Renaissance Era in Toledo (No pun intended.)

“Holy Toledo! Either that bird hit a landmine, or you just shot down a kamikaze pigeon!” Quick! Name that show! You guessed it, M*A*S*H. I am sure you are wondering, “Lauren, why are you pulling a quote from M*A*S*H?”. Boy, do I have a reason!Renaissance Toledo, OH

I traveled to our Northwest Lodging Council last week and had the opportunity to stay, enjoy and embrace the not-like-any-other Renaissance Toledo. In every way, this hotel pays homage to the city of Toledo. From being the “Glass City”, to Jeep manufacturing and yes, its’ famous connection to the television series M*A*S*H.Renaissance Toledo, OH

I arrived late in the evening and was ready to check-in, eat and sleep. From the moment I entered the lobby, I felt the innovation and excitement. (Toledo is often referenced as the Glass City due to its long history of glass manufacturing but is also known for its automotive industry. Toledo is the Jeep headquarters! These two facts are important to note as I tell you more about this property.) As I approached the faces of the front desks I immediately posed the question “What is this desk made of?”. The answer? Molds a glass blower would use when creating a glass vase, bowl, etc.Renaissance Toledo, OH

I then went on to walk to the elevators but before I got there I had to stop and take a picture of the military Jeep parked right in the lobby. The Jeep reminiscent of Willy’s Jeep in the M*A*S*H TV series. A Jeep in the lobby? That’s neat. I then went up to my room (I was upgraded to an amazing corner suite that looked out over the river! Thank you, Renaissance team!)Renaissance Toledo, OH

The rooms are just beautiful and are certainly just as unique as the lobby. The industrial design is comfortable and modern. The very first thing I noticed were that the hooks that hung on the wall were actual red Jeep hooks! Other notable elements is the M*A*S*H artwork in the bedroom and the bathroom mirror that pictured a lit half full glass of water and read “1/2 air and 1/2 water. Technically, the glass is always full.” (Which is my new favorite quote!)Renaissance Toledo, OH

After Oohing and aweing over the room I headed to the rooftop lounge, The Heights. Rightfully named as it offered views of the city and the river with indoor and outdoor seating and the loveliest wood-fired pizzas! I ordered the hummus served with pickled vegetables which was delightful and a four-cheese pizza which I took back to my room to enjoy and continue my 15-but-never-finished Netflix series.

The next day I learned more about the sleeping room design and it all clicked! The sleeping rooms are designed after a glass blower’s studio. Made possible with details such as the chaise in the bedroom which has a fabric like denim and a brown leather pouch hanging over with magazines that is comparable to a leather apron.Renaissance Toledo, OH

With the growth Toledo & Northwestern Ohio is experiencing it is safe to say they truly are in a Renaissance era and this property keeps the history and roots of Toledo alive.

 

Until Next Time,

Lauren

 

Renaissance Toledo, OH

Renaissance Toledo, OH

10 Years of Hospitality: Hilton Polaris

I was lucky enough to intern at the Hilton Polaris during the summer of my senior year at OSU (2012). Prior to my internship, I thought I had wanted to go down the road of events. However, after spending 3 months as a full-time intern (unpaid… sigh… but what I gained and learned about the industry and myself was priceless!), I realized soon my passion for hospitality laid within the clients and quickly after graduation I started my career in hotel sales.

Hilton Polaris - Columbus, OH

Hilton Polaris just celebrated their 10th anniversary of their opening, can you believe it? I can’t! Some things have changed in its’ appearance, but the hotel still beams in the Polaris area. Many of the staff members that I knew are still active on property (which says a lot!) and the same great inspired food is still very much alive.

Hilton Polaris - Columbus, OHThe interiors have had some updates and I am loving them! The rich dark floors and walls are accented with navy, tan, gray and other neutrals. My favorite seating area is in the lobby and features plush modern navy chairs next to filled shelves with books. In the middle of the lobby stands a tall accent wall featuring a fire place. Around this there is additional seating and the most interesting coffee tables that remind me of honeycombs.Hilton Polaris - Columbus, OH

Hilton Polaris - Columbus, OHOf all the hotels in the Greater Columbus area, this property has one thing the others do not, a full-service spa, Papillon Day Spa. After getting a treatment, I would naturally head to the Bar & Patio @ 8700. The outdoor patio area is a great way to unwind with over-sized floral arrangements, two large fire pits, and strung lights. While I was visiting, the bar was advertising rose inspired cocktails. (Spa + Patio + Great Local Food + Rose = My kind of day!) Oh! I can’t forget to mention that this property is also located next door to the Polaris Mall complex; did someone say shopping?

