By Breanne Coats
When it comes to hotel development in Puyallup, when it rains it pours.
During the last year, Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Tacoma/Puyallup and Hampton Inn & Suites By Hilton opened. Meanwhile, the Best Western Premier Hotel & Conference Center went through a remodel that included the addition of a new bistro.
“(What) the new hotels do is make Puyallup that much more of an attractive destination,” said Shauna Lunde-Stewart, interim executive director of the Tacoma Regional Convention and Visitor Bureau. “It definitely creates a lot of opportunity for their growth and bringing more visitors to the area.”
Molly Mad, sales manager for the Hampton Inn & Suites By Hilton, said the addition of two hotels should help draw interest.
“Big events want to host at places that cannot only host their events, but also their attendees,” she said. “A lot of the people that have been staying with us have been coming to the Puyallup area and Tacoma area and have been waiting some time for more hotels to be opening up.”
In addition to attracting big events, Lunde said bureau staff is working to entice tourists to visit.
“We are doing a lot more prospecting and coordinating a research tour to have them check out the Puyallup area,” she said.
One particular focus has been agricultural tourism. “There is a lot of interest from those agriculture groups to meet out there,” Lunde said.
But even without new events or visitors, Mad said there was a need for more hotels.
“I really do believe Puyallup is waiting for the right time to boom,” she said.
Phillip DeLong, general manager of the Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott, said what makes Puyallup an attractive place to have a hotel is its proximity to Good Samaritan Hospital, the Puyallup Fair and Events Center and Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
“(There are a) lot of little reasons people come to the area,” he said. “It’s always been a great market for our company. I’ve always liked Puyallup. It feels like a small town, but it has all the conveniences of a big city.”
While Puyallup might have a small town feel, both new hotels offer high-end features that sometimes surprise guests.
“We do sometimes get that comment. A little bit like, ‘Wow. This is in Puyallup?’” DeLong said. “But Puyallup really has grown. It’s not a super-small town anymore.”
When compared to other hotels, DeLong said the most unique thing about the Fairfield is its “contemporary colorful design.”
“We are probably the hippest hotel in Puyallup,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Hampton Inn & Suites By Hilton gets to boast that it is the city’s largest hotel, with 122 guest room and 1,246 square feet of contiguous meeting space.
But what makes the Hampton different from other locations is the accommodations that were included because of its proximity to Good Samaritan.
“We have a lot of special need rooms,” Mad said. “We are designed for the corporate traveler — but can accommodate the guests that need special assistance.”
Traci Nelson, director of sales at three local Marriott hotels, said because of the new hotels, her company decided it needed to update the Best Western Premier Hotel & Conference Center to remain competitive.
“We did everything — top to bottom, inside and out,” she said. “It’s like a brand new hotel.”
Work is still being done on the entrance, but as during the rest of the remodel, the hotel has remained opened.
“We don’t want to inconvenience anyone, so we do what we can to work through it,” Nelson said. “It’s exciting to see all the changes. I think our guests like it.”
Beyond changing things like lighting, bedding and bringing the pool indoors, the ownership group also decided to add a food element.
“It’s the best way to service our guests and that’s our ultimate goal,” Nelson said. “We really wanted to make sure everything and anything a guest could want, we could accommodate.”
The new bistro has been open for about a month.
“It’s been pretty smooth so far,” Nelson said. “We did a quiet opening. We will do a big grand opening for the hotel in general and showcase the bistro once the remodel is complete.”