AUBURN – Its rooms are nicer than many homes.

Open kitchens with granite countertops and stainless steel appliances. Flat-screen TVs in the bedrooms and living area. Dark woods, plush fabrics, big beds.

And then there are the new Residence Inn’s common areas, with a heated indoor swimming pool and hot tub. Courtyard fire pit. Small basketball court.

“From the moment you walk in, we want this to be your home away from home,” said General Manager Brooks Johnson.

The kind of “home away from home” that comes with complimentary grocery delivery service.

After more than a year of planning, the four-story, 100-room Auburn Residence Inn by Marriott will welcome guests Friday with a soft opening. It’s scheduled to open for all reservations April 17, though hotel officials hope to move that up to April 11.

Owned by local developer George Schott and Portsmouth-based developers Ocean Properties, the all-suite hotel caters to business travelers and others who need a hotel for days, weeks or months. Residence Inn stays average about five nights, though guests can book for shorter or longer periods.

Rooms come in studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom floor plans, all with full kitchens and bathrooms, dining tables, flat-screen TVs and sleeper sofas. Like the hotel’s common areas, rooms are decorated with sleek, modern furniture, dark wood and cream, red and blue fabrics.

Like traditional hotels, the Residence Inn has a pool, fitness room, small meeting room and high speed Internet access.

Unlike traditional hotels, it does not have an on-site restaurant and does not offer room service. Instead, all rooms have kitchens stocked with dishes and cookware. It also offers complimentary grocery delivery service, free breakfast in the common lounge and social events with food Monday through Thursday. Located at the intersection of Mount Auburn Avenue and Turner Street, the hotel is also within walking distance of several restaurants.

Johnson estimated the hotel has so far cost $10 million to $15 million to build. Room rates, based on demand and length of stay, will run from $99 a night to over $200 a night.

Hotel officials expect the Residence Inn will be popular with people connected to Lewiston’s two hospitals and Bates College, local ski resorts and businesses. It has already gotten reservation inquires from local banks looking for a place for their corporate VIPs to stay and from a couple planning a wedding at Lost Valley in Auburn.

Several people wandered in during its six months of construction to ask when the hotel was going to open.

“Everybody in the community has just welcomed us with open arms,” Johnson said.

That’s including prospective employees. Nearly 1,000 people applied for 21 housekeeping, front desk and other staff positions.

This is the second Residence Inn by Marriott in Maine. The first is in Scarborough. A third is planned for Portland, Johnson said.

The hotel plans an open house in May.


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