Members of Long Island's business community gathered Thursday night to celebrate the unveiling of the Melville Marriott's multimillion-dollar interior renovation.
Work to renovate and group together the hotel's bar, restaurant, meeting rooms, buffet room and concierge lounge began in February, said Damien Hirsch, the hotel's general manager. The new "greatroom" brings together many of the lodging's first-floor amenities into one 12,000-square-foot open space.
Hotel officials declined to disclose the exact price tag of the updates.
Part of the reason for the redesign -- which includes the addition of comfortably furnished alcoves reminiscent of the VIP tables at a high-end nightclub -- has to do with appealing to a more tech-savvy workforce, as evidenced by the 40 USB-compatible electrical outlets that line many of the tables scattered throughout the contemporary open bar and restaurant area.
"It's exciting, because we're now gearing toward the next level of traveler, the millennials," said Trish Maulo, regional director of sales and marketing for Suffolk County's two full-service Marriott hotels. "The area lends itself to dining, it lends itself to small meetings, and it lends itself to socializing."
Like many hotels, the Melville Marriott is trying to appeal to an increasingly important segment of its customer base, said Mike Johnston, president of the Long Island Hospitality and Leisure Association.
Millennials "want an experience," said Johnston, adding that some industry statistics project that millennials will outspend baby boomers at restaurants and hotels in a few years. As hoteliers come around to that idea, upgrading common areas has become a competitive necessity.
"You're seeing the other chains do it," he said. "You have to keep up with the Joneses, otherwise you die on the vine."
Hirsch said the greatroom renovation is the first phase of a planned three-phase effort, with the hotel's ballroom scheduled to be renovated beginning in 2016 and guest rooms to be updated after that.
Several hotels on Long Island have completed renovations in recent years, including the Hyatt Regency Long Island in Hauppauge, the Garden City Hotel, and the Hilton Long Island Huntington.
The greatroom design concept is an idea Marriott has been implementing at many of its full-service hotels for a few years, Hirsch said.
"You don't want to have the hotel where they come, they sleep and they go out to dinner," said Hirsch, who has been with the Melville hotel since January. "We want to be the place where they come in for dinner."