JW Marriott, Grand Rapids, Michigan - What a Place to Stay!

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Towne Square Real Estate LLC

Last Saturday night during my bi-annual ladies night out with my gal pal, we decided to venture downtown having not a clue where we'd entertain ourselves for dinner.  Without much thought, staring at the blue lit building, we decided to venture into the newly opened exclusive JW Marriott for a peek.  What we discovered was much more than entertainment, as we stood in awe of one incredible magnificient masterpiece of design, cool elegance, and international delight.  Let me explain......

It really wasn't but a couple of steps into the main foyer when I realized this was not my grandma's hotel, for immediately my eyes fell upon colors of every liking specifically intended for world travelers.  Without hesitation and with the encouragement of the restaurant hostesses, we asked the concierge for a hotel tour.  Here's what I learned:

VISION -  Alticor having continued futuristic vision, knew that Grand Rapids is and will be a revolutionary city in the State of Michigan.  Just take one look around, and you will see the beginning rumblings of a new West Michigan.  The late Mr Jay VanAndel and the Alticor CEO's approached Mr Bill Marriott about having his premier hotel in Grand Rapids.  Bear in mind, only 37 JW Marriott hotels exist in the world, only 16 are in the US.  It is a great honor to have this hotel here.  This was one of the last projects overseen by the late Mr Jay VanAndel, and a Steelcase chair in his honor has been placed in every single room with distinction.

ARCHITECTURAL - I cannot even begin to describe the intricasies of all the architecture and design, from the flooring, to the walls, the furniture (all locally purchased and designed through Steelcase, Inc.), the wallpaper, the hardware etc., that complimented each other in every detail.  It was truly astonishing to observe the intense thought process and planning that went into this project.  I had to chuckle to myself, as even in the ladies room, the hardware used there mirrored the tiny design of the wallpaper.  It was truly amazing.

INTERNATIONAL DIVERSITY -  Grand Rapids Sister Cities International.  Unbeknownst to me, Grand Rapids has sister cities across the globe.  One floor is dedicated to each of these cities, and they are:  Zapopan, Mexico, Perugia, Italy; Omihachiman, Japan; Bielsko-Biala, Poland; Ga District, Ghana.  It was an amazing task undertaken by hired photographers who spent from one week up to one month in each of these cities, and brought back amazing photo shots displayed throughout each of these floors and the entire hotel.  It is said, one could spend one full day viewing and appreciating all the artwork brought into this hotel.  In addition, a Japanese and Spanish interpreter are on staff to assist world travelers from around the globe.  Grand Rapids is changing faces and putting on new colors.

ACCOMMODATIONS -   Don't think for one moment that extensive thought was not put into each room and hotel suite.  This particular evening we toured one of the Japan Suites, which was completely amazing in that each room hosted a 37" flat screen television, plus an entire technology access and docking station including a separate keyboard and mouse, and another huge flat screen monitor for your use.  The bed linens were of the finest, which you would expect from such a luxurious place.  Individual bedside attached lights were convenient for each guest, and the room telephone allowed you to freely roam the entire hotel while never missing a phone call.  Marble and textured flooring all added to the unique ambiance.  The views were absolutely spectacular.

DINING -   Our experience couldn't be complete without dining in the restaurant called SIX.ONE.SIX (our area code, of course!).  Not letting my senses quiet down for one minute, the restaurant was a delight.   My unique selection for the evening was a Pumpkin Pasta dish that had me "at hello".  Again, the environment was full of spectacular color, texture splashes, and streamline contemporary place presentations. 

THE EXTRAS -  Again, the planners didn't miss a beat.  From the indoor heated pool, to the spa, steam rooms and whirlpool tub, everything fit into the complete landscape of its cool environment.  Particularly sweet was their distinctive executive boardrooms that couched the softest leather seats I'd ever felt.  I knew where my next board meeting needed to be!   Conveniently included is the much needed Starbucks for that morning cup a jo'.

As you can tell, our evening of "what do we do tonight" turned into an evening of delight and wonder.  What man can plan, build, execute and bring to the masses is truly a gift.  I was delighted to unwrap this jewel and consider it a new beginning to our changing Grand Rapids landscape.  It is far more reaching than it's four corners, and has already hosted many from around the globe.



Lola Audu
Lola Audu~Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI Real Estate - Grand Rapids, MI
Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI ~Welcome Home!
Karla, This post was a great way to share your experience at the JW Marriott.  We were at the Six One Six several weeks ago for a very nice dinner.  We didn't take the tour though.  What a great idea!  I learned more from this post than my visit for dinner. :)
Nov 27, 2007 01:03 PM
Karla Huitsing
Towne Square Real Estate LLC - Grandville, MI
HI Lola, Thanks for your response.  It's always nice to hear from you.  I really left this place feeling like I'd found a pot of gold for the evening.  It was so fun.  I'm glad to have broadened your horizons just a tiny bit.  Have a blessed day!
Nov 27, 2007 11:06 PM
Robert L. Brown - Grand Rapids, MI
Grand Rapids Real Estate Bellabay Realty, West Mic
And the cost for this elegance is?? Will the people of west michigan be able to afford such luxury? Not trying to be the bearer of bad news in this market in this city with people losing jobs and leaving our great state we can hope that outsiders come to enjoy it. And yes i've been down there and it looks wonderful. Residents that live within a city should be able to enjoy it as well.
Nov 29, 2007 04:59 AM
Karla Huitsing

Hi Robert,  I'm not sure the hotel was planned for those who already live here, with the exception of an occasional personal getaway.  It was clearly built to host those executives and conference goers looking to work here; stay here as needed, which will in time, further this city's growth & economy.  I thought their room rates were par for any hotel of this magnitude.  I would anticipate the majority of the GR folks living here to enjoy the hotel, much like an Amway experience, on a dinner only basis, or like I said, an occasional personal getaway.

I would question how many folks actually book a getaway or stay downtown who live in Grand Rapids?  My guess is that it's a rare occurence.   I know I don't.  Thanks for the comment.  Nice to hear from you.


Nov 29, 2007 05:18 AM
Daniel Sundberg
Crystal Springs Real Estate - Kentwood, MI
I have got some impressive pictures of the JW I should post one of these days.  My friend who is an employee there let a couple of us up on the roof and took a few pictures of Downtown GR.  Quite impressive!
Nov 29, 2007 07:55 AM
Karla Huitsing
Daniel,  That would be awesome to include those pictures on the website.  I love photography, so enhance our world and get them up.  Pretty neat place!
Nov 29, 2007 08:56 AM