This property has dedicated the past 10 years to delivering hospitality through their employees, events, and on-site amenities. They’ll continue to be an important piece to the puzzle of the Columbus hospitality community.

Until Next Time,

Lauren

What’s Happenin’?

Our pipeline in Ohio is quickly growing. Along with the growth, exciting new opportunity and brands are making one of their first appearances in the state. Here are three brands developing in our state…

Canopy Logo

Canopy is beginning to make its mark in Ohio with its’ newest property in the state being built by Indus Hotels on Nationwide Boulevard in the heart of downtown Columbus. This lifestyle brand began internationally and as of last year has begun to lay its domestic roots. With a passionate focus on all things local within each of its’ cities, their vision for their local culture is spread through their employees who they refer to as “enthusiasts”. Across the locations from Iceland to the U.S., each room has a ‘canopy’ bed structured by a ceiling high gray headboard with an overhang. These sleek properties will be a must visit in the months and years to come!

BrewDog LogoYes, it is really happening! Very soon we will have…. A BEER HOTEL. I know what you are thinking, “Lauren, don’t joke about things such as this.” Rest assured, no jokes here! In Canal Winchester, BrewDog opened their first brewery in the United States. The brewery alone now has 3 locations within the Greater Columbus Area with sights on Cleveland & Cincinnati next. Now, they are on to their first hotel in the U.S., The DogHouse, with rooms featuring views of the brewery, in-room beer taps, and last but not least (and the single thing my husband is most excited about) there is a beer cooler in the shower! I am looking forward to the hops based and locally produced toiletries. Opening the end of August 2018!

Graduate Hotels LogoMy inner Buckeye is jumping at the development of The Graduate hotel in Columbus on the campus of The Ohio State University. This will be The Graduate’s first property in the state. The Graduate’s décor pays homage to the university itself. Common areas may be reminiscent of items such as the main library, noteworthy architecture, academics, and athletics. For example, the common areas of The Graduate on the campus of that school up North, is mocked after their gorgeous library and their academic seal is on the headboards. As an OSU Alum, I am so excited to see this come to fruition in Columbus!

Members – Are you wondering what else is in the pipeline for Ohio? Access the myOHLA tab at www.ohiolodging.com and review our New Construction Pipeline; updated quarterly! Or contact me with questions directly at Lauren@ohla.org.

 

Until Next Time,

Lauren

New Perspective at Hilton Easton

I joined the hospitality community in 2012. The Hilton Columbus at Easton that I always knew was something out of a Southern inspired movie or novel. Driving up to the stately white and brick building that sat nestled within Easton Town Center and stepping inside to beautiful draperies, brass and gold, floral prints, and a spectrum of colors is what I remember. (I’ve always loved this property, can you tell?)Hilton Easton - Columbus, OH

From the outside everything is seemingly the same and pristine as ever. Once you walk through the doors, a very sophisticated modern story unfolds. All of the qualities Hilton Columbus at Easton is known for have remained: exceptional service, delicious food, and uncanny attention to detail.Hilton Easton - Columbus, OH

Hilton Easton - Columbus, OH

Through the front doors and into the main lobby we go! Ah, what a space! The front desk, soft seating (and a lot of it – there is also extensive outdoor patio seating available), and the bar and lounge is wonderfully welcoming and simply put… stunning! Lovely shades of gray with accents of chartreuse green and purple hues make a great combination.

I have a few blog posts under my belt now, and I am sure you have learned, I love light fixtures. Throughout the lobby and pre-function spaces shiny silver and crystal-like shapes draw your attention. They truly make the spaces and they are unique!Hilton Easton - Columbus, OH

I also love food and am all-in for the new concept being offered, Herb-n-Kitchen. Serving Starbucks beverages, an array of freshly crafted salads, sandwiches, & flatbreads, and all the market snacks to go along with it (inclusive of Jeni’s Ice Cream pints!). When, I travel, especially by myself, I always appreciate an option like this! Hilton Columbus Easton - Columbus OH

Don’t worry, you can still order delicious menu options in the lounge along with your favorite cocktail (try the cucumber mint mule!).

