'It's an important statement': The Woodlands Marriott remains open despite low occupancy

The Woodlands Waterway Marriott Hotel and Convention Center plans to keep its doors open as long as it can. (Photo by Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
The Woodlands Waterway Marriott Hotel and Convention Center plans to keep its doors open as long as it can. (Photo by Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)

The Woodlands Waterway Marriott Hotel and Convention Center plans to keep its doors open as long as it can. (Photo by Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)

With occupancy ranging from 5%-10% at any given day, Fred Domenick, the general manager of The Woodlands Waterway Marriott, said it is not currently financially viable to remain open, but he continues to do so because of the hotel's position in the community.

"We think the messaging and the fact that we are the hub for the social events that occur in The Woodlands, and more are cancelling every day, I think it is an important statement that we stay open as long as we can," Domenick said.

Domenick said that due to travel bans that have been instituted and the mandates preventing dine-in restaurant options, The Woodlands Waterway Marriott has had to lay off or furlough the majority of its staff. The hotel is currently operating with only 15 employees to run the building.

Domenick added guests are often one-offs and has seen hospital members, oil executives and government individuals. The hotel is seeing 10-20 rooms occupied at any given time.

"Every hotel is looking at closure models," he said. "We chose to stay open. The longer this goes on though, the more hotels you are going to see close."


In Houston, hotels are being considered as quarantine zones for city employees, first responders and homeless individuals that may not be able to safely quarantine themselves at home. However, Domenick said it would not be a possibility at The Woodlands Waterway Marriott because the facility is not equipped to be a quarantine zone or take on sick patients.

"We don't have the infrastructure or the proper staff to do that," he said.
By Andrew Christman
Andrew joined Community Impact Newspaper in early 2019 after moving from Indiana. He is a 2015 graduate from Indiana State University, where he received degrees in English and journalism. He has written for a number of small town publications throughout his career as a reporter.