Two hotels in one structure rise beside the Mississippi River to welcome wide array of guests and launch Quad Cities mixed-use development
For 15 years, the Mississippi River “bent” around a vast stretch of barren land in East Moline, Illinois. Gone were the massive farm equipment factories that manufacturers such as International Harvester Co. operated for nearly 80 years.
Late last year, the site took a major step toward a new image with the arrival of the Hyatt Place/Hyatt House East Moline/Quad Cities. The 150,000-square-foot facility incorporates two hotels and launches The Bend, a mixed-use development poised to promote tourism and have a significant economic impact on the Quad Cities region of Illinois and Iowa. At nine stories, the hotels not only welcome international travelers and locals alike, but also give a nod to the site’s agricultural/industrial roots and celebrate the site—each of the 233 guest rooms has views to the Mississippi.
The hotels’ design, considerate of the forthcoming development and many local companies, incorporates enhanced food and beverage options highlighted by The River Room. This ninth-floor bar/lounge with panoramic river views draws both guests and community members.
Hyatt Place/Hyatt House East Moline/Quad Cities was designed by Legat Architects and Sheedy/DeLaRosa Interiors and built by Russell.
Executives, Weekend Warriors, and Everyone Between
The Hyatt Place/Hyatt House East Moline/Quad Cities welcomes guests ranging from business people who stay for a week or a month to tourists who drop in for a weekend of sightseeing.
Many evenings, buses drop off 80 to 100 people coming back from training sessions at nearby manufacturing facilities. The hotel accommodates these groups with large blocks of guest rooms, commons areas, and expanded lobby and breakfast areas.
April Maifield, project manager with Legat Architects, said, “The design proportions the circulation for these larger groups, while making sure large spaces don’t look empty when they leave. For instance, when buses return in the morning to pick up trainees, hotel operators can shut a decorative barn door to close off the breakfast area from the lobby.”
Where Guests and Community Members Converge
As people drive or float past the hotels, they’re likely to notice the glass-enclosed space extending from the western edge of the topmost floor. The River Room capitalizes on the hotels’ riverside location: full-height glazing on the north, west, and south walls offers 180-degree views of the river and its many happenings, ranging from water sports to the activities of the bald eagles that are native to the region.
One does not have to be a guest to enjoy The River Room—local patrons access it from a separate elevator on the ground level. The space, which accommodates up to 80 people, serves as a casual destination for small groups, but can also be rented for family or organizational events.
Maifield said, “We made the space tall and open to take advantage of the ‘free artwork’ of the river, which bends around the site and gives guests the impression that they’re surrounded by a much larger body of water.”
The space frequently shows up on guests’ social media feeds and on the first day of spring, it became the setting of the hotels’ daily “Sunset Toast.” The bar even offers regionally-inspired cocktails such as the Mississippi Sour and the Harvest Margarita, as well as locally-brewed beers.
According to John Schultzel, senior vice president of hotel operator The Olympia Companies, The River Room played a major role in booking many of the non-corporate (e.g., wedding, sports team) blocks this spring and summer.
“Because the space is clearly defined in the hotel with a separate entry and great design, the local community loves it!” said Schultzel. “More than half our business comes from guests outside the hotel.”
The City of East Moline, home of the John Deere Harvester Works factory, has a rich farming and manufacturing heritage. Designers of the Hyatt Place/Hyatt House East Moline/Quad Cities didn’t want to ignore that connection. They set their sights on the hotels’ public spaces, which make subtle references to the region.
Interior designer Natalie Sheedy said, “We used colors, textures, and geometries to create common spaces that pay tribute to the building’s surroundings, while respecting the Hyatt Place and Hyatt House brands.”
Within the common seating areas, earth and jewel tones reinforce the facility’s heartland USA location and the brand’s sophisticated image. Meandering lines on walls and ceilings suggest crop lines formed by farming combines. Contrasting materials of wood and metal on the furniture and front bar create both an industrial and agricultural feel.
Something New on the Trail
Not long ago, those on the East Moline section of the 60-mile Great River Trail likely kept their eyes on the Mississippi River to the west.
Today, however, cyclists and joggers have something to see on the trail’s other side: Hotel guests enjoy drinks in a ground-level outdoor gathering area. 120 feet above that, guests and community members relax and take in the scenery in The River Room. And in the rooms between those spaces, visitors prepare to spend their time and money in the Quad Cities.
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