Downtown London - News

November 2018

  • Marriott’s Armouries offers a unique hotel experience

    November 23, 2018

    Marriott’s Armouries offers a unique hotel experience

     

    By Sean Meyer

     

    Dave Bartlam was happy living and working at a family-owned hotel in Grand Bend, but when the opportunity to not only come home to London, but take his career to a new level presented itself, he knew a change had to be made.

     

    January 2019 will mark two years since Dave took over as director of sales and marketing at one of the city’s most iconic spaces, Delta Hotels by Marriott London Armouries. 

     

    “It was a big learning curve. I loved my job in Grand Bend, there are great people there, but I always wanted to know the other side,” he said. “It was a big change to go from a family run resort to go to a downtown hotel, to a corporate Marriott property — a big change. I still consider myself a newbie if you will.”

     

    The building was constructed as an armoury in 1905 before being converted to a hotel some 35 years ago. Since that time, it has moved from the Wharton Hotel to the Sheraton Armouries, then the Delta London Armouries, and now the last few years as part of the Marriott family, now the largest hotelier in the world with more than 30 brands.

     

    Dave’s journey back to London first took him to the southern United States where he attended the University of Alabama in Huntsville on a tennis scholarship. He would eventually graduate with a business degree, but that helped drive him to Grand Bend and the hotel business, something he never imagined he would become involved in.

     

    One thing that has made the transition easier, and at times Dave admits to feeling overwhelmed by his new job, was the team he came into at the Armouries.

     

    Currently staffed at 132 employees, Dave credits their professionalism, and the Marriott’s training program, with helping him get up to speed. 

     

    Getting ahead of that steep learning curve was important, he adds, because the hotel has 220 guest rooms and suites he’s tasked with helping to keep full. Actually, the hotel has the ability to get up to 246 rooms as there remains 26 rooms that have been held completely out of service since significant renovation some 10 years ago.

     

    That said, the time is fast approaching where those rooms might just come into play.

     

    Dave’s logic for that need is seen in his praise of venues like Budweiser Gardens, not to mention its tenants the London Knights and London Lightning, along with festivals like Rock the Park and Bluesfest, and companies like Great West Life and 3M, for putting the city in a stronger position.

     

    “We do realize the demand, the occupancy numbers, are getting to the point where it is 100 percent on our radar to look at getting those rooms into service,” Dave said. “The economy is going in the right direction; everyone is seeing that. There are so many things you see now . . . benefiting all of us. When we’re all on the same engine, we’re all going to benefit.”

     

    While the economy is in a stronger place, and he is also excited about the city’s plans for the downtown, especially once Dundas Place is completed, Dave said the Marriott is also committed to ensuring the hotel is always looking fresh.

     

    That might be particularly important given the Armouries doesn’t exactly offer the typical overnight stay.

     

    “We aren’t a cookie-cutter hotel, we’re in an old armoury, we look like a castle, which is very unique,” he said. “But we’re also right in the heart of downtown and happy to be down here. I love hearing the comments of our guests who venture out and patronize the local business and the events that are happening here. We’re proud to be here.”

     

    For more, visit https://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/yxudl-delta-hotels-london-armouries.

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