DISCLAIMER TO OUR SPORTS FANS: Easton Sports Club, formerly inside of Hilton Easton, is no longer in business. RIP.

It is easy to see that this was a renovation of intent, an intent to make the guest experience enjoyable and easy. Next time you are at Easton Town Center be sure to visit the Hilton and see it for yourself!

P.S. I didn’t get to stay the night but check out these sleeping room photos below!

Until Next Time,

Lauren

Hilton Easton - Columbus, OH

Hilton Easton - Columbus, OH

 

 

Vibrant Yellow Springs, Ohio

My husband (Sean) and I booked it to Yellow Springs last week after a long work day. Though there was an accident, we still managed to make it to Yellow Springs in just over an hour (phew!). We had one night in Yellow Springs and we planned to jam pack it with all that this quaint town had to offer.

Yellow Springs Brewery, Yellow Springs, OH

First stop, Yellow Springs Brewery. We pulled into the gravel lot and got all the smells from the food truck parked just outside, yum! The brewery itself is vibrant and full of energy. Their colorful logo hung above the draught spouts and my husband immediately requested a logo sticker to take back to his man cave refrigerator (of course!). We settled in and got a flight to taste all the options. We enjoyed the staff, the local gentleman sitting next to me who shared his story of how he got to Yellow Springs, and of course, the brews!Yellow Springs Brewery, Yellow Springs, OH

We were quickly on to our next stop, Winds Café, for dinner. We were seated at a table beside the windows that looked out onto Xenia Avenue which invited Sean and I to take in the community. Before we ordered fresh breads, house olives, and creamy butter were brought to our table.

Winds Cafe - Yellow Springs, OHWe went on to order a Caesar salad, stuffed calamari, and the seasonal risotto. (I like to say that Sean is a Caesar Salad Connoisseur of sorts as he always must order one if there is one to be had. He was thrilled that he didn’t have to ask for anchovies, they were already included! It’s the little things…) Everything was delicious, but don’t worry, we both saved room for our next stop… Young’s Jersey Dairy.

I am all about ice cream. I love ice cream, especially if there is chocolate and peanut butter involved. We were told by several friends that we HAD TO stop at Young’s Jersey Dairy for ice cream, boy, am I happy we did! Sean went for the good ‘ol mint chocolate chip and I did the Buckeye Sundae (chocolate and peanut butter ice cream, hot fudge, whipped cream, and a homemade Buckeye… heavenly). By this point, we needed a good night’s sleep at the Hearthstone Inn in nearby Cedarville, a well-appointed clean and comfortable stay with a personal touch from the owners’ in every way. I thought this travel blessing was a sweet touch (see pictured).Hearthstone Inn - Cedarville, OH

The next morning, Sean headed back to Columbus and I had the opportunity to visit with one of our Unique Lodging of Ohio members, Mills Park Hotel. Talk about a hotel with personality! The property is modeled after the 19th century home of William Mills, a local settler who had helped in the development of the town’s infrastructure. Mills Park Hotel gives a modern twist to their historic roots.

Mills Park Hotel - Yellow Springs, OHThe front wrap around veranda is welcoming and completely charming! Throughout the hotel there are darling paintings of CORGIS (yes, the adorable fluffy dog), a corgi carousel, and corgi stuffed animals in the gift shop! (Fun Fact: the owner of the hotel has a corgi, hence the significance. In addition, he is fantastic with woodworking. Throughout the hotel, several of the wooden pieces were handcrafted by him!) I enjoyed an excellent breakfast in Ellie’s Restaurant & Bakery (the breakfast croissant was delicious!) and then I had to bid adieu and off to work I went.Mills Park Hotel

Every stop during my time in Yellow Springs is memorable and I’m looking forward to returning and staying for a while. I hope to explore the art scene and the several locally owned shops that line Xenia Ave.  From what I hear, you must come during a Street Festival (I’ll have to check my calendar…).

 

Until Next Time,

Lauren

Take Me to The Summit!

As I left my car with valet, I turned to face the property and I was able to get my first peek inside this new gem. I was quickly drawn to the bright colors in front of me; a wall of what looked to be carefully placed paint strokes and splatters in an array of colorful notes. I soon realized that art is a key feature throughout the hotel.

