The New Hyatt Regency is pictured in its last stages of construction in downtown Salt Lake City on Aug. 5. It opens in October. (Ben B. Braun, Deseret News)
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SALT LAKE CITY — The new 700-room Hyatt Regency in downtown Salt Lake City is all but ready for its grand opening in October, which will officially mark the end of a building nearly two decades in the making.
Planning for the building, which is attached to the Salt Palace Convention Center, began all the way back in 2005. The idea went through all sorts of adjustments over the years, leading up to construction of the $377 million project that began in early 2020. Hyatt is currently going through the process of hiring staff members, and reservations are open for hotel stays Oct. 17 and later.
“This is a very, very exciting time in Salt Lake’s history and I think I can speak for everyone that we didn’t know this day would come,” Kaitlin Eskelson, president and CEO of Visit Salt Lake, a private, nonprofit organization that promotes Salt Lake County tourism, said during an online preview event Thursday.
The main point of Thursday’s event was to showcase what the hotel — the first Hyatt Regency in Utah — will offer guests, while teams put the finishing touches on the building. Eskelson believes the hotel will help draw “more, bigger and higher quality” conventions to Salt Lake City; the county is already on track for its “biggest booking year ever” with 830,000 room nights tied to Visit Salt Lake promotions.
“I have to say the Hyatt has played a huge role in attracting these groups,” she said, later adding that the new hotel played a vital role in the city winning the massive biannual Outdoor Retailer convention back from Denver. “This hotel is nothing short of a game changer. It has transitioned our conversations (and) it has opened up the doors to new conventions that did not view Salt Lake as a viable option.”
The hotel will not only add 700 rooms and 33 suites in the city but will include 60,000 square feet of meeting space in the form of 31 meeting and breakout rooms on five floors, including a massive 23,000-square foot ballroom, said Jarrod Finley, the director of sales and marketing of Hyatt Regency SLC. These venues can accommodate up to 2,000 attendees.
While massive conventions will be the main draw, the hotel’s top executives say amenities will be open for all kinds of patrons, including for holidays or cultural events. The terrace is also a possible venue for celebrations like weddings, as well as a place to host outdoor movie screenings or exercise events throughout the year.
Pina Purpero, the hotel’s general manager, adds there is a rooftop terrace on the sixth floor, complete with a pool. In addition, the new Hyatt Regency features a broadcast lounge — a space for multimedia events similar to how TED Talks are presented — two restaurants, an upscale cocktail lounge and a 24-hour grab-and-go market.
“This has really been a labor of love for the city,” she said. “The hotel will blend Salt Lake City’s eclectic style with modern design, tech conveniences and dynamic spaces.”
This hotel … has opened up the doors to new conventions that did not see Salt Lake as a viable option.
-Kaitlin Eskelson, president and CEO of Visit Salt Lake
The interior will feel very local, Finley said. The lobby features earth tone colors, “snow-inspired” chandeliers and hexagon-shaped veneers in the pattern of a honeycomb, a nod to Utah’s Beehive State nickname. Life-size statues of native Utah animals like deer, rabbits and foxes “decked out” with cable-knit sweaters will also be included in the artwork.
“It’ll be a pretty cool and unique feature that will absolutely be (an) Instagram moment for our guests,” he said.
The hotel’s two restaurants, the Salt Republic and Mar | Mountain, will be located on the first and sixth floors, respectively. The cocktail lounge, Contribution, will also be located on the first floor, offering, among other things, a twist on funeral potatoes by using seasonal mushrooms and black truffle to “elevate” the classic Utah dish, said Ryan Olivas, executive chef at the Salt Republic and Contribution.
The Salt Republic, on the other hand, will feature a “seasonally and constantly evolving breakfast buffet, as well as other twists on classic dishes.
Then, there’s Mar | Muntanya, which offers rooftop dining on the sixth floor. Tyson Peterson, the restaurant’s executive chef, explained the restaurant is inspired by the cuisine and culture of northern Spain, a region that he said has “surprising” similarities to Utah.
Peterson, a Utah native, says that he views the restaurant as another piece in a growing food scene in the city.
“I think there are plenty of excellent restaurants in town. Yes, we will have things that are different — one being the space itself — but there is a culinary renaissance, if you will, (and) the city is just popping right now, I said “There’s a lot of really cool restaurants, so … I want to be a part of that growth in the city.”
As the opening date nears, Hyatt says it is rounding out its staff. The company held one of two walk-in hiring events on Wednesday, where anyone seeking a job was guaranteed an interview. A similar event is scheduled next week, as the hotel looks to hire greeters, servers, baristas, bartenders, cooks, housekeeping specialists, engineers and administrative assistants.
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