|By Arlinda Smith Broady, Savannah Morning
News, Ga.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Mar. 20, 2010--Luxurious and environmentally friendly are words that rarely go together, but the Savannah area's newest hotel, the Embassy Suites Savannah-Airport, blends the ideas well.
The first full-service hotel off the Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport exit and the first Embassy Suites brand in the area features Georgia's first Flying Spoons restaurant, the chain's new "hip-casual" concept.
It also features Embassy Suites' innovative and cost-effective Design Option III prototype, which focuses on energy efficiency and effective use of space.
"The hallmark is the open-air atrium, which allows for more natural light and less use of heating and air conditioning units," said general manager Gautham Shetty. "We have a much smaller carbon footprint with the same ambiance and emphasis on quality."
From eco-friendly shower heads and plumbing fixtures, to motion-detection HVAC units, to disposable cups made of biodegradable materials and coffee grown in locales that sustain the rainforests, Embassy Suites doesn't just talk the talk.
"These small details add up," Shetty said.
All of the core amenities for which traditional Embassy Suites properties are known, such as two-room suites, complimentary cooked-to-order breakfast and complimentary nightly manager's receptions, are offered at this property.
"Even before we were fully opened, we had people inquiring about room availability," Shetty said. "We even had people come by, see the hotel and cancel their reservations elsewhere."
All of the 162 suites include two flat-screen, 32-inch televisions, a work station and living room area with a small refrigerator and microwave oven.
"We don't have a presidential suite or any typical hotel rooms," Shetty said. "Every guest is a V.I.P., and there's no extra charge for that."
With 4,687 square feet of meeting space, complimentary wireless Internet access in the lobby as well as all guest rooms, and a complimentary airport shuttle, the hotel targets business and leisure travelers.
Joseph Marinelli, president of the Savannah Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, said he's excited to see the growth in the western part of the county.
"It's terrific that Savannah now has an Embassy Suites," he said. "It's a very popular chain under the Hilton family, and the brand and the location will prove popular with families, business travelers, sports enthusiasts and reunions."
Having so much meeting space is expected to make it attractive to nearby organizations such as Gulfstream, JCB and the Georgia Ports Authority.
"I hope it leads to future Embassy Suites properties in other parts of the area," Marinelli said.
Although the property is in the midst of Pooler, located just behind Home Depot and across from Cheddar's, it's actually in Savannah.
But Pooler Mayor Mike Lamb is optimistic it will enhance what's already available in the area.
"It would attract conferences and other business to Pooler, and the guests would certainly find themselves patronizing the restaurants and other establishments nearby," he said.
With 63 employees, Embassy Suites considers itself a vital part of the community.
"We've invested in the area with the facilities and the associates," Shetty said. "We invite the community to come see what we're about."
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