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Second hotel set to open in September; Fairfield Inn & Suites will be on airport property

By Dan Miller

danmiller@pressandjournal.com

717-944-4628
Posted 7/11/18

The new Fairfield Inn & Suites Hotel on Harrisburg International Airport is to open around the second week of September.

Mark Anthony Burnett II, general manager of the hotel, provided a tour …

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Second hotel set to open in September; Fairfield Inn & Suites will be on airport property

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The new Fairfield Inn & Suites Hotel on Harrisburg International Airport is to open around the second week of September.

Mark Anthony Burnett II, general manager of the hotel, provided a tour of the new 123-room four-story hotel on Friday morning.

Burnett pointed out numerous features of the hotel that are nearing completion, including a fitness center and evening bar on the first floor, and a large outdoor courtyard complete with a fire pit.

As Burnett was leading the tour, boxes and crates full of furniture, beds, desks, shelving units and other amenities that are going into the rooms continued to arrive and were lining the hallways.

The rooms on the fourth floor are being outfitted first, and then “we are working our way down” to the rooms on the lower floors, ending with the 12 rooms on the first floor, Burnett said.

The hotel is next to the airport parking garage. Plans for a “skybridge” that would physically connect the hotel to the garage have been put on the shelf for the time being, Burnett said.

A walkway covering the short distance from the hotel to the parking garage is being improved and upgraded as part of the project, said Plato Ghinos, president of State College-based hotel developers Shaner Hotels.

Guests upon entering the parking garage can take the elevator to the second floor, which gets them to a “people mover” walkway leading into the airport terminal.

Hotel guests will be able to park in the airport garage at a reduced rate, Burnett said. The hotel will also provide a shuttle service by appointment for guests who want to be dropped off right at the terminal door.

Hotel guests will be able to check the status of their flight in or out of HIA without even leaving the hotel lobby. The same digital display that passengers see in the terminal providing up-to-the-minute status updates will be available for viewing in the first floor lobby, Burnett noted.

The 123 rooms include 74 rooms with king-size beds, and 49 rooms each with two queen-size beds.

Among both the king and queen rooms will be a number of suites that are larger than the standard rooms, with added amenities such as a pull-out sofa bed and lounge chair. The hotel will also have seven rooms that are designed especially for guests with wheelchairs.

The hotel will have ice machines on each floor, but instead of vending machines guests can go to a “24/7 market” on the first floor for salads, pre-made sandwiches, and a variety of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.

The hotel will not have a swimming pool.

“With the location being at an airport it was more important in our mind to focus on the travelers who are looking for the extra space we put in” for features like the evening bar with light fare menu, and the outdoor courtyard. The outdoor courtyard is a feature somewhat unique among the Fairfield Inn & Suites brand, Burnett added.

The hotel will offer a complimentary breakfast featuring a menu updated on a regular basis, and a business center on the first floor with two rooms including a combined 1,700 square feet of meeting space.

The hotel will be reaching out to local breweries to feature local beers on tap at the evening bar, Burnett said. Also, a large digital display sign outside the hotel will provide advertising space for area businesses looking to promote themselves to hotel guests.

The ongoing hotel construction is providing about 65 jobs on-site each day, Burnett said. In addition, Shaner Corp. held a job fair on Monday at Penn State Harrisburg toward filling about 50 positions to be staffed once the hotel is open.

These include front desk workers, guest room attendants, housekeeping workers and housekeeping supervisors, bartenders and servers, several salaried manager positions, and engineers.

Burnett said Shaner expects occupancy rates of 65 to 70 percent in the “ramping up” period during the first six months to a year after the hotel opens. After the first full year, occupancy rates are expected to be in the 80 to 90 percent range.

Shaner Corp. has developed three other hotels now open in the midstate: Courtyard Hershey on Chocolate Avenue in Hershey, Courtyard Harrisburg West/Mechanicsburg, and Courtyard Shippensburg.

Shaner also has plans for another new hotel in the Mechanicsburg area at Route 114 and Interstate 81; and another new hotel in the Hershey area at a location not yet being disclosed.

The Fairfield Inn & Suites will be the second new hotel opening in 2018 in Lower Swatara Township.

On June 5, the 87-room Comfort Inn and Suites Harrisburg Airport-Hershey South opened along Route 230 at the Airport Connector. The hotel is part of the Linden Centre shopping complex.