Nearly two years after original projections, a long-awaited Courtyard by Marriott hotel in Downtown DeLand has finally opened at 308 N. Woodland Blvd.
Ajit Nana, a senior vice president with Avista Hotels & Resorts, the Orlando-based company that built and manages the facility, said the company is “extremely excited” to have finally opened Oct. 17.
“The project took longer than expected due to various construction delays and weather-related challenges on this very tight site,” Nana said in an email to The Beacon. “Avista is proud to have the Courtyard by Marriott DeLand Historic Downtown hotel opened in beautiful DeLand and looking forward to providing accommodations to the traveling public and businesses.”
He would not say how much construction cost, but early reports indicated it was in the neighborhood of $5 million.
The five-story, 104-room hotel’s amenities include an outdoor swimming pool, a fire pit, a fitness center and guest laundry. The hotel also offers an executive boardroom and a meeting room with more than 1,000 square feet of event space. The Bistro, an informal eatery just off the main lobby, will serve breakfast and dinner and feature Starbucks coffee.
Room rates start at $159 a night.
Led by General Manager Martha Brady, the hotel has about 40 employees, including Brady, Assistant GM Maria Sleiman and Director of Sales Deborah Devine. The hotel carries the “official” name of Courtyard by Marriott DeLand Historic District.
While an official grand opening will be held Nov. 9, the Marriott saw its first clients Oct. 17. Georgia Turner, executive director of the West Volusia Tourism Advertising Authority, was among the inaugural guests.
“I was quite impressed with the good service, the great location so close to Downtown (I walked to the Tom Petty Tribute concert that night at the Athens Theatre!) and the comfortable bed,” Turner said in an email to The Beacon. “In all my years of traveling, I had never spent the night in a hotel on the night it opened. Everything went very smoothly — you can tell there had been a lot of training by corporate Marriott, and I was able to compliment some of the trainers who were in-house that night.”
Speaking with The Beacon the following week, Brady and Devine said opening weekend went well, not the least because it coincided with Stetson University’s Parents Weekend.
“We were sold out for Parents Weekend,” Devine said. “We’re very much looking forward to more city events.”
But Brady also pointed out that the reception from the community itself has been outstanding, with flower arrangements and other forms of congratulatory wishes.
“We’re proud to be part of the DeLand community,” Brady said.
Nana, the Avista executive, seconded that.
“Our entire team are fully involved and engaged with the DeLand community and feel very fortunate to be able to be part of the growing City of DeLand and Stetson University,” he wrote.
Turner said the hotel is a much-needed addition to DeLand’s award-winning MainStreet.
“It’s sure to bring many people who already know and love Downtown DeLand in to stay overnight, as well as bringing in an entirely new group of individuals and groups who want to come and see what our area is all about,” she said in her email. “I have been working with Courtyard management and staff since I started with the WVTAA in December 2016, booking groups and meetings. They have already been a good neighbor to the community and I expect that to continue.”
The new hotel also will help increase the WVTAA budget for marketing West Volusia as a tourism destination, since funding for the agency is derived from taxes charged on hotel rooms, campground spaces and other short-term accommodations.
“Since we are two months behind in receiving our tax collections (i.e., we receive August collections in October), it will take a while to determine just how much more money the new property will add to our budget,” she wrote. “But we know it will have an impact!”