CEDAR RAPIDS — One of the first 15 Tru by Hilton hotels in the country has opened at Westdale shopping mall in southwest Cedar Rapids.
The 82-room, four-story limited service hotel features a 2,880-square-foot lobby where guests and visitors can eat, play games or work. Power and USB charging outlets are available in the general seating area as well as semiprivate alcoves.
A fitness center, with treadmills and other exercise equipment, and an indoor swimming pool are located just off the lobby. An outdoor patio will be available for guests outside the swimming pool in warmer weather.
“Typically hotels have been known for business travel, with some leisure travel,” said Val Barnes, general manager of the Tru by Hilton at Westdale. “The Tru by Hilton is designed to encourage guests to come to the lobby, interact, meet new people and have a good time during their stay in the hotel.
“We have a pool table, three large television screens above our command center (circular main desk) in the middle of the lobby and our 24-hour Eat and Sip market. Local gourmet snacks and drinks are always available in the lobby.”
Barnes said each Tru by Hilton has a different color scheme and decor, including a wall-size mural that highlights local attractions and businesses, such as Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Quaker Oats and Rockwell Collins.
Three sound-resistant cubicles are equipped with seating for guests who need an extra measure of quiet privacy for phone conversations. For those who want to lock up their cellphone while they play pool or a board game, the lobby has several small lockers equipped with charging stations.
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The 231-square-foot guest rooms are designed for efficiency, with hooks on the walls to hang clothing, a shelf under the 55-inch television for folded items and two spaces under the foot of the platform bed to store luggage.
While each guest room has a cube refrigerator, in-room coffee makers have been replaced by a 24-hour complimentary coffee station in the lobby.
The Tru by Hilton at Westdale, which employs about 15 people, is the first Tru to be constructed in Iowa. Hilton has about 500 of the mid-scale hotels under construction or in development.
Lisa Rowe, Frew Development vice president of retail and Westdale general manager, said a formal grand opening for the Tru by Hilton at Westdale is planned for March 15.
“We interviewed our existing hotel owners and our customers. Part of our focus group told us that we needed to create a place where people can connect,” said Susan Bachman, senior director of development northwest for Hilton.
The hotel, owned by Westdale Hotel Associates LC, is operated by Kinseth Hospitality Cos. of North Liberty. Barnes, a native of Wichita, Kan., joined Kinseth after graduating from the University of Iowa.