Following more than a decade of vacancy, the Marriott Syracuse Downtown in Syracuse, N.Y., officially reopened its doors on Nov. 1. After two years of construction and more than $78 million in renovations, the 261-room property has been restored to its previous splendor, which was an absolute must for the hotel’s developer and owner—and Syracuse-native—Ed Riley. Riley has ensured that the Marriott Syracuse Downtown maintained and spotlighted the historical details that connect guests into the city’s history.
Built in 1924 as the Hotel Syracuse, the Marriott Syracuse Downtown has almost a century of history within its walls. When possible, original fixtures and furnishings were refurbished, such as the building’s original chandeliers and Terrazzo floors. What couldn’t be restored was painstakingly recreated using the hotel’s original plans and architectural drawings, as well as historical photographs, as points of reference. Also, whenever possible, Riley relied on local businesses, such as furniture-makers Harden and Stickley, to help complete the project. “It think it’s very important for people to understand that as a city, Syracuse was very prosperous for a very long time. And, candidly, it can come back and be very prosperous again,” Riley says. “To have the Marriott Syracuse Downtown back in a way that tells its history, it shows everyone the quality of what Syracuse has to offer.”
Built to Spec
The hotel’s check-in desk is a replica of the one that was in the hotel when it opened. “We actually had the drawings for the original desk, but we had to change it a little simply because the original version had two teller cages. Those just aren’t necessary anymore,” Riley says.
Work of Art
Painted by local artist Carl Roters, the 40-foot mural above the check-in desk shows scenes from Syracuse’s history. While the mural was painted in the late 1940s, it was only recently uncovered—it had been hidden under mirrors for almost 40 years.
The cabinet in the lobby is a custom design from local furniture-maker Stickley so that Riley could display Syracuse artifacts. “We rotate the displays in and out so we can tell the story of not just the hotel, but also the community.”