Largest hotels in Fayetteville, Springdale suspend operations; Embassy Suites in Rogers remains open

by Paul Gatling ([email protected]) 7,397 views 

Two of Northwest Arkansas’ three largest hotels have suspended operations in reaction to the current COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.

The 204-room Graduate Fayetteville hotel in downtown Fayetteville suspended operations Friday (March 20).

“Given the advancement of the COVID-19 pandemic throughout the United States and recommendations from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), we have made the difficult decision to temporarily close all domestic Graduate Hotels effective March 20, 2020,” noted a statement on the hotel’s corporate website.

The suspension applies to all hotel properties in the boutique Graduate Hotels brand. Chicago-based Adventurous Journeys (AJ) Capital Partners is the owner. The company launched the Graduate Hotels brand in 2014, targeting university towns throughout the U.S. There are nearly two dozen now open, with several more in various stages of development.

AJ Capital paid $31 million for the 15-story building in Fayetteville in December 2018, then embarked on an extensive renovation. The hotel continued operating as the Chancellor Hotel while renovations took place, which included updates to all guestrooms, common areas, the lobby-level restaurant and bar and the hotel’s 12,200 square feet of flexible meeting and events space.  It opened as Graduate Fayetteville in August 2019.

There is no date given for when the hotel’s suspension of operations will end.

“Short answer: we don’t know,” the statement read. “We will continue to work closely with local government and health officials to monitor and assess this situation, and we look forward to serving all our Graduate communities in the near future.”

AJ Capital said it will waive cancellation fees at its Graduate Hotel properties through April 26, 2020.

In Springdale, the 206-room Holiday Inn Northwest Arkansas just off Interstate 49 has also suspended operations. According to a telephone recording at the hotel, the suspension is a result of the “health and financial crisis and its impact on our business.”

The hotel is accepting reservations for arrivals April 1 and beyond, but that is subject to change. Holiday Inn Northwest Arkansas is an Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG) property.

Northwest Arkansas’ largest hotel, the 400-room Embassy Suites Northwest Arkansas in Rogers, remained open as of Monday morning. JD Holdings, a New York investment firm, owns the property. The hotel is flanked by the 125,000-square-foot John Q. Hammons Center in the city’s Pinnacle Hills area, just off I-49. Combined, the 20-acre asset is Northwest Arkansas’ largest hospitality asset.

In Bentonville, the 133-room Hilton Garden Inn closed late last week, according to Kalene Griffith, president and CEO of the city’s tourism bureau, Visit Bentonville. The property is owned and managed by Beechwood Hospitality, a family-owned hotel management firm in Little Rock. Beechwood acquired the property in April 2016 for $11.8 million, part of a deal that acquired ownership of four hotels in the region for $48 million. Hilton Garden Inn completed a $3 million renovation in July 2017.

Beechwood also owns the 140-room DoubleTree Suites by Hilton in Bentonville. That property remained open Monday.

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