Hospitable Growth



    a 28th StreetHampton

    Inn that opened in March and a major transformation of Holland‘s old Holiday Inn into a Doubletree Hotel and ConferenceCenter expected to open in May, Hospitality Specialists Inc. President and CEO John Mann is bullish on West Michigan

    “Contrary to many areas of Michigan, the growth of Grand Rapids really has been quite remarkable, amid all the economic chaos around us,” said Mann, whose company’s operations center is located at

    1000 Three Mile Road NW


    Hospitality Specialists, which has interests in 24 hotels — 17 in Michigan — is headquartered in Jacksonville, Ill.

    “The economy here is so much more diversified,” he noted. “We believe in the Grand Rapids market. The metro area, with Muskegon and Holland, is still the strongest diversified economy in Michigan. Therefore, we have a lot of confidence in this MSA (Metropolitan Statistical Area).

    “We’ve found Michigan to be a good opportunity for us. We’re still building in Michigan now when many companies are not.”

    In fact, Hospitality Specialists is adding two new hotels to the pair it already owns in suburban Detroit. Most of its Michigan hotels are on the I-96 corridor.

    Mann, who is partner in the business with his brother, Jim Mann — both “recovering lawyers,” he noted — said he is delighted by the new Hampton Inn’s setting, which is accessible by a service road in the Costco-Target retail center south of 28th Street and also from 33rd Street. The 98-room hotel and its sister Hospitality Specialists property, SpringHill Suites (109 rooms), sit on a rise of land bordered by protected wetlands. With its trees, marshes and wildlife, Mann said it’s a “park-like setting” that’s unique among hotels with

    28th Street


    “It’s quiet,” he said.

    The Hampton Inn includes executive suites, work desks with ergonomic chairs, premium movie channels, indoor pool and whirlpool, 1,000 square feet of meeting space and a board room. Other Hampton amenities include complimentary hot breakfast, breakfasts-to-go, curved shower rods and complimentary high-speed Internet access. Robb Carter is the general manager.

    In Holland, Mann said his Holiday Inn franchise was expiring and the building had “passed its peak” since its 1987 opening. Mann said he now plans to invest $2.5 million to make the 198-room Doubletree into a magnet for the Holland area with up-to-date convention and banquet facilities.

    The renovations will begin outdoors with a new entrance, landscaping and signage. The lobby will be rebuilt to show off “a major piece” of water art. Guest rooms and bathrooms will be refurbished, and the remodeled restaurant will feature a new chef and menu.

    Doubletree will host meetings, weddings, reunions and small conferences, Mann said, with space to accommodate as many as 500 attendees.

    “It will be truly a new hotel, not a ribbon wrapped around a problem,” he noted. “Our goal is to reestablish it as the premium hotel in the Holland marketplace.”     

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