Chandler’s historic San Marcos Resort and Conference Center is getting a multimillion dollar face lift this year and more improvements are in the works.
Mark and Darlene Heavlin, property managers for the resort and two of the partners who bought the historic landmark in November, said the group of owners have committed to reinvesting in the hotel.
"Before the end of this year, we’ll put $3.2 million into the hotel," Frank Heavlin said. "Half a million of that is going into the golf course."
The 295-room resort, which boasts Arizona’s first golf course, will be getting a new roof, fresh exterior paint, a renovated lobby, new landscaping, updated technology and equipment, new furniture and improvements to its golf course to reinvigorate business.
The new roof is expected to cost $250,000, Frank Heavlin said.
"The roof that’s been on the original building since 1912 has had five roofs put on it over the years," he said. "We’re taking out all of those roofs and are putting on a whole new roof."
The Heavlins said the lobby will see everything from a fresh blue and gold color scheme and new leather furnishings including marble-top tables to rich, blood-wood flooring and new carpet. New draperies will adorn the windows and the lowered ceiling above the front desk will be raised to it’s original 10-foot height. The front desk will be replaced with a solid oak desk, complete with a granitemarble top and granite inlay on the face. The opening of the original fireplace will also be expanded to five feet for a more dramatic effect, said the couple, who expect to pay $50,000 for the fireplace renovation alone.
"A customer expects a certain experience and that’s what we’re bringing to fruition," Frank Heavlin said. "The lobby will definitely be a ‘Wow’ factor. We’re going to do more of the ‘30s and ‘40s with the wood and dark, rich colors. We want them to feel that they have walked into a comfortable, casual and sophisticated lobby that truly has some historic significance to it."
The exterior breezeway of the hotel is also getting a new coat of paint and nonskid tile.
"By the time you walk through the lobby and through the breezeway, you’ll feel like you’re definitely in an upgraded resort," Frank Heavlin said. "I think our customers who have been loyal over the years will see a dramatic change that’s not offensive."
The golf course has been overseeded to the tune of $90,000, palm trees have been trimmed up to clear the views of the fairways, and plans for a new clubhouse are also in the works to help lure golfers back to the resort, said the Heavlins.
"We’ve doubled the staff," Frank Heavlin said. "We’ve hired a new food and beverage manager for the golf course. We’re in the process of hiring a new pro."
Darlene Heavlin said the guest rooms and public spaces are getting top priority.
"What’s really exciting is the rooms were all carpet and now they’ve got tile in them," she said. "The bathrooms were our No. 1 issue."
Darlene Heavlin said the rooms will also be receiving new beds, bedspreads, curtains and carpets sometime after November. She said the resort plans to offer some incentives to get people to visit the resort in the summer months such as an unlimited golf promotion packages. The Heavlins are also working on a master plan for the resort to lay out a timetable for other improvements to come.
Garrett Newland, economic development director for Chandler, said the improvements will instill a greater sense of pride in the entire downtown.
"The hotel took a few steps backward in the last few years so this infusion of capital will really help," he said. "It will really make it a place we can all be proud of again to have in the downtown."
While the resort is getting a new look, Darlene Heavlin said some things won’t change such as the placement of the original grandfather clock on the stairway or the painting of Dr. A.J. Chandler, who built the hotel, that hangs nearby.