The right one at the right time can turn a dim day bright.
Until this week, a stopped-at-the-top Ferris wheel ride at Modern Woodmen Park and a summer sunset off the lookout deck at Rock Island’s Sunset Marina provided my two favorite local views.
My new No. 1, however, is any room or the River Room — ninth floor bar — at the Hyatt House/Hyatt Place Hotel, part of The Bend of the Mighty Mississippi project along East Moline’s riverfront.
The Mississippi River and all it offers is in splendor from any room in the hotel.
After five years of planning and two years of day-to-day, bring-it-to-life construction, the Hyatt opens its doors today, Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018, at 3 p.m. There is a ribbon-cutting grand opening 3-6 p.m. Friday — but it will feature too many people taking too much credit for a project only a handful of people brought to life.
The nine-story 233-room facility built on the site that once housed farm-equipment giant International Harvester comes with all the bells and whistles of a 2018 hotel.
It features large and modern rooms, both for overnight and extended stays. The extended-stay rooms are bigger and far more luxurious than the first apartment I shared with two other roommates.
View aside, there is a sentimental touch to the hotel coming to life for me. My mother gave 35 years to International Harvester, each day spent at the site that now features the Hyatt House/Hyatt Place.
After decades of darkness, having something new and exciting like The Bend project producing its first entity would have brought her great joy. Having a once-drab and dark section of East Moline return to life is cause for celebration.
Mike VanDeHeede, managing general partner for Great River Development, the site’s developer, paid special attention when bringing the project to “light.”
The Bend signage and the hotel feature some eye-catching lighting that greets passersby and is a far cry from days past.
The hotel has lighting capability to highlight colors of United Township High School, Rock Island High School, Alleman High School, Western Illinois University, Augustana College and University of Illinois. The lighting added to the electric-blue waterfall-featured The Bend signage makes everyone take notice. “Sorry, we couldn’t find maroon,” Mike VanDeHeede said. “We even have black and gold for Iowa, but no maroon. The lighting of the hotel, among many things, is a favorite of mine.”
The facility, built almost entirely by union labor, is ready for guests.
“I do not have all the numbers in front me, but we will have guests, and we will be 100 percent operational,” hotel general manager Ray Stoddard said.
“We are excited,” he said. “We have a great staff. We have a great facility. And we are ready to push forward.”
In addition to the view and a light-up-the-night look, the 9 Dots bar and restaurant on the hotel’s first floor is a winner. I had breakfast, a spinach and cheese omelette, served in the morning dining area while the staff was working guest prep.
The service and the food were off the charts.
Jim VanDeHeede, on-site project manager, walked me through where the hotel events center will land, complete with already-built bandshell for concerts and/or weddings.
The Q-C Mart convenience outlet is under construction. The apartment complex west of the hotel is ready to break ground. And developer Larry Anderson’s strip mall east of the hotel is taking serious shape.
Hats off to all involved.
River Drive in East Moline is about to go huge in a hurry.