JW Marriott opens in Indianapolis

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Lindy Dobbins/WTHR

Indianapolis – The newest addition to Indianapolis' skyline opened Thursday, marking the end of the city's five-year building boom. The new JW Marriott hotel will top the list of new architectural attractions in Indianapolis, a list that includes the Indiana Convention Center, Indianapolis Airport, and Lucas Oil Stadium.

"It really is a great crowning jewel, if you will, to all of the investment that has been done in the city," said the hotel's general manager, Scott Blaylock.

The JW Marriott welcomed its first guests Friday morning with dozens of warm smiles, a tray full of mimosas, and an oversized check for 100,000 Marriott Points. Todd Hoopingarner and his wife made their reservation months ago with the intent of checking in first.

"It's a once in a lifetime opportunity, I think," Hoopingarner said. "I never have been to the opening of a hotel before, so I thought it would be kind of exciting to try and be here on the first night."

The hotel is the largest of its chain, standing at 33 stories with 1,005 guest rooms. Its burnished blue exterior towers over Indianapolis, providing an excellent view for both city residents and hotel guests.

"Obviously," said Sales and Marketing Director Cory Chambers, "one of the great things about all of our rooms is the view."

In addition to a view of the city, the rooms offer facilitated accessibility to the majority of Indianapolis' leading landmarks. Interactive directories map out the different locations, many of which can be accessed by one of many skywalks.

"Cory was talking about all the inside sidewalks and connections where you really almost don't even have to go outside," Kris Hoopingarner said, "which is fabulous for when it's really cold out."

The rooms within the JW Marriott are contemporary in design but conventional in functionality. Wireless internet is available in the rooms, many of which feature a main dining area with business-related purposes.

"As you come into the suite you have the living area and the main dining area which is also a great spot for small meetings and stuff like that," Chambers said, "which is what its predominant use is for."

If the rooms aren't large enough to host a meeting, guests have access to one of the hotel's 55 meeting rooms. With approximately 104,000 square feet of total meeting space and the largest hotel ballroom in the Midwest, available room is guaranteed to be a non-issue.

"When we go to our customers and meeting planners, these convention planners and say, ‘hey, the largest JW in the world is in Indianapolis,' they don't believe you," Chambers said. "So it gives us some credibility."

Also high in credibility is Master Chef Rino Baglio of JW Marriott's Italian restaurant, Osteria Pronto. Baglio was the youngest master chef ever to receive the black jacket from the Italian Chef Federation and he is one of very few in the United States to have received the honor.

"And we've got him," Chambers said, "and I've never been in the restaurant that he hasn't been back there cooking."

In addition to Osteria Pronto, the JW Marriott hosts a contemporary sports bar called High Velocity as well as a TGI Fridays. All of the restaurants are as casual and cost efficient as the rooms. Weekend rates fluctuate between $159 and $179 and midweek rates between $249 and $309, depending on the time of year and special events.

The cost of a stay at the JW Marriott is mostly event driven and room availability is as well. The hotel's first weekend will not be especially busy but more than 1,000 guests are expected to check in early next week and, according to those who have already ventured inside, the JW Marriott will not disappoint.

"It is absolutely beautiful," said Sara Green of Eastern Star Church. "It represents the heart of Indiana… and we're impressed."

Learn more about the hotel.