VERONA -- The 136-room Hyatt Place Hotel that opened here in May offers a sleek design, rooms with king or two queen beds, L-shaped sofas that convert to queen pull-out beds and an outdoor courtyard with a narrow, 20-foot-long fire pit surrounded by comfortable chairs.
The lobby features retro-style furniture and two nooks each with a television and books for semi-private relaxation. The complementary breakfast lets guests build their own breakfast bowls with a base of eggs and ingredients like sausage and Parmesan potatoes. Sandwiches, tacos and pizza can be ordered 24 hours a day.
But what stands out at the hotel, located in Liberty Business Park along Highway M at Highway 151, is its customer base. Up to 80 percent of weekday stays are expected to come from visitors to the nearby Epic Systems Corp. The startling statistic further emphasizes the economic potency the medical software company has on the Madison-area economy.
"We have other smaller businesses that we're working toward getting to stay with us but I think Epic is going to be the driving force," said Jay Moderson, the hotel's general manager. "It allows you to be a little more focused in on the needs of those guests."
The Hyatt Place is a franchise hotel owned by LodgeWorks, a Witchita, Kansas-based company that has developed more than 120 hotel properties around the country including the 151-room Hyatt Place, 333 W. Washington Ave., that opened in downtown Madison in 2010. The opening of the Verona hotel adds to the LodgeWorks portfolio and is another addition to the Madison-area's rapidly expanding hotel industry.
A $13 million Staybrdige Suites is scheduled to open next month in Fitchburg's Orchard Pointe development while a 90-room hotel has been proposed for Verona's west side and a 275-room, full-service hotel on the city's north side. A Holiday Inn & Express opened in 2008 and a 90-room Fairfield Inn & Suites in 2015. All rely or will rely heavily on visitors to Epic.
Dave Reinke, the developer of Liberty Business Park, has talked about a plan for a second hotel in his development and the construction of a banquet facility that could be connected to the Hyatt via skywalk.
The development includes salons, Fisher King Winery and two restaurants, The Verona Woods and Sugar River Pizza Co., and is located across the street from the Verona Technology Park, home to Wisconsin Brewing Co.
"He's continued to bring very smart options to the development as far as things that really make it a destination," Moderson said of Reinke.
Other amenities to the Hyatt Place include seven suites each with a large bathroom, king bed in a separate room, a living room and a kitchenette with a table and ample counter space. The hotel has a 24-hour gym, a cocktail lounge open until midnight, swimming pool and 1,531 square feet of meeting space. One room (which can also be divided) can hold about 60-70 people seated at tables. The hotel also has a public board room that can also be reserved.
Moderson, 37, an Appleton native, has been in the hotel industry since he was 18. His stints included three years at the Radisson Paper Valley Hotel in downtown Appleton, the Hilton Garden Inn in Oshkosh and five years as an assistant general manager at the Hyatt Place in downtown Madison.
This marks the first time Moderson has been with a suburban hotel, but he said that while weekday guests will primarily be influenced by Epic, the weekend business will fluctuate based on the events happening in the greater Madison area. They can include Badgers football games, WIAA state tournaments, World Dairy Expo and Ironman in Madison and regional events like festivals in New Glarus, Mount Horeb and Monroe. The hotel also offers easy access right off Highway 151.
"The (hotel) market is kind of split up into the downtown market, your east side market and west side market and now we're almost creating an extra market, the Verona market," Moderson said. "We're really not that far from downtown Madison."