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Sneak peek at new Courtyard by Marriott opening Wednesday in Elyria

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    Bob Van Bergen, general manager of the new Courtyard by Marriott off Travelers Lane in Elyria, samples food from The Bistro inside the hotel, which also has Starbucks coffee.

    BRUCE BISHOP / CHRONICLE

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    The lobby of the new Courtyard by Marriott off Travelers Lane in Elyria.

    BRUCE BISHOP / CHRONICLE

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ELYRIA — The city’s newest hotel has positioned itself to be a destination not just for out-of-town travelers and businesspeople but also for community members looking for a place to meet and eat.

Just north of the Ohio Turnpike and next to Midway Mall, the Courtyard by Marriott Cleveland/Elyria at 1755 Travelers Lane opens 2 p.m. Wednesday.

Many rooms were booked as of Thursday, six days before Wednesday’s opening, general manager Bob Van Bergen said.

The three-story hotel has 104 rooms and employs about 30 people — almost all of whom are Lorain and Elyria residents, he said.

“A great number chose to work here because they are close to home,” Van Bergen said.

Many of those employees were in the lobby Thursday afternoon, sampling breakfast and dinner choices from the in-house eatery, The Bistro. That’s so they can recommend dishes to guests and the public who are welcome to stop in for food, Starbucks coffee or an adult beverage, Van Bergen said.

A North Ridgeville resident and 50-year veteran of the hospitality industry, Van Bergen said he got his start washing dishes in downtown Cleveland. He remembers working switchboards, too, plugging in cords to connect callers to rooms.

Now, after more than 30 years away from the Buckeye State working in places like Florida, Texas and the Bahamas, he has come back to the Cleveland area to help Sunrise Hospitality open its newest hotel and second property in Elyria.

The lobby

The hotel lobby has an open, welcoming concept: Silver pillars catch the eye as soon as you step through the front door, and curved red-and-cream-colored swivel chairs surround those who sit in them. There are couches and booths, too, for a cozy at-home feel.

Van Bergen said the furniture, wall and carpet designs — the entire building was completed in two years and furnished by local contractors and subcontractors based on Marriott-approved blueprints — contain many shades of burgundy, brown and gray, along with wood and stone accents.

Van Bergen said the small booths are for private conversations, work meetings or those who want to plug in a laptop and take advantage of the free Wi-Fi or watch a Browns or Indians game and have some drinks.

It’s not just for businesspeople or weary travelers, Van Bergen said, “some people like to socialize” in hotel lobbies and that behavior is encouraged here.

A digital GoBoard touchscreen TV on the wall of the lobby — one of 11 — helps travelers find nearby destination spots, including restaurants, churches, shopping sites and sports venues, provides updates on flights in and out of Cleveland Hopkins International Airport and local and national news.

Air travelers can even print out their boarding passes at a nearby kiosk, Van Bergen said.

“You can stay very well-connected,” he said.

Amenities and rooms

The hotel features a small indoor pool with handicapped access, a workout room and guest laundry, an outdoor patio with a firepit and privacy fence and a 1,750-square-foot meeting room for meetings, receptions or parties.

The Bistro serves breakfast and dinner seven days a week, Van Bergen said, along with beer, wine and liquor. A small shop called The Market offers convenience snacks and drinks.

Instead of traditional keys or keycards, guests can use their smartphones to open their rooms once registration is complete, Van Bergen said.

King bed suites have walk-in showers with glass walls, and guests are provided plenty of pillows, both feather and foam. Multiple rooms also come with pull-out sleeper sofas for large families.

The nearest other Marriott property in Lorain County is the Fairfield Inn & Suites in Avon, so the corporation paid special attention when selecting Elyria for its brand, Van Bergen said.

“We think we know the market, and the strength of the market will support this hotel,” he said.

Sunrise Hospitality “owns three of the best hotels in the immediate area that are doing well,” he added, including the Hampton Inn & Suites next door to the new Courtyard, and the Homewood Suites by Hilton on Transportation Drive in Sheffield.

Van Bergen said he hopes that guests will take advantage of nearby restaurants and shops at Midway Mall, which he said he hopes will benefit from the hotel’s presence.

“We expect lots of walk-in traffic from the Turnpike,” he said.

The hotel hopes to cater to visitors going to Oberlin College and Cedar Point, traveling youth sports teams, and corporate and business travelers, he said.

For reservations, visit Marriott.com or call the hotel at (440) 284-3000.

Contact Dave O’Brien at 329-7129 or do’brien@chroniclet.com. Follow him at @daveobrienCT on Twitter.


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