A Hotel Renovation Inspired by a City and Its People
By Gino Caliendo General Manager, Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront | November 20, 2016
Embarking on a major hotel renovation can be an exciting endeavor. When we began formulating our renewed vision for the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront in 2014, we were mindful of a dual responsibility: projecting the image of the regency brand while also infusing into the plan the personality and flavor of a unique surrounding region and its people. Now that the project is complete, others in the industry may benefit from learning about how we achieved those objectives.
In all, the year-long renovation included a floor-to-ceiling overhaul of all 951 guest rooms, corridors, the roof-top fitness center, select meeting spaces and more. We sought to achieve an enhanced guest experience amid an inspiring setting overlooking the St. Johns River in downtown Jacksonville.
Reflecting the River City
To understand the visual themes for our renovation, it is important to understand Jacksonville itself. In land area, it is the largest city in the contiguous United States, and in population, it is the largest city in Florida. It stretches from the Atlantic beaches to its inland downtown area and beyond. While Florida typically conjures up images of tropical landscapes and palm trees, Jacksonville is different; it offers a mixture of palms, pines and towering live oaks within a city that boasts the nation's largest urban park system.
With a recorded history stretching back to the 16th century, the city is rich in its heritage of both Florida lifestyle and true Southern charm. Jacksonville has become a city with many unique neighborhoods, an exciting metropolitan center and a vibrant arts scene.
But the crowning jewel of Jacksonville is the historic St. Johns River, which runs through the very center of downtown. No fewer than seven bridges span its waters. The most iconic of all, the Main Street Bridge, lies virtually at the doorstep of the Hyatt Regency, which is situated on the river's north bank. Known by many as the "blue bridge," its vibrant color was adopted as a key element in the scheme for our redesign efforts.