Skip to Content

Marriott celebrates grand opening of Downtown Little Rock Hotel

October 30, 2016 • Alicia

A prominent hotel in downtown Little Rock, Ark. raised the flag of Marriott Hotels and Resorts for the primary time on May 2, 2013 representing a vital change to city’s River Market district and convention center neighborhood.

Celebrating the occasion with a ribbon cutting ceremony at what used to be referred to as the Peabody Hotel, dignitaries and native business representatives joined with hotel associates from the management firm of Davidson Hotels & Resorts and homeowner Executive Vice chairman Ed Ansbro of Fairwood Capital to inaugurate Arkansas’ first full-service Marriott hotel.

“The addition of the Marriott Hotels & Resorts’ flag, in addition to its associated accommodations, amenities and reservation system, will better position our hotel to satisfy the desires and demands of both business and leisure travelers seeking upscale accommodations within the area,” said Bill Fontes, general manager of the newly dubbed Little Rock Marriott. “We are the sole full-service Marriott hotel in Arkansas which we believe gives us an important competitive advantage.”

Fontes spoke during ribbon cutting ceremonies held to commemorate opening of the Marriott’s 418-room luxury lodging that is slated to undergo a multi-million dollar renovation of all guest rooms and public spaces beginning in early 2014.

“Little Rock is a regional magnet for business, meetings/convention and leisure travel,” said Ted Arps, Investment Management senior vp with Davidson Hotels & Resorts. “After a radical review of the market, we worked closely with Fairwood to pick out the ideal brand to reposition this hotel. The Marriott flag brings instant credibility to a good hotel and site, and we intend to produce the guest service and a focus to detail for which both Marriot and Little Rock are well-known.”

The new Marriott hotel is situated in downtown Little Rock near the well-liked River Market district, and is hooked up to the Statehouse Convention Center. The accommodations also are located just minutes from the William J. Clinton Presidential Library, Verizon Arena, Old Statehouse Museum, local performing arts centers and the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport.

On hand for the development were Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola; members of the Little Rock Board of Directors and Convention & Visitors Bureau; George Katz and Kathy Hood, regional vice chairman and vp of sales and revenue management, respectively, from Davidson Hotels & Resorts; Tom Defreece, vp and controller of Fairwood Capital, and a number of community and business representatives.

Absent for the 1st time in over a decade, the Peabody ducks weren’t in attendance on the ribbon-cutting ceremony. The enduring ducks, a fixture on the Peabody since its opening in 2002 were moved from the hotel fountain and into retirement on an outlying farm.

While the ducks might be gone, new changes have already been made throughout the Marriott to assist improve the hotel experience of Little Rock visitors. The Marriott’s exclusive linens, high-definition televisions, telephones and other features was added because the hotel moves forward in revitalizing the valuables.