Lancaster, PA, is a modern city brimming with historical charm, situated in a county that draws visitors with its picturesque setting, classic comfort foods and work from artisans and craftsmen. Lancaster Marriott at Penn Square marries the region’s cultural heritage with modern appeal with its recently completed $39.4-million renovation.
The hotel offers 416 guestrooms with sleek designs and advanced amenities, alongside three dining options headlined by Chef Ryan McQuillan and a signature Marriott M Club Lounge. The 12-story East Tower has officially been completed—redefining the city’s skyline—adding with it 110 rooms. This completion marks the beginning of a series of beautifications to Lancaster Marriott’s 18-story West Tower.
The force behind the hotel’s redesign was Mark Fitzgerald, president/COO, High Real Estate Group, while the new F&B outlets were done by Anthony Seitz, VP, development, High Associates Ltd.
“Sitting within the picturesque Historic District of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Lancaster Marriott at Penn Square is located a short walk away from many of Lancaster City’s most sought-after historic sites, top-rated restaurants and art-driven streets,” Fitzgerald noted. “Because of its central location and growing demand for bigger groups, the East Tower was conceptualized. The design is revealed through new modern guestrooms, dining concepts and public spaces.”
Fitzgerald noted that during the conceptualizing phase, it was important that the hotel honor its rich heritage by recognizing that new buildings shouldn’t try to look like the authentic older buildings. “The scale and proportion of old and new can certainly resemble each other, but the historic buildings should be obvious,” he said. “This is the approach that we have taken. We created a scale of the hotel along King Street using traditional brick and stone and designed the windows similar to the forms of the previous buildings. The height of this base is also similar to the scale of the historic buildings that once existed along King Street. By doing this, it suggests a continuation of what once existed without trying to duplicate the original.”
Joshua Nowak, the hotel’s director of sales & marketing, added that the ambiance of the hotel is “an upscale hotel offering amenities discerning guests expect—featuring elegant interiors, impeccable service and dining, as well as profound architecture and history, including a preserved section of the Underground Railroad. Brand new, upscale guestrooms offer sweeping city views.”
Pointing to the guestroom design, Fitzgerald said, “Each of the new 100 guestrooms and 10 City Suites in the East Tower feature advanced amenity offerings, sweeping views of Lancaster City from floor-to-ceiling glass windows and sleek design features for ultimate guest relaxation and convenience. Amenities include luxury vinyl tile, stand up showers, backlit mirrors in the bathroom, 55-in. TVs and a ‘relaxation corner’ complete with a small sofa couch and table. Likewise, all double rooms feature two queen-sized beds for maximum comfort.”
The new F&B outlets include The Exchange, the city’s highest rooftop bar. The 3,500-sq.-ft. space offers intimate seating, a patio and a floating bar. Windows open into the patio, allowing views both indoor and out, while a slanted roof and outdoor firepits help provide warmth in colder months.
For its part, new restaurant Plough pays homage to Lancaster’s rich heritage while aiming to appeal to the modern traveler. Featuring an open kitchen and a bar in the center of the room, the space has both indoor and outdoor dining areas, including a private dining room with an al fresco patio. Design elements include plush booth seating and long farm tables.
Nowak stressed the importance of the outlets. “In addition to being one of the region’s premier convention and special event destinations, the Lancaster Marriott is among a culinary mecca for visitors and locals,” he said. “The Exchange is a high-energy drinkery amid the Lancaster sky, offering a vibrant social experience to discover a whole new way of looking at the historic city. The refined rooftop features an extensive beverage-driven menu spotlighting twists on the classics and creative cocktails, alongside thoughtful wine and beer selections showcasing seasonal and local flavors. With inventive plates meant for easy conversation and a lively music selection, The Exchange is the spot where friends gather.”
With regard to Plough, he said, “Creatively prepared in an open kitchen seen throughout the dining room, Chef McQuillan’s smart and focused dishes incorporate quality, local ingredients sourced from the region’s lush farmlands, including the oldest working farmers market in the United States. A sleek bar floating in the center of the room invites guests to dine and socialize while enjoying handcrafted cocktails and spirits, wine by the glass selected from an extensive wine wall, or pints focused on crowd pleasers and those with local flair.”