Travel Weekly: Marriott hotel in Calif. showcases next-gen brand innovations
Mar 28 2018
IRVINE, Calif. — A farm-to-table restaurant with communal dining tables and a community spirit, a hopping rooftop bar and the ability to order food via a mobile app are among the features that were unveiled at the official dedication on Tuesday of the Marriott Irvine Spectrum, a new property that Marriott International executives said defines the future of the Marriott brand.
“I’m excited to share with you today a new version of what a Marriott hotel brand can do and what it can be. This is not your grandpa’s hotel,” said Chris Harrison, general manager of the Marriott Irvine Spectrum and grandson of the company’s executive chairman, Bill Marriott. The hotel, added Harrison, “is full of tech and touch.”
The Marriott Irvine Spectrum is one of three Marriott properties that function as “hotel labs,” or properties where Marriott is testing new concepts. The other two are the Charlotte Marriott City Center in North Carolina and the JW Mexico City.
Some of the tech products being tested here include a Bluetooth technology-activated key card that is being offered to rewards members with elite status; sensors around the property would ping a staffer’s device with participating guests’ names so that they could be greeted by name. Ultimately, the property hopes to use the program to obtain additional information about guests, such as whether they are celebrating a special event or their dining preferences, to better curate the experience to each guest and to potentially improve the overall experience based on cumulative data that could indicate which experiences are resonating and which could use adjustment.
Additionally, the hotel has developed a virtual reality experience that it is considering offering to elite status members that enables users to experience forthcoming hotel concepts and provide feedback. The hotel will serve as a testing ground for other tech features as well.
On the touch side of things, the 271-room hotel features a lot more storytelling, according to Harrison, who pointed out that the property’s inspiration was derived from Irvine’s agricultural history, which manifests itself in the “sophisticated farmhouse” design elements. There are hardwood floors and rolling barn doors in the guestrooms, and artwork throughout the hotel pays homage to the Irvine Ranch region of California, a 93,000-acre piece of land that has been under private ownership for 150 years.
That storytelling continues into the dining experience with the hotel’s main restaurant and social hub, Heirloom, which offers seasonal farm-to-table fare for breakfast, lunch, dinner and weekend brunch. The Hive & Honey rooftop bar on the 15th floor serves up craft cocktails, wine and beer, and patrons are treated to sweeping views.
There is also more than 18,000 square feet of meetings and event space with flexible setup options, indoor/outdoor options and technology capabilities that allow for things like projecting presentations onto walls.The Marriott Irvine Spectrum, which is located near the sprawling shopping and dining hub Irvine Spectrum Center, is looking to cater to both leisure and business travelers. For leisure travelers there is an inviting cabana-flanked pool and 50 premier suites that are designed for longer stays, complete with full kitchens and spacious living areas.
Guests have access to a 24-hour business center, an onsite Starbucks and a two-story fitness center. Premier, Platinum and Gold Elite Marriott rewards members and guests who purchase an M Club Package have access to the M Club Lounge, a co-working and relaxation space with complimentary food and drinks.