A $16 million renovation has begun at the downtown Little Rock Marriott, hotel officials said Friday.
The 418-room hotel located at 3 Statehouse Plaza will remain open during the work, which is expected to be complete by late summer.
At a news conference attended by city leaders and hotel management, General Manager Bill Fontes detailed a series of improvements, including:
— Overhaul of guest rooms two floors at a time with crews working from the top of the hotel down, taking about 60 rooms out of service at any one time.
— A redesigned lobby to include a gathering space with outlets for charging devices and a media wall with four 80-inch televisions.
— A new, non-smoking lounge in the space that once housed the Velvet Humidor Cigar Lounge for guests who stay in Club Level rooms.
— Updated carpet, paint, wallpaper, lighting and audio technology in the meeting rooms.
— A new restaurant. Details on it will be released later this year, Fontes said.
The hotel, formerly the Peabody, was rebranded as a Marriott last year after being sold. Part of the renovations included removing the lobby fountain where the Peabody ducks used to swim during the day as well as transforming the outdoor structure they stayed in at night into an heirloom tomato and herb garden, Fontes said.
Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola, who called the Marriott "probably my favorite hotel" and said he particularly likes the chain's pillows, noted the $16 million in renovation will turn over several times in the community.
"There's all sorts of good things that are happening because of that construction," he said. "I can't wait to see the final product. It's certainly a complement to a wonderful city."