Marriott opens Courtyard to the High Country



Article Published: Jan. 12, 2012 | Modified: Jan. 12, 2012
Marriott opens Courtyard to the High Country

The Courtyard by Marriott opened for business this week in Boone.
Photos by Ashley Wilson



The High Country’s newest hotel only opened Tuesday, and it’s already in high demand.

The first weekend of operation at the new Courtyard by Marriott in Boone is set to be a busy one, as multitudes of skiers ascend the mountains for what’s traditionally been one of the most popular weekends of the season.

Hotel manager Ben McKethan said the Courtyard is ready for business.

“Several groups have already booked with us,” he said. “A lot of the other hotels have reached their capacity, and now they’re reaching out to us to send people our way.”

Many of the 100 rooms in the hotel are expected to see their first occupants this weekend. The four-story building, which broke ground last fall, is located on N.C. 105 between Peabody’s Wine & Beer Merchants and Allen Wealth Management.

McKethan said the Courtyard will offer a unique lodging experience to High Country tourists and visitors. It provides a type of accommodation that many people prefer but have previously not been able to find for some time in Boone.

“There’s no other full-service hotel,” he said. “Because we have a restaurant that serves breakfast and dinner and because we have a meeting space, it looks more like a full service environment here. I think that’s really going to cater well to the market.”

In addition to its dining option and 1,000 square-foot conference room, the hotel also has a media center stocked with books and newspapers, computer units, an indoor pool and whirlpool spa, fitness room, and outdoor patio and fire pit.

One of McKethan’s favorite features is the GoBoard, a high-tech concierge service of sorts.

“It’s a touch-screen computer, basically like an iPad,” he said. “You can just point and click ... it’s really neat.”

The 57-inch monitor, the centerpiece of the Courtyard lobby, provides information on area restaurants and attractions, local weather and national news. Patrons can also have displayed items, such as menus and driving directions, printed for their use.

McKethan, who has been in hospitality management for the past eight years, is also excited overseeing his first hotel with a restaurant as a part of its operation. The Bistro serves a number of entrees, including sandwiches, hamburgers, salads and appetizers, while also doubling as Boone’s first Starbucks.

McKethan said the restaurant isn’t just for hotel guests, but is open to everyone.

“We want to make it very clear that our restaurant, The Bistro, and the Starbucks is open to the public,” he said. “We encourage locals to come by and have breakfast with us. Bring your laptop and do some work. No one’s going to come ask for your room key. This is part of the community.”

The Starbucks portion will be open 24 hours, and free WiFi is available to all patrons. McKethan said people are also welcome to come by at night, grab a beer or drink at their full bar and enjoy the game.

The Courtyard is managed by Poteat Hospitality Associates of Laurinburg. The hotel is the first business venture into western N.C. for the company, which operates five other hotels in the state. McKethan said Poteat had been looking at Boone for quite a while and committed to the current property in early 2010.

“This property was looked at by other people and because was it available and was looked at for other hotels, that’s what put them on it,” he said. “They’re all about finding the right property that fits. It’s all about location.”

The Courtyard Marriott has the potential to service a maximum occupancy of 350 to 400 people, McKethan said. He said 50 percent of the hotel is single rooms, but six suites are also available to guests. King-sized suites have a separate sitting area, a kitchenette and balcony. Single room rates start at $99 per night.

About 35 people are being employed by the hotel; the positions, from housekeeping to management, are all filled by people who live in the High Country, McKethan said.

“I’m really proud to say that I’m local, and everybody that’s here is from the Boone area,” he said. “A lot of familiar faces are going to be working here. We’ve got a lot of really good people.”

McKethan, who previously managed the Hampton Inn in Boone and the Holiday Inn Express in Blowing Rock, said he has never been more thrilled to work for a hotel in the High Country.

“I can tell you, overall, I’m very proud of Poteat Hospitality and the ownership, because I believe they went above and beyond in a lot of areas of the hotel,” he said. “They want to deliver the right product and fit in with this community.”

For more information or to book a room at the Courtyard Marriott, visit http://www.marriott.com.

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