$15M + investment improves hotel on Charleston riverfront - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

$15M + investment improves hotel on Charleston riverfront

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All 176 guest rooms have been renovated at Four Points by Sheraton Charleston. All 176 guest rooms have been renovated at Four Points by Sheraton Charleston.

One of the most recognizable landmarks in the capital city just received a lot more than just a facelift. The results at one of Charleston's most famous hotel sites have many in the community raving. 

Four Points by Sheraton Charleston is the first property for Starwood Hotels & Resorts to be located in West Virginia. The grand opening was celebrated Jan. 16.

A $15 million renovation by property owner BBL Hospitality has radically transformed the nearly half-century-old, 12-story hotel, formerly operated by Holiday Inn and Ramada, located on Kanawha Boulevard in front of Haddad Riverfront Park. The hotel, originally built in 1966, has been transformed into a gem for the city of Charleston, according to Mayor Danny Jones.

"It's phenomenal," he said. "We are very grateful for their investment here. It's a great addition to our city. It looks very good. We're very excited about it."

The hotel renovated a total of 176 guest rooms including 24 suites, 12,000 square feet of meeting facilities, as well as new fitness facilities, the lobby and dining area, a new restaurant and an indoor swimming pool.

"It's going to have a major impact on the city," predicts Dale Jordan, general manager of Four Points by Sheraton Charleston. "It gives (Charleston) a better option for selling conventions, with another full-service, renovated hotel. Our rooms are fantastic."

A prime location certainly had a lot to do with Starwood's interest in Charleston's riverfront locale.

"We've always done ‘Live on the Levee' events with the city," said Jordan. "We work together hand-in-hand with the city, the Charleston Convention and Visitor's Bureau and the mayor's office. We have had a lot of positive comments while it was being built. It has a ‘wow' factor now, which is really good."

According to Jordan, there's more to come, including permanent residences being built on the 11th and 12th floors. Retail space is also in the future.

"Aesthetically, it looks great for the city and its skyline," added Jamilah Clarke, director of sales and marketing for the hotel. "And it will be on the forefront of the many activities that happen along the boulevard, the runs, the sports activities, Live on the Levee, the car shows. 

"It's a great place to be a showcase for everything.

Why Charleston?

A West Virginia company, BBL Carlton played a significant role in bringing the internationally known Four Points brand to the state. BBL Hospitality, a sister company, paid a reported $5 million for the property in 2011.

In fact, BBL Carlton now occupies the second floor of the property with its administrative offices.

"BBL Carlton is here and they've experienced a lot of success in this area," said Clarke. "This is a perfect location. All of those factors played a part in making this a viable, sought-after opportunity for the company because of that relationship."

BBL Carlton Vice President Keith McClanahan said everything in the hotel is brand new, "except the concrete and the bones."

"Four Points is a top-notch brand and it was built to its specifications, and we exceeded some," McClanahan said. "The hotel is second to none. The location is fantastic. 

"If you wanted to pick a place to put a hotel in Charleston, this would be the place. It's a great location."

Keeping the renovations as seamless as possible was a tall order, but one that was accomplished flawlessly.

"They kept the hotel open during the renovations," Jordan pointed out. "They could have shut it down, but they felt that it was important to do it in stages and keep people employed. 

"And the work was done with local labor, so it's already had a significant economic impact." 

McClanahan said he's proud of the fact that local labor was used throughout the project.

"I'm from the Kanawha Valley, born and raised," he said. "And it was a big decision to renovate with people in the building. We didn't want to have to lay anyone off. 

"It was a challenge, when you're renovating internally and externally. A lot of planning and hard work went into it."

Green, with a view

Half of the rooms at Four Points by Sheraton Charleston overlook the Kanawha River and scenic riverfront park downtown. On the opposite side, spectacular views of the city are afforded.

"The views are also great, especially at night," Clarke said. 

The all-new, modern rooms feature 42-inch flat screen TVs in every room, with more than 60 channels and an additional 20 music channels.

Being green is important as well. Each room has motion-sensor HVAC systems.

"It's designed to be green and sustainable," Clarke said. "Four Points by Sheraton is big on being green friendly. There are recycle bins in every guest room, and you'll also see them in the public spaces."

New amenities include an indoor, heated pool and fitness center with new equipment. 

"All of the meeting spaces have been totally renovated, with new china, glassware, silverware and serving utensils," Clarke added. 

Great eats

One of the top new restaurants in Charleston has been the Recovery Sports Grill, located on the first floor of the hotel, accessible through the hotel or its Virginia Street front. It was one of the first property renovations completed and opened in 2012.

"It's very family friendly," said Jordan. "All the food is fresh, never frozen."

The menu offers a lot of healthy choices in addition to the typical sports bar food. There's a variety of salads to choose from, and even a hummus platter. It's not just burgers, wings and fries, though those items are local favorites as well.  

Recovery Sports Grill has already become a hot spot when a big game is on television because there are more than 50 televisions available. And each table has a device to select the accompanying audio to listen in and adjust the volume.

As an added touch, the restaurant's décor has a definitive local sports theme, featuring items from West Virginia University, Marshall University, the University of Charleston, West Virginia State University, pro teams in Cincinnati and Pittsburgh, as well as local high schools.

The momentum that the restaurant has enjoyed has already shown benefits to the property, according to Charleston's mayor.

"The Recovery Grill is becoming a meeting place for people," said Jones. "And I think the banquet facilities will become a headquarters for people."

Reservations may be made by visiting www.fourpointscharleston.com.