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Days Hotel to add meeting space, suites

Dickinson's Days Hotel is soon to be building on to its current facility.

Stephen Barker, president of Grand Dakota Partners, a North Carolina-based company that owns the Dickinson facility, said the expansion is to include about 6,000 square feet of conference and banquet space, along with 43 suites.

Although a date has not been set, construction is being tentatively planned for later this summer or early this fall.

Barker said the decision to expand resulted from a continuing need for more space.

"What propelled us first of all was the fact that our meeting space has been used tremendously," Barker said. "We certainly felt that adding more meeting space was something that we more or less had to do."

Barker said building more suites onto the hotel is to help meet the needs of more guests.

"We have a couple of suites that we've modified and they've certainly served our purposes very well, but we think that we need quite a few meet the demand that we have," Barker said. "The idea in the back of our minds was, of course, to incorporate the suites sometime in the future, so we decided to do it now."

The new suites are to include a variety of amenities.

"They're bigger and more attractive to a certain part of the marketplace, so we're glad to incorporate them," Barker said. "It gives us the best of all worlds at this point."

Barker said the suites are to have separate areas for sleeping and for lounging.

"More like a living-room type area, if you will," Barker said. "These are going to be extremely nice, extremely upscale. They'll certainly be top of the line."

He added some suites are to have two separate bedroom areas and some suites are to include hot tubs.

"We array of different types of units, all in the suite concept," Barker said.

Another variety of suite Barker said is to be incorporated at Days Hotel is an extended-stay suite. These units are to better serve guests who are staying at the hotel for longer periods of time.

"It's a special place, there's no question about that," Barker said.

He added the suites and meeting space are to be added to the east side of the building, by the restaurant and bar.

"When you have meeting space you must have access to kitchen facilities," Barker said. "We have enough capacity in our existing kitchen facility to be able to handle an increased meeting space area."

Barker said the suites are to be added to the same side of the building to make the project "one big package."

Although the lounge and kitchen areas may produce excess noise, Barker said guests staying in suites close to these areas are not going to be disturbed.

"They both have significant areas between them...not only in the form of walls, but also hallways and other things, so that would not be a problem at all," Barker said.

A new addition is being planned for the south side of the facility as well.

"We're also extending at the back of the hotel, a large facility that will accommodate a maintenance area and also a storage area for us," Barker said. "We've had so much activity that our storage is limited and this will allow us to actually have a place for that."

The expansion may have an effect on parking.

"We will have areas around the building that we are going to be using more so than we have in the past," Barker said. "I think in the general scheme of things, you'll find that there's certainly going to be enough parking."

The current facility also is to undergo a makeover.

"We are going to do some quite substantial improving on the existing facility, both in looks and structure and other things," Barker said. "When you see the new part go up, you'll see some other things happening within the existing facility."

Barker said the existing rooms are to be improved as part of this project.

"We're going to do some modest changes in each of the rooms, upgrading those just a slight bit and just keep making the hotel better and better all the time," Barker said.

Another upgrade planned for the current facility is the possible addition of a small gift shop. Barker added the pool area may also be renovated.

"We're anticipating building kind of a grand staircase from what is now the mezzanine and the pool area, down to the pool," Barker said. "That will open up that whole area."

One change that has already occurred within the hotel is the transition from "Days Inn" to "Days Hotel."

"The Days Hotel was a new brand that the Days Inn franchising people wanted to upgrade and to improve a particular type of hotel which was geared toward the business traveler and provide more amenities for that type of person," Barker said. "We were already focusing on that and they recognized that...and with some added improvements, we were able to step up."

Barker said the name change did not influence the decision to build onto the facility.

"I think that the new addition is basically driven by demand," Barker said. "We knew that with our hotel and the experience that we've had with the hotel, that there's a tremendous need for additional meeting space."

He added the staff at the Days Hotel has had the greatest influence on the facility's ability to expand.

"They have made the hotel what it is and the expansion is really a direct result of the tremendous service and work effort that people have put in," Barker said. "We have the best personnel in the hotel business and they deserve a lot of credit for any success that we've had out there."

Although other companies are intending to develop more hotels in the Dickinson area, Barker does not believe they will have an effect on the Days Hotel or its expansion.

"We're going to do what's best for the Grand Dakota and right now what's to expand its meeting facilities and to add suites to our existing complex," Barker said. "Our concentration is just on what the Grand Dakota can do and how it can further help the community."