The Chancellor Hotel officially opened its doors Friday morning following a grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony held in the lobby of the newly renovated facility in downtown Fayetteville.
The hotel, formerly known as the Cosmopolitan Hotel, at 70 N. East Ave., underwent a complete, top-to-bottom redesign and renovation that included replacement and updating of mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems as well as all furniture, fixtures and equipment.
The hotel now features a completely updated facade, dramatic entryway with landscaping, a contemporary lobby area and a brand new restaurant and bar.
The name is a nod to the University of Arkansas campus to the west of downtown Fayetteville where the hotel sits near the city’s historic square.
“Being the center of town, everything in Fayetteville can be tied back to the square,” said hotel co-owner Sam Alley. “With this in mind, we knew the hotel couldn’t be anything it had been before. It had to be reimagined to truly fit the spirit of its environment.”
On hand Friday morning to help Alley and the hotel’s other co-owner, Ike Thrash, cut the grand opening ribbon were University of Arkansas Chancellor G. David Gearhart, Panama President and UA alum Ricardo Martinelli, Fayetteville Mayor Lioneld Jordan and Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe.
Looking around at the hotel, Beebe said he believes it will help enhance the quality of life, the reputation and the front door of Fayetteville.
“It will be the place where so many people come and whose first impression of this city will be positive,” said Beebe. “It puts the best foot of this city, this region and our state forward.”
Chancellor Gearhart agreed.
“Unquestionably, a hotel of this size and quality is going to enhance everything that we do at the university and certainly our entire city,” said Gearhart, who noted the hotel’s close proximity to the UA’s Global Campus facility which is connected to the south end of the building.
Gearhart took a moment to praise Governor Beebe for his continued support of the university and the region, before lightening the mood.
“As good a governor as you are, you do not have a hotel named after you,” joked Gearhart.
Continuing to joke, Gearhart read from the opening ceremony invitation which included a description of the hotel. “It says, and I quote, ‘Where modern, upscale design meets casual comfort and sophistication.’ I’d say that describes me perfectly.”
Alley said the hotel, which features 207 rooms and 15 luxury suites, is fully booked for this weekend’s Arkansas versus Alabama football game and for the Bikes, Blues & BBQ rally later this month, and that rooms are nearly full for homecoming weekend in November.
History of The Chancellor Hotel
1978: Construction begins on the hotel.
1981: Hotel opens under the Hilton brand.
1992: Fayetteville Hotel Ventures buys the property.
2001: The name changes from Hilton to Radisson.
2006: The hotel is purchased by Cosmopolitan Venture partners John Nock and Richard Alexander, who borrowed money for the acquisition.
2008: ANB Ventures acquires the loan from the FDIC following the failure of ANB Financial.
2010: The hotel falls into receivership as FDIC forecloses on the property. ANB Ventures repurchases it at auction.
2011: The hotel is purchased by Southwind Hospitality Holdings, a partnership between Ike Thrash (Thrash Development of Hattiesburg, Miss.) and Sam Alley (VCC Construction of Little Rock, Ark.)
2012: Thrash and Alley re-open the building as The Chancellor Hotel on Sept. 14, 2012.