|By Anthony Cronin, The Day, New London,
Conn.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
December 27, 2009 --Sean Crump says he wants guests staying at the new Hyatt Place Uncasville to feel right at home.
He says the at-home ambience of a Hyatt Place is what attracted his Stonestreet Hospitality Corp., which developed the six-story hotel, to the hotel brand.
"We want to evoke the feeling as if you're entertaining guests," says Crump, who is president of the East Providence, R.I.-based Stonestreet Hospitality Corp.
"Like you're in your own home," he adds.
Crump says that once Stonestreet (www.stonestreetcorp.com) found available land in the shadow of the Mohegan Sun complex, the deal was clinched and ground was broken in the summer of 2008. Today, the 176-room upscale hotel is completed and welcoming guests, and Crump says he and his firm are proud to represent the Hyatt Place brand -- and to have opened the town's first newly built hotel in eight years.
The Hyatt Place Uncasville, which adds about 50 new jobs to the local economy, is co-managed by Stonestreet Hospitality and the Newport Hospitality Group of Williamsburg, Va.
The Hyatt Place lobby -- referred to as the "gallery" by the global hotel firm -- features a "great room," with comfortable seating and tables where guests can meet and chat, or business people can finish work on a laptop computer. Behind the great room is what the hotel calls its "den," which includes a seating area and a large plasma screen television.
The front check-in desk is unobtrusive and adjoins a "grab and go" deli-type case with drinks and foods, everything from pastries to sandwiches and salads for busy travelers; there's also a small area for beer and wine. In addition, the six-story hotel features a dining area for guests with breakfast, lunch and dinner offerings (the hotel offers a complimentary breakfast). Crump, whose business experience includes hotel management, says he's spent a lot of time at the newest Hyatt Place as it prepared to open its doors to the public.
His firm, Stonestreet Hospitality, is one of four operating companies of the privately held Stonestreet Corp. The Rhode Island corporation's development interests range from Neiman Marcus retail stores to luxury waterfront developments and hotel construction management.
Crump says the hotel's strategy includes attracting visitors from the nearby Mohegan Sun entertainment complex, which is a mile away. The hotel sits in an enviable location, right next to the highway connector leading to the casino, and the new hotel's entrance off Route 32 includes space for retail offerings. A building has already been erected for those retail shops, says Crump, although it still needs to be fully developed and construction finished once clients are found for 5,000 square feet of space.
The entire Hyatt Place footprint covers some six acres, and Crump estimates the entire project totals about $29 million.
Above the first-floor lobby and meeting areas, the Hyatt Place rooms are styled in a suites-like setting, with a seating area, eating area, a desk, and coffee maker and refrigerator.
Each room features a 42-inch high definition plasma screen television that also includes a plug-and-play feature, allowing various devices, from video games to laptop computers, to be easily plugged into a side console and display their sights and sounds on the large-screen television.
The hotel already has an agreement with Mohegan Sun's reservations department to make the Hyatt guest rooms available to interested casino patrons. "We have been truly welcomed as neighbors of Mohegan Sun," says Crump, who envisions the new hotel's customer mix as 75 percent casino-related and the rest leisure and business travelers.
Hyatt Place hotels (www.HyattPlace.com) are considered in the hospitality industry to be "upscale select-service" type accommodations, meaning they have many of the amenities -- from 24/7 food service availability to suites-like layouts -- that are found among the top brands. Hyatt Place hotels are a featured brand of the Chicago-based Hyatt Hotels Corp. (www.Hyatt.com), a global hospitality company whose brand is found in 45 countries and whose holdings now number more than 400 sites around the world. Hyatt markets its various hotels and resorts under numerous subsidiaries, including Hyatt, Hyatt Place, Grand Hyatt, Hyatt Regency and Hyatt Summerfield Suites.
Location an asset
For Crump and his Stonestreet Hospitality colleagues, the new hotel in Uncasville is a significant addition to their development holdings. Besides its proximity to Mohegan Sun, as well as the Foxwoods complex that also is a short drive away, the region's many tourism-related holdings and historic sites are expected to bring in new customers to the Hyatt Place.
Its location on Route 32 in Uncasville means it's close to the many shopping sites and restaurants that have opened recently, including the nearly 300,000-square-foot Montville Commons -- the town's largest commercial development -- a CVS Pharmacy and a Chili's Grill & Bar.
For Crump, the Dec. 20 opening of the new Hyatt Place Uncasville is a return of sorts to his roots in the hotel and hospitality industries, where he's worked in sales and management for a variety of hotels in New England. As he surveys the ground floor of the new hotel, Crump says he's very satisfied with his firm's latest development.
And, he quips, "It feels good to be a hotel guy again."
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Copyright (c) 2009, The Day, New London, Conn.
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