In early September, Grice Connect, a locally owned and operated, hyper-local news service, began getting calls and emails from Statesboro Marriott Springhill Suites guests who were in a panic because their reservations had been abruptly cancelled.
The hotel offered them rooms at a Fairfield Inn another Marriott franchise hotel in Savannah that has the same owners. This hotel is 45 minutes from Statesboro.
Marriott Springhill suites, with 113 rooms is one of the largest hotels in Statesboro.
This hotel also closed for an extended period of time during the COVID shut downs in 2020.
Opening date continues to move frustrating guest
Initially the hotel posted on their website that the hotel would be closed through October 16, 2021.
Then they updated the website changing the opening date to November 16, 2021.
Now the opening date on the website is January 1, 2022.
Each time they published an opening date, they opened their reservations systems allowing guest to make reservations for those dates. This has been done at least three times.
Guest frustrations are very high with the hotel and hotel management. The sudden, changes and cancellations with little explanation has become a concern for once loyal guest of the hotel.
October 16, 2021 opening posted on hotel website
November 16, 2021 opening posted on hotel website
January 1, 2022 opening now posted on company website
No permits issued for construction
Initially guest were told the abrupt closure was temporary due to staffing issues. Then they were told it was due to mechanical issues.
Grice Connect reached out to the City of Statesboro regarding the hotel being closed.
Justin Williams, Senior Planner for the city confirmed that the city has not been notified of the closure nor have they issued permits for any work, especially “extensive work” to be done at the hotel.
We received a copy of an email sent to a Springhill guest, after we had contacted the city confirming no work permits were issued.
The email sent from Stephanie Beaupre, Guest Service Manager at Springhill and continued to give the reason of closing as “mechanical failure resulting in considerable water damage, causing the need to unexpectedly close the hotel for remediation work.”
There is no note or signage on the hotel and all of the linens are bagged up in the lobby of the hotel.
We reached out to Ms. Beaupre and she referred us to the human resources director at their corporates office.
After multiple attempts to reach the HR director we have not received a response from her or anyone from the hotel.
Owned by California headquartered equity company
The Marriott Springhill Suites franchise hotel in Statesboro is owned by ZMC Hotels a Hotel Management Company owned by California based Hall Equities Group. Hall Equities Group is a diversified private real estate investment and development company, founded in 1962, with a portfolio of 127 assets across nineteen states.
According to their website, Hall Equities Group is committed to growing ZMC Hotels into a significant national hotel management company. Third party management business, new single-asset and portfolio acquisitions, and new ground-up hotel development projects are being actively pursued. Presently ZMC Hotels operates 40 hotels across the county and has eight new hotel development projects in its development pipeline scheduled for completion in the near term.
Local Investors interested in buying hotel
Springhill was built in 2008 by a group of local investors. They sold the hotel and conference center to Ascent Hospitality based out of Buford, Georgia.
Ascent Hospitality completed a $1 million renovation of the hotel in 2017 and then sold the hotel to ZMC Hotels. ZMC then sold the conference center to Colony Bank which completed a massive renovation of the center and now operates a branch in that location.
Grice Connect reached out to a local hotel management and investment group regarding the hotel closure. They expressed a strong interest in acquiring the hotel and seeing it brought back under local ownership and operation. They confirmed that they had reached out to hotel owners and shared their interest in purchasing the hotel. ZMC management told them the hotel is not currently for sale.
Community leaders understand what an important and critical asset this hotel is for the community. Not only in servicing guest, but the loss of tax revenue is significant. The longer is sits unoccupied, the more challenging it will be to reopen and operate the hotel successfully. Hotels are built to be open and used daily. When this does not happen, maintenance issues begin to multiply.
Springhill is one of the premier hotels in Statesboro and certainly it is important to get it back open and operating.
We reached out to Visit Statesboro, the local organizations that uses sales tax revenue from hotel stays to help market Statesboro for overnight travel. They were also told that the hotel was closed for mechanical issues.
Visit Statesboro has offered to assist guest in any way possible in finding accomodations in Statesboro. Their number is 912-259-9555.