Marriott opens two new hotels in downtown Knox

Mary Bogert, general manager of the Knoxville Convention Center, chats with Nick Lakha, one of the owners of the new Courtyard and Residence Inn Knoxville Downtown. They met at a reception at the hotels last Thursday.

A festive ribbon-cutting and reception last week celebrated the opening of the new Courtyard and Residence Inn Knoxville Downtown on the site of the former News-Sentinel building.

The unique property features rooms and amenities to fit every type of visitor from business to leisure in a convenient location close to many attractions in the city’s center.

“Our dual-concept Marriott property fits Knoxville’s rich and diverse offerings,” owner Nick Lakha said. “The city’s thriving economy and concentration of professional offices downtown bring in business travelers, and the booming entertainment, arts and cultural scene attracts everyone from tourists, concert goers and festival attendees to Vol fans and East Tennesseans enjoying a staycation. Our hotels easily accommodate a wide spectrum of travelers, right in the heart of downtown.”

The nine-story hotels located at 210 W. Church Ave., boast 152 Courtyard guestrooms and 80 Residence Inn suites with one common lobby and reception area. The Residence Inn suites have fully equipped kitchens and dining areas.

Hotel owner Nick Lakha making remarks prior to the ribbon-cutting on Thursday.

Dining, bar and meeting space options are open to the public as well as overnight guests. A second-floor terrace, aptly named “Above Church” with a view onto Church Avenue, features a fire pit, grills and outdoor seating with umbrellas. The Bistro restaurant and bar is located on the main floor of the hotels and serves breakfast, dinner and lighter fare along with signature cocktails. It also serves a selection of Starbucks beverages 24 hours a day, including a hotel-exclusive “Bistro Signature” latte made with Starbucks Espresso, honey and steamed almond milk.

Just east of Gay Street on Church Avenue, the hotels are within walking distance to restaurants, shopping and event venues, including Market Square, Tennessee Theatre, Bijou Theatre, Civic Auditorium and Coliseum and more. They were built on the former site of the Knoxville News Sentinel before the newspaper moved to its current location in 2003. The old newspaper building was demolished in 2004, and the lot has been vacant until now, with the Marriott property filling a prominent gap in the downtown landscape.

Disclosure: The hotels are clients of Moxley Carmichael, which was hired to help with the opening event.

Dignitaries getting ready to cut the ribbon on two new Marriott properties last week. From left, Knox County Commissioners Justin Biggs and Carson Dailey, state Sen. Becky Massey, Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero, owners Nick Lakha and Josh Chapman, Knox County Clerk Sherry Witt, Knox County Trustee Ed Shouse and Knoxville Municipal Judge John Rosson.

A crowd gathers to watch.

Inside, a beautiful “grazing table” by Goodhart’s Charcuterie.

Debbie Sharp, left, and Ruth Lyons. Ruth is director of sales for the hotels.

From left, Nick Cazana, Amy Nolan and Rick Blackburn. Amy is with the Knoxville Chamber, which helped with the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Lisa Skinner and former Knoxville Mayor Daniel Brown.

My favorite item on the “grazing table” was the citrus hummus!

An interesting highlight of the reception: a “living statue!”

Lauren Miller of Moxley Carmichael, left, and Monique Anderson, who lives across the street from the new hotels.

More neighbors from across the street: from left, Dabney Johnson, Peggy Hargis and Jenny Eversole.

Heather Overton and Daryl Johnson from Johnson Architecture, another great Moxley Carmichael client.

State Sen. Rick Staples, left, and Marcus Hall goofing around.

Dawn Ford, left, and Jayne Burritt, CEO of the Public Building Authority.

From left, owners Josh Chapman and Nick Lakha with Jill Thompson, executive director of the Greater Knoxville Hospitality Association, and state Sen. Becky Massey.

Knox County Clerk Sherry Witt, left, and Janet Testerman. These were the two most colorfully dressed folks there!

Stuffed grape leaves!

Rick Emmett, the city of Knoxville’s downtown coordinator, with his sweet wife, Alta.

Great music provided by, from left, Martin Whitaker, Jon Hamar and Bill Swann.

Cindy Wyrick, left and Karen Vineyard.

Bill Rukeyser, left, and John Craig.

Judith Foltz, center, the city’s director of special events, with Bruce and Monique Anderson, across-the-street neighbors of the hotels.

Cliff and Jacque Hawks, left, with Rick Blackburn. The Hawks, who live across Church Avenue in The Elliott, have watched with interest the past couple of years as construction proceeded on the hotels. “It’s been great,” Jacque said. “We’ve loved watching it.”


From left, Knox County Commissioner Justin Biggs, Municipal Judge John Rosson and Commissioner Carson Dailey.

General Manager Marcedes Schindler with Moxley Carmichael’s president, Alan Carmichael, during a tour.

A double room staged as if it were a UT football weekend at the Courtyard by Marriott.

The view from the 9th floor looking east.

A Residence Inn room staged as a bridal suite.

The view from the 9th floor looking west.

The kitchen area of the Residence Inn room.

Living room area of the Residence Inn room.

Residence Inn guests also have their own dining area in the lobby.

Both hotels have access to the fitness center.

An ice cream truck pulled up to serve treats to guests as they exited the reception. (Photo by Lauren Miller.)


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