New and old will soon go hand in hand when the 682-room Amway Grand Plaza Hotel, located along Grand River in Grand Rapids, Mich., unveils its $14 million renovation to the 285-room Glass Tower next month. The new interiors feature two distinct designs to accommodate two kinds of travelers: the new generation of travelers looking for something more contemporary and those looking for something that pays homage to the hotel’s almost 100-year-old history. Prevue speaks with Mike Donnelly, general manager of the hotel, about the renovation highlights as well as some of the beer-centric ways for groups to bond in the area.
Q: How does the renovation pay homage to the history of the hotel?
Donnelly: The Amway Grand Plaza will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2016. During the renovation of the glass tower, designer Wendell Gooch decided to pay tribute to the iconic symbols of the hotel by including sunburst mirrors in the guest rooms. The memorable image on the historic Pantlind wing of the hotel is the 16-foot sunburst art piece that serves as the backdrop in the traditional lobby. Gooch also chose to include smoky charcoal wallpaper in the Classic rooms with chandelier graphics subtly placed in the background in order to honor the memorable crystal chandeliers that are hanging from the ceiling in the Pantlind lobby beneath the trademark gold leaf ceiling.
Q: What kind of teambuilding options does the hotel offer for groups?
The Spa at the Amway Grand Plaza allows attendees to immerse themselves into the Beer City USA culture with the Brew n’ Renew spa program. The spa at the hotel has a unique setup designed specifically with groups in mind. The moon-shaped bar has deep basins that will be filled with a soothing beer soak. Attendees will get a beer to enjoy at the bar while mingling with other group members during the hops and barley exfoliating treatment. This hyper-local spa treatment is a great way to rejuvenate the group during breaks and bring the group closer together.
Q: What are some offsite activities for attendees to do in the area between meetings?
On breaks, attendees can take a walk or a jog along the flowing Grand River that runs right through the city. They can take a stroll along one of the two pedestrian bridges, and visit the Gerald Ford Museum or the Grand Rapids Art Museum. There are also 15 breweries in the area and two apple orchards, so there’s endless opportunities for pub crawls and cider samplings.
Q: What makes the hotel stand out for groups compared to others in the area?
The Amway Grand Plaza is the largest and most historic hotel in the area. The first cornerstone of the Pantlind Hotel was laid in 1913 and opened in 1916. The property was renamed the Amway Grand Plaza in 1981. It is convenient for groups because it’s connected to the DeVos Place Convention Center via a temperature-controlled skywalk. The hotel is also the only property in the city to have a restaurant above the city—Cygnus 27, on top of the newly renovated Glass Tower.