Renaissance Allentown Hotel Becomes City’s First New Hotel in 35 Years
By Colin McEvoy on January 20, 2015
When it began work on a new hotel in the heart of downtown Allentown, City Center Lehigh Valley took a risk by starting the $65 million project without a commitment from a specific brand, and many claimed they would never land the kind of international luxury hotel company they were seeking.
Those naysayers were proven wrong Friday during the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Renaissance Allentown Hotel, with 170 rooms on seven floors attached to the PPL Center hockey arena at Seventh and Hamilton streets. One of Marriott’s most luxurious brands, there are only 79 Renaissance Hotels in the nation, and Allentown now joins the ranks of international cities that have one, such as London, Paris, Barcelona, Beijing, Shanghai, Moscow, Dublin and Naples.
“Marriott’s Renaissance brand is a global lifestyle brand found in the world’s hippest cities,” City Center co-founder and President J.B. Reilly said during Friday’s event. “It’s a brand recognized around the globe for inspiring its guests to discover the city around the hotel. Marriott’s commitment to Allentown is a tremendous validation that our city is now a global destination worth discovering.”
The Renaissance Allentown Hotel includes 15 suites, 11,000 square feet of meeting space, a 4,000 square-foot ballroom, large meeting rooms and a fitness center. Each room has an iPad with an interactive directory, and the hotel has 24-hour valet parking, private dining rooms for events, and direct access to the PPL Center.
It is the first new hotel to open in Allentown in 35 years, since the 1980 opening of the Hilton at Ninth and Hamilton Streets, which is now a Holiday Inn. Noting that “Every great city needs a great hotel,” Reilly compared the Renaissance Allentown ribbon-cutting to the opening of the Americus Hotel nearly 90 years ago.
“It was the Roaring Twenties, the PPL Tower was being built, and the developers wanted a luxury hotel in the central business district that would provide world-class service and up-to-date technology,” Reilly said. “They knew that a great hotel was needed to define Allentown as a major city for commerce. It’s remarkable how much of that thinking remains true today.”
The Renaissance Allentown Hotel employs 150 people, 80 percent of which reside in the city of Allentown, according to Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski. It also created 250 construction jobs, with 125,000 man hours going into the construction. He called the hotel a major component of roughly $1 billion in completed or ongoing projects in the city’s downtown.
“This is another tremendous day in the transformation of Allentown,” Pawlowski said. “I’ve always said the Lehigh Valley can only strive if its urban cores strive, and for the city to strive, projects like the arena and office buildings, apartments and restaurants, retail and this new luxury hotel, have to be the catalysts of this new era.”
Reilly pointed to several of the hotel’s features that “make it uniquely Allentown.” The lobby incorporates the iconic Dime Savings and Trust Company bank, which also inspired the name of The Dime, an upscale restaurant overlooking the PPL Center entrance. The hotel includes artwork from local artists paying homage to Lehigh Valley businesses, and even has the grill of a Mack truck on the second floor lounge.
“Like the PPL Center, the Renaissance Allentown is a community asset for the public to take pride in and enjoy,” Reilly said. “This hotel will be the place for civic functions, state association meetings, high school graduations, weddings and corporate events.”
Visit here to learn more about the Renaissance Allentown Hotel.
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