Have you ever considered your autograph? The uniqueness? What it says about you? How you are the only one with that specific autograph?
I hadn’t. Until I had a conversation with Lila Plambeck, Director of Sales & Marketing, for The Warrior Hotel. The Warrior Hotel is one of the newest additions to the Marriott Autograph Collection. The Autograph Collection hotels are signature experiences – each completely unique. They feature landmark buildings and surprises of service. Like works of art, each property has an ‘autograph’ setting it apart from every other.
Plambeck explained, “Each hotel is required to identify their signature. What are the unique elements that make this property distinct? How do we incorporate that throughout the experience for our guests? For The Warrior Hotel, their mark is a bird.”
Senior Vice President of Innkeeper Hospitality Services, Harry Lunt expanded that thought. “The Goldfinch is the state bird of Iowa, a staple of the Midwest prairie landscape and you will find these throughout the Warrior Hotel. The visual dramatics of the architecture is carried inside and incorporated in many ways. The Goldfinch celebrates the best of Sioux City and the best of Iowa.”
“The Goldfinch is the state bird of Iowa, a staple of the Midwest prairie landscape and you will find these throughout the Warrior Hotel.
The Warrior Hotel has a long history in Sioux City, but for the last 40 years sat shuttered with the occasional dream of restoration being wished. That dream is a reality in 2020. The historic structure is being made modern, into what Plambeck calls a “Hipstoric ™” location. “We embrace the history and add modern elements to create a wonderful experience.”
Homage is paid to the past – for example, The Flamingo Room, was an upscale private room in the past and will remain that way. War Eagle Lanes was a bowling alley across the street in the 1900s. Today it is in the building, featuring private lanes for small gatherings and publicly available lanes for anyone to use.
The 148 rooms at the Warrior Hotel include 98 in the Warrior building and another 50 in the Davidson building next door. Each room features top notch amenities including Toto Washlets, in-mirror bathroom TVs, and state of the art HVAC systems that circulate air only within the room. Air does not circulate from common areas or one room to another – a feature that is extremely beneficial in this time of COVID.
The guest experience at The Warrior Hotel is full of surprises from the heated sidewalk – always free from ice and snow – to the door greeter, the Tesla charging station, Victorian birdcage, and beautiful grand staircase leading to the check-in desk. “There are some additional surprises we hold pretty close to the vest, we want visitors to have that experience of discovery.” Lunt said.
The goal of the hotel is to be more than a place where travelers stay. “We want to be the place where locals’ hangout. Where they stop on the way home from work or plan a team bowling night or just hangout on the rooftop bar.” Plambeck said. “The philosophy of Innkeeper Hospitality Services is to enhance communities. That is more than a hotel; more than a building; it’s ingraining ourselves into the community in all we do.”
The perimeter of the building’s first floor will include a coffee shop and storefront rental space. “I’m asked all the time if Fuji Bay will be coming back,” Plambeck says with a smile, “we certainly hope so, we have a spot almost exactly where they were before. We envision boutique shops and unique local offerings completing that storefront space.” In addition, there is a full service spa and top-notch dining will be available at Woodburys on the second floor. “We’ll have our own chef and feature dry-aged Midwest raised steak – a nod to Sioux City’s stockyards past.” Says Plambeck
When asked about opening, Plambeck explains “luckily construction was not impacted by the pandemic, so we’ve stayed on schedule. We are now moving furniture into some of the rooms and plan to open the hotel in August. We are hiring and putting the finishing touches on everything. The rooftop bar will be a little further in the timeline, but we still hope for later fall.”
And hiring, Plambeck says, has been going well. “I’ve actually had people walk up and say – can I work there? You don’t even have to pay me. I just want to be in there!” She is amazed at how many people have approached her to share memories of their prom, an aunt’s wedding or other special events held at the Warrior Hotel. “I can tell the community is really excited to have it open again. And I am too!” she adds.
By Cyndi Hanson