AUBURN – The Auburn University Board of Trustees’ planning and facilities committee Thursday approved the final aspects of a $10.6 million renovation of guest rooms in The Hotel at Auburn University and Dixon Conference Center.
“We are very proud to be the front door of Auburn University, ” said Hans Van Der Reijden, hotel general manager. “This will be the first renovation of the rooms since the hotel opened in 1988, other than carpet. The improvements will add to the Auburn experience for our guests who see the hotel as their first point of contact with the university.”
At least half of the hotel’s 243 rooms will remain open during the project which will begin Dec. 18 and be completed in May. Phase I, approved by the Board Nov. 2, includes most of the renovation except for the top, sixth floor and is expected to cost $8.4 million. Phase II will be presented to the full Board in February. It adds the conversion of 18 rooms on the sixth floor into nine suites and is expected to cost $2.2 million.
A host of new amenities is planned for each room, including new carpet, paint and wall covering; new furniture and lighting; a state-of-the-art door lock system; plasma screen television; small refrigerator and microwave; and oversized desk space with multiple outlets and plug-ins for laptop computers, phone charging and I-Pod usage. New air conditioning units will be placed on the roof rather than in the rooms.
“The most significant part of the change is the bathrooms, which will be converted from a small space with a bathtub into a much larger space with a tiled, walk-in shower,” he said. “Each guest room will also have very nice black-and-white photographs of Samford Hall to reflect the rich history and culture of Auburn University.”
Most of the new amenities were selected from 4,000 online surveys completed by guests and from focus group interviews by the AU College of Business. Those surveyed consisted of current and potential students, parents, summer camp guests and sporting event attendees.
“They were extremely satisfied with the level of customer service and especially the Southern hospitality,” he said. “We received great suggestions on how we could make the ideal room.”
Ten pet-friendly rooms will be built to accommodate guests who bring animals to the AU College of Veterinary Medicine for care and treatment. These rooms will have hardwood floors and amenities just for pets, such as food and water bowls.
The Hotel at Auburn University and Dixon Conference Center opened its doors in 1988. In 2003, West Paces Hotel Group became the operator for Auburn University. A renovation of the lobby, the restaurant and the conference center took place between 2003 and 2004.