Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Cambria Suites celebrates Grand Opening in Rockville Town Center (Photos)

Cambria Hotel & Suites
logo projected onto
the hotel last night in
The new Cambria Hotel and Suites celebrated its Grand Opening in Rockville's Town Center last night, with a level of spectacle not usually found at Montgomery County openings. Developer Duball LLC, parent company Choice Hotels (headquartered across E. Middle Lane from the hotel), and Crescent Hotels and Resorts threw what they described as a vintage carnival party, complete with circus tent outside the hotel.

Guests enjoyed several open bars, menu selections from the hotel's socialCircle bistro, and a variety of performance artists ranging from clowns to jugglers to an aerialist who soared above the crowd.
Michael Murphy, SVP of Upscale Brands
at Choice Hotels, prepares to open
the ceremonies, with Helen Heneghan Way
stretching into the background toward
Regal Cinemas
Master of ceremonies was Michael Murphy, Senior Vice President of Upscale Brands at Choice Hotels International. He welcomed several elected officials from the City of Rockville, including Mayor Bridget Donnell Newton, and Councilmembers Tom Moore and Virginia Onley.
Rockville Mayor Bridget Donnell Newton
with City Councilmembers
Tom Moore and Virginia Onley
"There's been no bigger supporter of Choice Hotels in Rockville than Mayor Bridget Newton," Murphy told the enthusiastic crowd. Newton commended Choice for agreeing to not include a full-service restaurant in the hotel, so that the many close-by restaurants around it would get a boost in business from guests. Newton and Murphy were also both enthusiastic about another recent turn of events surrounding the property.
Mayor Newton addresses
the crowd
"Something magical also happened these last five months," Murphy told the crowd. "It took collaboration with the city," to rename the placeholder Renaissance Street - which runs in front of the hotel - Helen Heneghan Way. Heneghan was a highly-regarded former city clerk and fixture in the community, who passed away a few months ago. Her name rose to the top of hundreds submitted to rename the street, whose original moniker was too close to a competing hotel brand's name for Choice's comfort. The tent in which the event was held stood atop Helen Heneghan Way itself.

Heneghan's husband, Frank, was in the tent as Murphy and Newton spoke. "We are thrilled to be part of this legacy," Murphy said of Helen Heneghan's service to Rockville. The "Way" designation of the street "couldn't be more apt," Newton said, "because there actually is a Helen Heneghan way, which also the Rockville way." The mayor said the hotel and Upton apartments "continue the positive growth" in Rockville's revitalized town center.

"There's no better night than when we're opening a Cambria Suites," Murphy enthused, "except when we're opening a Cambria Suites in Rockville. This is the most amazing time in the last ten years of my career."
Steve Joyce, CEO of
Choice Hotels International
Choice Hotels CEO Steve Joyce shared Murphy's feelings, saying that Cambria Suites are designed to be "upscale, contemporary, and convenient," and to have major appeal to the ever-coveted millennial segment of the market. Joyce said the brand is expanding in the near future to Times Square, Miami, Nashville and New Orleans, among other cities.
MD State Senator Cheryl Kagan
presents a citation from the
General Assembly
State Senator Cheryl Kagan (D-District 17) presented Joyce with a citation from the Maryland General Assembly, congratulating Choice on the opening and its role in the "revitalization of downtown Rockville."

"That was the best citation Steve Joyce has received in the state of Maryland," Murphy joked when he took the mic back. Murphy also congratulated Don Swedberg, General Manager of Crescent, on the Rockville Cambria Suites distinction in having the highest customer satisfaction score in the chain.

Other luminaries in the crowd included Ms. Maryland U.S. 2015 Amber Schroen, Miss Teen Maryland U.S. Ardelle Dickerson, Josefina Simpson and Ilaya Hopkins of the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce, and a host of officials from Choice and its partners. Also attending were lucky hotel guests, including business travelers from General Dynamics and Merck, Murphy said.
Marc Dubick, Principal and
President of Duball, LLC,
which developed the hotel
Then Murphy directed guests' attention to the center ring - literally - as performers proceeded to divert and entertain the crowd.

But wait, there's more. A tour of the hotel. I was pleasantly surprised to find that, rather than a cookie-cutter hotel room, the suites actually continue the Gothamesque-Modern theme of the building's facade indoors. Your room actually looks more like a swanky, retro Manhattan apartment than the typical lodging quarters. And the latest technology combines with old-fashioned perks like microwaves and personal refrigerators, and Wolfgang Puck coffee.
Conference Room for
business meetings
Mirror in
conference room
Now up to an actual
hotel suite
Hidden fridge

Below ground was another surprise. In addition to a sizable business meeting/conference center space, there is also a decently-sized room for events. "You could do a very nice wedding in this room," the hotel's Senior Sales Manager Renee Grant said. 75-80 people could fit in a table setting for a wedding reception, for example. Up to 125 might fit if you held a meeting or marriage ceremony using theater-style seating.

Back upstairs in the lobby-level bistro, guests watched Monday Night Football on a large widescreen, while enjoying adult beverages from the bar, and carnival-themed treats on an old-fashioned popcorn cart. The carnival performers wandered about the hotel, continuing to entertain. "Is that a clown car?" a clown asked, after a seemingly endless number of guests poured out of an elevator.

Monday Night Football in
the lobby

The bar in the lobby's
bistro restaurant

One of several Rockville-themed
artworks I came across
inside the hotel; does anyone
know what this depicts from
Rockville's past?

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