KALAMAZOO, MI — Hilton Garden Inn has created a new space for travelers to stop and stay in downtown Kalamazoo. The former Rose Street Market building has been renovated as downtown’s newest hotel.
The Hilton Garden Inn at 303 N. Rose St. opened rooms on Monday, Nov. 30.
The first 54 rooms were available to book as part of the hotel’s first phase of opening. An additional 60 rooms will be opened in February as part of phase two, and a final 106 rooms will open in May, as home suites for extended stay guests.
Working with local developer PlazaCorp, the hotel will also have five retail spaces available inside. The hotel is already planning to be a spot on Kalamazoo’s Beer Week tour and looking forward to being part of the city’s new social zone, director of sales and marketing Kara Kearns said.
The hotel will have a full service bar and restaurant in addition to a breakfast buffet. Dining is currently limited to takeout orders due to Michigan’s coronavirus restrictions.
Click here to see all the photos from MLive’s tour inside the new downtown hotel.
The staff, which currently sits at 15 people, will grow to 60-80 people when all three phases of construction are complete. The hotel will be hiring for positions ranging from bartender to housekeeping, General Manager Chris Bebee said.
In accordance with coronavirus restrictions, the hotel requires guests to social distance and wear masks when in public areas. The pool and fitness center are limited to one person or household at a time to allow staff time to sanitize in between uses.
“When COVID hit, it really hurt hotels,” Bebee said. “We’re looking at studies about when the economy will bounce back and when travel will come back. We’re hoping in the spring people will start traveling again.”
Each room is marked with a sticker after housekeeping has sanitized the room. Guests can scan the QR code and learn about Hilton’s Clean Stay policy. Hilton has identified 10 high-touch surface areas to focus on in addition to sanitizing all hard surfaces in the room and use laundering, Bebee said.
“I really think Kalamazoo is set up to really bounce back quick,” he said. “Even after all this time there’s still a buzz going on in Kalamazoo.”
Guests will share in a little piece of Kalamazoo history as they walk into the 105-year-old building, originally built as a Masonic Temple Building and later home to Rose Street Market.
Premium rooms will feature the building’s most notable feature — large, round windows looking out over Rose Street below.
Plaza Corp, the city of Kalamazoo and Fishers, Ind.-based hotel developer Dora Hotel Co. partnered on the restoration project. The building was originally built from 1913-1915 by famed architectural firm Spier & Rohns, and the structure was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 1980.
In partnership with Heritage Guitars, a local guitar-maker formed by former employees of the iconic Gibson guitar factory in Kalamazoo, the Hilton property’s artwork features guitars and scenes from the factory.
A hotel of similar size and scale is planned for the Heritage Guitar factory property in 2022, Kearns said.
Hilton staff were able to tour the Kalamazoo factory and photos from that tour were commissioned to create the artwork that appears in each room, General Manager Chris Bebee said.
Bebee, who is originally from Louisville, Kentucky, said he chose to take on management of the Kalamazoo hotel because he loved the city’s vibrant energy and arts community.
“I chose it because the city is growing,” he said. “So far, I love it. I’m ready to settle in and enjoy the city and run a great hotel.”
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