Local flair, tech inspire hotel refresh on NY’s Long Island

MELVILLE, NY—Centrally located on Long Island, the Melville Marriott Long Island marks the halfway point between the island’s East End vineyards and New York City, and, naturally, the halfway point between a business and at-home experience.

Catering to both the corporate and the transient guest, the Melville Marriott offers something for every kind of traveler—even more so now, after recently completing its multimillion-dollar renovation.

The full renovation includes updates to its public spaces, guestrooms and exterior. With guests ranging from executives to athletes, the redesign incorporates amenities and design that blend both work and living spaces.

“Marriott always changes and listens to its customers,” said Walid Awad, GM of the Melville Marriott Long Island.

Awad said that the hotel upgraded to meet the guests’ requests—typically a guest between the ages of 35-55—which included adding amenities, design and combining work and play space in a creative and versatile way.

The best example of this would be The Great Room, which functions as an all-day dining venue and is the centerpiece of activity for the hotel.

The 10,000 sq. ft. of dining and lounge space includes different seating combinations, from booths, to cozy corners, to communal settings, and tech features like plasma-screen TVs and plug-ins throughout.

“There’s versatility—you can still have all those areas in one space, yet it’s open and conducive to business and social,” said Henry Michaud, corporate VP of food and beverage for Columbia Sussex, owner and operator of the hotel. “It’s about connectivity with friends and family, and connectivity from a technology point of view.”

The mix of lounge and dining seating gives travelers the ability to experience both a work and local space, ideal for the “work alone” type of guest and the guests who want that after-work drink with associates.

Also renovated is the Concierge Lounge, an exclusive area for Marriott’s most frequent guests. Located on the first floor, the lounge offers personalized business and concierge services, all-day dining options, coffee machines and evening cocktails.

There’s also been a refresh of the food and beverage program here, highlighting local flavors through food partnerships, including local wineries and distilleries, also paying homage to Long Island favorites with an emphasis on seafood from local fisheries.

“We don’t have food vendors, we have food partners. We want our chefs to partner up with local vendors and use seasonality and sustainability to create items based on what’s available in the market and using products at their peak of freshness,” Michaud said, who appreciates this, being a Long Island native himself.

Michaud said that the staff also paid close attention to ensuring that all the food is made for sharing, creating not only a delicious meal but an experience.

This experience extends into the public space as well, with more contemporary design, colors and flexibility.

Michaud described the public space as more “sensory,” now including different color schemes—more nickels, grays and light blues—more botanicals and gone are the days of the chafing dishes. The hotel is taking a different approach with more small plates and food stations.

“We’ve changed the traditional approach to banquets. Now, there’s the ability to give events and meetings a new style, so there’s a sense of arrival when you’re here,” Michaud said. “As you walk in that room, it should be, ‘I’ve arrived at an event.’ Not a banquet, not a meeting—those terms are gone.”

What Michaud calls “boardrooms to bridal suites” are spaces that are easily converted and flexible for any type of event simply by swapping meeting-style furniture to more lounge, relaxed pieces, depending on the guests’ needs.

“Our guests here know what they want; they have a busy and fast lifestyle and we cater to them,” Awad said. “Most of our guests are here every week, and they have special requests down to what kind of shampoo they use or how many pillows they want.”

Guests certainly know what they want in a guestroom; they have been renovated with added tech features to cater to the business and millennial guest specifically, all while integrating Long Island culture into the design.

Guests can find hints at nautical themes in the room’s colors and tones, juxtaposed with technology like TVs equipped with streaming capabilities and upgraded WiFi (the internet was upgraded throughout the property).

The furniture was also updated from bulky pieces to sleeker, more open desks for larger, more communal-type workspaces for guests.

There’s also LED lighting in all of the rooms, just one of the sustainability features also new to the hotel. In the rooms, guests can also find a card where they can note their towel use, with the option of reusing towels to save water and energy from washes.

The hotel will also completely eliminate plastic straws starting Jan. 1, 2019, with paper straws upon request; the hotel will also replace plastic skewers with bamboo ones.

Although there are brand standards and amenities that can be found at Marriott properties worldwide, this update specifically was made possible by the Melville staff, all equally dedicated to both the guests and the Long Island experience.

“We followed the Marriott standard and did everything to give this a local flair, but what really makes us successful is the staff. They’re genuine, they take care of the guest and it’s in our culture,” Awad said. HB

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