New hotel to open for business

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Evita Council, the executive housekeeper at Homewood Suites, cleans a glass table Monday in the lodge area of the new hotel.


Staff Writer

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

After a little more than a year of construction, the new $12 million, 80,000-square-foot Homewood Suites by Hilton hotel will open at 3 p.m. today, company officials said.

The new hotel is located at 231 Gateway Boulevard near other established hotels and restaurants in the Gateway Centre. Bharat Patel, owner of Homewood Suites, said the hotel will have 116 parking spaces.

Shari King, general manager of Homewood Suites, said the hotel has 93 one-bedroom suites that include a fully-equipped kitchen that has a full-sized refrigerator, two burner cooktop stoves, microwave, full sink and garbage disposal. The standard rooms also have a sofa sleeper bed. King added 15 of the rooms have a separate bedroom area from the living room, and there are also eight accessble rooms for disabled guests.

“The rooms are extremely large and run 300 square feet bigger than most hotel rooms,” King said.

King said something that’s going to make Homewood Suites unique from other local hotels is the option of guests being able to pick up their groceries from the hotel. 

“If a guest is staying here and needs groceries in their room, they can bring us a grocery list and we will go to the store and get it for them,” she said. “A good example is someone who is of a different nationality and they need a certain type of food that we don’t serve here. We will be more than happy to get it for them. The grocery shopping is something that’s Homewood and brand specific.”

The other amenities at the hotel consist of an outdoor seating area with two stainless steel commercial-grade gas grills in the cooking area along with a guest fire pit, an outdoor seasonal saline pool and palm trees to capture the ambience of the setting. In addition, Homewood Suites has a state-of-the art fitness center with small televisions on the work-out equipment, guest laundry facility, free complimentary breakfast every day and an evening social from 5 to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday for guests that will feature food, beer and wine, King added.

“Mr. Patel has spared no expense to build a nice facility, and the best of everything has been purchased for this hotel,” King said. “This is one of the nicest properties that Hilton has put out. Mr. Patel lives here locally and he loves Rocky Mount. He wanted to bring a nice property to his hometown.”

Mayor David Combs said the new hotel will help increase the city’s tax base, create jobs and be another quality and much-needed hotel in the area. He added Homewood Suites will help room and accommodate the thousands of people and families that come from outside the area that go to the Rocky Mount Sports Complex throughout the year. It also comes at a good time with the Downtown Event Center scheduled to be completed and open this fall, which is sure to draw visitors looking for somewhere to stay, Combs said.

King said Homewood Suites should attract travelers coming off U.S. 64 and Interstate 95.

“We feel this is going to be a great option or stop over for those people traveling from western North Carolina to the beach,” she said. “We also feel people should come here because we’re going to be very guest-oriented with the newest and nicest facility for anyone. We can guarantee a nice stay whether you’re coming in for a night or a month. You’re going to feel right at home.”

King said the hotel has 23 employees, most of them full-time. She added Homewood Suites may look to hire more employees in mid-February.