The Summit, A Dolce Hotel - Cincinnati, OH

In front of the accent wall, a gold metal staircase twisted its way up to the next floor. Hanging down the center is a light fixture of bare light bulbs with the black cords exposed. I had the opportunity to meet with a team member who explained to me that the original structure of the hotel was derived from the Rainbow Parking Garage. The gold staircase I referenced? Original to the garage! In the main atrium and throughout the property exposed cement beams support the open space. The Rainbow Garage was colorful, and there are tributes to the rainbow throughout the hotel.

The Summit, A Dolce Hotel - Cincinnati, OHOff of the main lobby there is a large art exhibition room. The focal point of the space is a standing, circular, structure that has video boards around the inside, and if you stand in the middle you feel you are a part of the movement.

The Summit, A Dolce Hotel - Cincinnati, OHWalking through the hotel, I couldn’t help but to take a minute to have a seat in one of the many lounge areas. Everything is artfully placed by mixing colors, textures, lighting, and of course, pieces of art! The seating areas are inviting, and you feel there is a greater community vibe in the air.

Now, let’s talk about food. The Market offered a full variety of options from several hot selections, to locally sourced cheeses, and a variety of fresh options like fruits and greens. My personal favorite… drum roll please… the gelato bar! A selection of local gelato flavors and quite a mix of toppings. Though the other dining option was not open yet, I got to have a sneak peek of the beautiful Overlook Kitchen and Bar. Let’s just say, it’s on my list to try out next time I am in the area.The Summit, A Dolce Hotel - Cincinnati, OH

Last, but certainly not least, the sleeping rooms did not disappoint. As I walked in, the colors and décor rejuvenated me. The fun wallpaper, area rug, and furniture just made the room pop. One of my favorite features was the in-room safe. I know what you are thinking, I am a nerd, but hear me out… An ENTIRE drawer served as the safe within the greater dresser. Ladies, my WHOLE purse, laptop, jewelry, etc. fit!The Summit, A Dolce Hotel - Cincinnati, OH

This visit was my first visit to a Dolce brand of hotel and I am totally loving it! If you are in the area, stop by for a bite or explore the art exhibits throughout the hotel. A quick visit to this vibrant location will have you singing a happier tune.

Until Next Time,

Lauren

Courtyard Cool

My travels this week have taken me to Akron, Ohio. Throw everything you thought you knew about the Courtyard by Marriott brand and come read about my trip to the Courtyard by Marriott Akron Downtown. Let’s go…

Courtyard AkronThe hotel sits comfortably within the Northside District of downtown Akron. As I got out of my car, I couldn’t help but to take time and look around their immediate area. Just steps from the hotel was a pizza shop, a clay and art studio, an ultra-modern restaurant and a few other establishments I would have loved to explore.

As I approached the entryway I couldn’t help but to look to the left at a black door that read “Apothecary”. This door led to the Northside Speakeasy, a Prohibition Era styled bar. (I mean, this is pretty cool…)Courtyard Akron

I finally made my way into the lobby area. It felt extremely inviting and had the classic comfort the Courtyard brand is known for. The flooring, wall vinyl, pillows all coordinated effortlessly and gave a very “cool” feel. Within the Bistro area, chic crystal light fixtures hung over large seating areas (I would love to have one for my home, please!). One item stuck out the most, an old world red telephone booth stood tall in the corner of the Bistro. What a fun addition! Another aspect, I thoroughly enjoyed about this property is the recognition of Akron through black and white photos highlighting key Akron sites.

Courtyard Akron

As I walked through I saw brief glimpses of the Little Cuyahoga River and the Cuyahoga Valley. Also, interesting was the train stop just out back of the hotel offering easy access for guests like me to get around. The train stop was charming with a pale-yellow pavilion to wait under between trains.

Now, I saved the best part for last, the hotel has its’ own MOVIE THEATRE. This is not a drill; I walked into a large theatre screen, oversized black leather recliners, and the perfect lighting for a movie. This is something I could get used to! Can you imagine coming back to your hotel from a long day of work and you could immediately grab your favorite recliner to sit back, relax, and enjoy a movie?Courtyard Akron

I did not have the opportunity to spend the night at this property, but gosh, I sure wish I did! For now, I am going to contemplate how I get the light fixture and movie theatre into my house.

 

Looking forward to our next adventure!

Lauren