The final major component in downtown Buffalo's highly-touted mixed-use facility is completed and welcoming its first guests.
Officials welcomed media to tour rooms as they awaited their first scheduled guests Thursday in a soft opening for the Buffalo Marriott HarborCenter, which opens for business three years after the agreement was signed to build the facility, literally, from the ground up.
"It's very, very fulfilling and very exciting to go from a blacktop parking lot that held 250 cars to HarborCenter, with 750 parking spaces, two rinks, 716, Tim Hortons, and especially our Buffalo Marriott HarborCenter," said Stan Makowski, Vice President of Arena Operations for the Buffalo Sabres and one of the executives who led media on a tour of the available hotel rooms.
Among the rooms media were allowed to check out were a standard double bed room, a corner suite and a "presidential suite," the latter of which included a large conference table, full-sized kitchen, living area, multiple bathrooms and the bedroom. All rooms offer an impressive view of downtown Buffalo and, if you're on that side of the building, views beyond the city limits including the Niagara Falls, Ontario skyline and perhaps some mist from the falls.
This particular hotel, says Buffalo Marriott HarborCenter general manager Huseyin Taran, is unique not only to downtown Buffalo, being in a mixed-use center, but also within the hotel chain.
"Buffalo Mariott HarborCenter is the first new-built Marriott hotel in the United States with the new Marriott guest room specs," Taran said. "Our hotel features an M Club lounge. It's one of the eight M Club lounges in the United States. It's a new concept for the Marriott."
A formal ceremonial grand opening for the hotel is scheduled for September. The first wedding celebration booked there, according to Taran, is scheduled for October. Participants in the upcoming USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game, which will be played September 24 next door at First Niagara Center, are also scheduled to stay at the hotel, officials said.