Pompano Beach's newest hotel is now open for business.
It's been a little more than a week since the 219-room Marriott Pompano Beach Resort & Spa officially opened to its first guests, and already it's hosted a beach wedding and corporate meeting.
Occupancy has been running about 50 percent, and the hotel is expected to beat its August and September forecasts, General Manager Rich Byrd said Friday during a tour.
"It's a great area for it, and an area that really needed more hotel rooms," said Byrd of the new oceanfront hotel at 1200 N. Ocean Blvd., which currently employs about 80 people.
"I give the locals a lot of credit," added Byrd, noting that hotel's restaurant and bars have been "warmly received" by Pompano residents. City officials have also been "very helpful and supportive," he said.
This upcoming week, the hotel's meeting space is sold out.
The new Marriott is the first hotel to break ground in Pompano in a decade, according co-owner and manager Urgo Hotels, a Maryland-based operator, developer and owner of upscale hotels.
The opening — originally targeted for July 1 — was postponed 30 days partly due to delays in delivery of equipment and furniture, according to Byrd.
"The city has been waiting for it for a long time," said Lidia Gorzelany, tourism marketing manager for Pompano. "The Marriott flag is going to bring worldwide exposure."
Gorzelany, who is the first person to hold the tourism marketing manager position with the city, attended a food tasting at the hotel's restaurant recently.
"It's a whole rejuvenation to the area," said Gorzelany of the hotel's design and style elements and landscaping. "It's wonderful for the city."
In the days since its opening, word-of-mouth promotion by locals has also helped to boost hotel reservations, Byrd said.
"For September, we're virtually sold out every weekend," said Byrd, a Marriott International executive with more than 28 years of industry experience.
Not only has the new hotel has been attracting inquiries from wedding groups, its sales and marketing staff have also handled requests for pre- and post-cruise stays, corporate conferences and family reunions.
For 2014, the hotel already has more than 20 weddings on its books.
"That's very, very encouraging," said Byrd.
The hotel's guests are a mix of tourists, South Floridians and Floridians, many taking advantage of special Florida Residents rates, Byrd noted.
For a limited time Florida Resident rates at the hotel started at $149 per room per night, double occupancy, while weekend nightly rates in August range from $159 -$219, depending on room type, according to Marriott.com reservations.
"The room is very nice, and we're really enjoying it," said Brigitte Huber of Switzerland Friday while vacationing at the hotel with family. "This hotel is really excellent."
The boutique-style hotel boasts a mix of rooms including ocean-view suites, junior suites and standard rooms, each with private balconies. It has more than 8,000-square-feet of meeting and function space and a rooftop terrace for special events. There's also a fitness center and McCoy's Oceanfront, an upscale seafood restaurant.
Next month, the Kids Club will open, and a 2,000-square-foot spa with four treatment rooms is expected to be operational in November.
Fort Lauderdale resident Anamaria Manzano was really impressed with the hotel staff's customer service during a tour Friday.
"This hotel has blown my mind," said Manzano, who is helping to plan a family reunion group for Oct. 11-13. "They have a whatever-it-takes attitude and that's the attitude to have," added Manzano of the staff at the hotel, where some out-of-town family members will be staying.
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