By Brandon BieltzMay 16, 2013
Since 2009, the Army has been phasing control of lodging from the military to the InterContinental Hotel group.
But recently, IHG has taken ownership of lodging at Fort Meade. The company, which now operates several facilities on post, will soon begin construction on a Candlewood Suites to replace the current lodging.
"The purpose of the partnership between the U.S. Army, IHG and Lend Lease is to improve the condition of on-post lodging facilities for service members, their families and government travelers, and to provide for the facilities' long-term sustainability," said Arthur Holst, vice president of operations at IHG Army Hotels.
"We are focused on delivering the same consistent, high-quality stay experiences at our on-post hotels that our guests have come to expect from the IHG family of hotel brands around the world."
IHG officially took management control of the post's various lodging facilities on May 1. The Distinguished Visitors Quarters has been returned to the installation to serve as the new Resiliency Center and the Post Library Annex.
Control of Abrams Hall, in Building 2793 on Hawkins Drive, will be returned as well, while remaining lodging facilities will be razed once the hotel is completed.
"They're in charge" said Scott Myers, chief of Business Operations Division at the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation. "It is no longer Army lodging. It is InterContinental Hotel Group lodging."
According to the Privatization of Army Lodging program's website, more than 80 percent of the Army lodging facilities were in need of replacement or major renovation, which would cost nearly $1 billion and take 20 years of work.
"We can't afford to update our older facilities," Myers said. "Anybody who has stayed there will tell you they're in dire need of renovation, and that's true of lodging across the Army. The Army can't afford the investment that it would take to do that, so these private companies can come in and upgrade the facilities."
The goal of the program is to improve the quality of transient lodging facilities throughout the country for Soldiers and their families. Upon completion of the program, there will be a total of 76 hotels and more than 11,000 rooms on 39 installations.
"It is deemed best for the Soldiers because IHG will be building new facilities and they will be world-class facilities," Myers said. "It will be top-notch amenities."
Construction on the Candlewood Suites near McGlachlin Parade Field is expected to begin this summer and will take two years. Upon completion of the project, IHG will offer a total of 243 rooms at Fort Meade and new amenities.
"Services and amenities available to all guests at IHG Army Hotels locations include complimentary breakfast, weekly social activities, courtesy shuttles providing on-post transportation," Holst said.
Myers said the new hotel will provide higher-quality lodging on the installation.
"Upgrading the facilities is the primary reason so that we can give our military members and families the kind of world-class facilities they deserve to stay in," he said.