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A Retro, Nature-Inspired Design

The Courtyard by Marriott in Greenville, SC, isn’t your typical hotel. Instructions from ownership were simple: a modern, open-floor layout to let guests use the space freely. Taking into consideration the location, Jacki Arena Interiors created a nature-inspired, retro space that does just that.

“We pulled the outside in by drawing inspiration from the city’s natural elements, while amping up the color palette,” said Jacki Arena. “Between Greenville’s trees, the river, and the hotel’s courtyard—which turns into an ice rink during the winter—there was plenty to work with. To tie in the retro theme, mid-century modern lines were included through furniture selection, along with some traditional curves and patterns.”

It wasn’t always easy. The previous layout of the space had included a public area divided by a large TV wall, creating three separate entities: the lobby entry, an F&B area and a great room.

“To open up the area, we reconfigured the oval-shaped bar and backed it out of the center of the room, and removed the massive wall divider,” Arena said. “The space now flows as one allowing the guest to do whatever they want, wherever they want. This is perfect for today’s travelers, who don’t want to be ‘boxed in.’”

Design elements include a bar with white marble, wood tones, bright cobalt subway tiles, dark bronze and black metal light fixtures, and other accents.

Reflecting on making a property its own while staying true to the brand’s ethos, Arena said, “We always follow each brand’s specific standards that denote the parameters of the design for each area. In the case of Greenville Courtyard, we followed the standards that include the components of the bar that we completely redesigned as well as the signature media pods and check-in pedestals that we refreshed with new finishes, fabrics and lighting. Courtyard by Marriott has its own public area design package they offer to owners; however, our specialty is designing for the human experience, allowing the location to be the basis of every story we tell which requires customization.”

“We created a lot of movement throughout the space by the use of texture, scale and balance while creating harmony through the nature-inspired color palette,” she added. “I have two favorite features of this space: one is the bar as it anchors the space nicely while also providing some drama through the contrast of materials and pop of color. My other favorite feature is the operable, yet decorative chain-link curtain around the great room that has a subtle gradation of color, allowing the option of visually closing off the space for private events if needed.”