Sporting the IHG Formula Blue™ design, the Meyer Jabara Hotels owned-and-operated property is now modern, relevant and catering to an evolving generation of guests

[Danbury, Conn., Oct. 16, 2018] — The Holiday Inn Express & Suites Wilmington – University Center in North Carolina has recently completed an extensive renovation. The 131-room hotel, located at 160 Van Campen Blvd., revamped its interior and exterior to reflect the InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) Formula Blue™ design. Owned and operated by Meyer Jabara Hotels (MJH), the re-design encompasses the porte-cochere, main entrance, lobby, front desk, guest bathrooms, meeting spaces (including a ballroom, boardroom and two function rooms), breakfast area with newly added Sweetshop Marketplace, fitness center and outdoor swimming pool and patio area. Since MJH purchased the property in June 2017, the hotel has improved its ranking on TripAdvisor by 17 positions, and it is now ranked among the Top 8 hotels in the greater Wilmington area.

“Guests staying at the new Holiday Inn Express & Suites Wilmington will be pleasantly surprised from the moment they pull into the parking lot,” said Eric Churchill, MJH senior vice president of operations. “Not only does our building look amazing inside and out, but since Meyer Jabara hotels took ownership, the operating principles are exceptional too. The level of service that has been instilled in our staff is second to none. MJ is all about creating a memorable guest experience that guarantees guests will want to return again and again.

“This 22-year-old building is now modern, relevant and catering to an evolving generation of guests,” Churchill said. “It’s been at least 12 years since the last physical refresh, and travelers are absolutely ‘wowed’ by all the enhancements. Not only do we have the best location in town – just 8 minutes from the Riverfront and Beaches and less than one-and-a-half miles from the University of North Carolina Wilmington – but it’s the best-looking hotel comparatively speaking to the local competition. The redesign is attractive, fresh and inviting. We are so eager to show off this new gem to the local community.”

Renovation to the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Wilmington began March 3rd and was completed August 6th. Although Wilmington was severely impacted by Hurricane Florence in September, the property was unscathed. ES Development & Management Corp. of Boston served as the general contractor; Compass Development Services LLC of Fairfield, Conn., was engaged as the project manager; DiLeonardo of Warwick, Rhode Island, took the lead on design; and Benjamin West of Dallas oversaw FF&E and OS&E procurement. An open house and ribbon cutting ceremony are being planned for October.

Formula for Success

The Formula Blue™ design prototype selected by the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Wilmington appeals to self-sufficient and independent travelers. It features fresh, energetic and engaging elements, creating a distinctive style that is evident at every touch point of the Holiday Inn Express brand experience. Formula Blue puts sleep quality, simplicity, and ease of maintenance at the center of its concept, which is mandatory for all future renovations and new-build Holiday Inn Express properties.

“The collaboration on this project was remarkable,” said Jordan Batty, senior designer with DiStudio, a project group of DiLeonardo. “Formula Blue™ was definitely the right prototype to select for this property. It adds a lot of light and accent details that make this hotel stand out in the market and have a big impact on guests. The lobby is wide open with a convenient flow, flexible seating and a lovely feature wall that commands attention behind the reception pods. The line-of-sight is vast; guests can scan the entire area quickly and understand where everything is located without having to ask for help. A comfortable lounge, business center, breakfast area with banquettes and a communal table, and new grab-and-go market provide hospitable and welcoming elements to this space. There’s even an interactive media area where guests can look up local attractions, flight schedules and more on a flat-screen TV. There is no doubt that this is a Holiday Inn Express Formula Blue™ hotel.”

The hotel’s fitness center received new TV-clad equipment. The elevator banks and guest corridors were also updated with new carpet in tones of blue and gray complemented by new vinyl wall covering. When the elevator doors open on each floor guests are greeted with a stylish art-deco floor number for easy wayfinding. Guest bathrooms were gutted to the studs and feature new vanity, tile floor, wall vinyl and back-lit make-up friendly mirrors that female guests love.

“When this reno project began and I saw the plans, I thought the hotel would look okay,” Churchill said. “Now that it’s complete, and I can honestly say that it turned out way better than expected. I’ve been in the hotel business for more than 30 years. By far, this is one of the most extensive facelifts I’ve ever experienced. MJ did a phenomenal job physically and they are making an even bigger, and more positive impact on our staff and guests. Words cannot express how pleased I am to be working for Meyer Jabara Hotels, and travelers are experiencing and appreciating the difference.”