April 07–SOUTH BEND — Downtown gained an additional 140 rooms earlier this week when the new Courtyard by Marriott opened along Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard across from the Century Center.
The new five-story hotel features a large, modern lobby with a bar and bistro where guests as well as the public can gather seven days a week. When weather warms up, there also will be patio seating along Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.
And when the weather turns foul, guests will be able to enjoy sure-footed heated sidewalks and a covered walk to exhibitions, conferences and other special events at the Century Center.
"There are so many restaurants and activities within walking distance," said Samantha Nibbelink, general manager of the new hotel. "We're here to be part of the continuing growth and revitalization of the downtown area."
Including the new hotel as well as the Aloft and DoubleTree by Hilton, downtown South Bend now has about 620 downtown rooms, and that should help the Century Center book additional events since many conventions and conferences want guests to be within walking distance of the main venue, according to local tourism officials.
Having more downtown guests also will be a boost to the existing bars, restaurants and venues that continue to open in the downtown area.
Rather than hurting any other properties, the new hotel will only create more synergy and momentum for downtown, said Nibblelink, adding that rooms in the new Courtyard are generally oversized and include some nice views of downtown or the Notre Dame campus.
The new hotel also takes advantage of modern technology so guests will be able to use their smart phones to open doors, use their own streaming service on the smart TV in each room or work together at media hubs.
The $14 million hotel complex was developed by South Bend-based JSK Hospitality; the company operates nine hotels including six in St. Joseph County.