First Opened in 1847, Alabama’s Grand Hotel Golf Resort & Spa Completes Three-Year Transformation and Joins Autograph Collection Hotels

USA, Bethesda, Maryland. September 06, 2018

Autograph Collection Hotels, part of Marriott International, Inc., together with the Resort Collection on Alabama's Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail announced the rebranding of the Grand Hotel Golf Resort & Spa, an iconic Southern resort in Point Clear, Alabama. The Grand Hotel joins the brand's diverse portfolio of more than 150 one-of-a-kind hotels that champion visionary owners, thoughtful design and craft.

First opened in 1847, the Grand Hotel has been known as the Queen of Southern Resorts for generations. The charming, 405-room resort is known for exceptional service, Southern charm, majestic oaks and beautiful sunsets over Mobile Bay. During the three-year renovation, the resort's guest rooms, meeting space, restaurants, spa, golf, pier, pools and grounds were transformed.

Part of the Resort Collection on Alabama's Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, the Grand Hotel has been praised by group and leisure publications. “With this stunning transformation nearly complete, the historic Grand Hotel enters its next chapter with its Autograph Collection distinction,” said Tony Davis, president of the RTJ Resort Collection. “We are debuting a modern sanctuary of golf, tennis, beach, pools and spa filled with gracious Southern charm and attentiveness. Here, as it has for over 170 years, the Grand Life beckons with hospitality and warmth flowing through the resort in cheerful abundance,” said Davis. “With our Historic Hotels of America designation, the affiliation with the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail and Autograph Collection signature, the Grand Hotel Golf Resort & Spa will appeal even more to group and leisure guests.

Owned by the Retirement Systems of Alabama, the Grand Hotel Golf Resort & Spa transformation blends the best of the resort's Southern charm and traditions with the modern amenities and technology today's guests demand.

Designed as an all-in-one destination, the Grand Hotel Golf Resort & Spa features a full-service spa, two RTJ Golf Trail courses, seven restaurants and lounges, two beaches, multiple pools and 37,000 square feet of renovated meeting space on 550 lush acres along Mobile Bay near Fairhope, Alabama. The Grand's cannon firing each afternoon honors the resort's history and salutes past and present military.

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Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.