, we want more space, more tables, more chairs, and shorter waits–so that we can sip our drinks while enjoying the sights: boats finding their way back to harbor, ever-changing clouds gathering over the Lake, lights twinkling on the hills in the distance, and a dark, velvety quiet descending on nighttime Marquette.
Design of the revived Crow’s Nest is about to get underway but construction likely won’t begin until next fall.
And then there’s this other piece of big news. Once the Crow’s Nest is completed (the final step in a $1.7 million dollar renovation of the hotel), the Landmark Inn will officially join Marriott’s Tribute Portfolio.
Marriott?!!! Marriott?!!!! The Landmark’s gonna become a Marriott?! They’re selling out to a frickin’ hotel chain???
Nope. No, what they’re going to do is join a very select, highly prestigious group of distinctive hotels around the world who are part of the Tribute Portfolio. Twenty-one hotels in the U.S., six in Europe, six in the Asia Pacific. Locations include Paris, Amsterdam, London, Jakarta, Palm Springs, Santa Fe, South Beach. None in Michigan, yet.
Quoting from the Portfolio website: They are a “family of independent boutique hotels bound by their Indie spirit and heart for connecting people and places…We find hotels with striking design moments, bold use of color and noteworthy art installations. All designed to give you a hotel stay worth talking about.”
So what about the Marriott connection? What’s that all about?
“We will be tapping into the Marriott reservation system, nothing more,” says Graves. No Marriott signs anywhere on the Landmark, no branding, nothing. Except for this: When guests stay at a Tribute hotel, they will get Marriott points. That’s a huge deal for business and leisure travelers these days.
Bottom line, this is an expensive upgrade for the Landmark, one that will almost certainly increase its profile (and rates??) on the international hotel scene.
One final note. There’s been a persistent rumor out there that the hotel is about to be sold. Graves laughs when he hears this. “We love the Landmark,” he assures us. “We have no intention at all of selling it.”
Nearly $2 million in renovations would seem to reinforce his point.
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