BY TOM BUSSELBERG
LAYTON — The Hilton Garden Inn has brought the outside in.
That may be figurative for the Layton hotel, which is connected to the Davis Conference Center.
But its just-opened Garden Cafe carries an outside, natural feel. That’s evident in the entryway, which features a star-studded ceiling and rain-drop-draped walls.
It’s carried through to the eating area, where the carpeting is made to look and feel like bark, to plenty of live plants. A column has been redesigned to look and feel like a tree trunk.
That all is meant to promote life and growth, said Dave Hilliard, assistant director of the Hilton Garden Inn and Davis Conference Center.
Other amenities have been added that are bringing hotel guests back to the lobby/restaurant area, he said.
Those include an 80-inch flat-screen TV and seating areas, both the traditional small tables to communal spaces. Flickering candles are meant to add further atmosphere.
“People want to come and hang out,” rather than go and stay in their rooms, Hilliard said. “With this energy they want to come back (to the lobby). It’s more of a collection point.”
When it comes to the renamed Garden Grille, Executive Chef Enrique Yescas said “We’re more health-conscious in our menu. The age of travelers is changing.”
Part of the re-design includes a chef’s table where potential conference center clients can make choices from items prepared in the kitchen.
The hotel is owned and operated by privately held Western States Lodging, which also manages and operates the connected conference center under contract with Davis County.
Tourism tax funds are being used to pay off two bonds that were used to construct the conference center.
Lantern lighting is also featured in the patio dining area of the new cafe, Yescas said.
A second remodeling phase will include all of the hotel’s 147 guest rooms.
The Hilton Garden’s remodel, along with that of other Davis County hotels, makes it easier to sell groups on the area, said Barbara Riddle. She is CEO of the Davis Area Convention & Visitors Bureau.
“I thought it looked absolutely beautiful,” she said of the upgrade. “It’s great for Davis County that all of our hotels continue to do the upgrades and make it so we can put our best foot forward as a destination. Our staff will be very proud to showcase such a product as part of a hotel lodging package.”