Once inside the Brownwood Hotel & Spa, guests will discover a “cowboy chic” interior design started from scratch more than two years ago, said Tracy Morse, vice president of The Villages Commercial Design Division. “I do love the light fixtures; the chandeliers, they were custom made for us,” she said. “The one in the main lobby is really spectacular in size. Obviously, you don’t get a scale like that off the shelf. I love the eclectic mix of light fixtures from the more rustic to the crystals to the chains.” Guests not only will check into the 151-room hotel Sunday for the first time, but also have access to the heated pool and cosmetology services at the spa.
The finished interior design exceeds much of what hotel General Manager Gilles Cassiani has experienced over 25 years of hospitality management.
“You will really want to stay at the Brownwood Hotel & Spa because it is so unique in character,” he said. “It’s breathtaking and beautiful. It’s not a cookie-cutter property, there really isn’t anything like it. You will see things here you don’t see everywhere else. We are not a brand hotel, we are more like a boutique hotel, as guests will immediately see in the lobby with all the furnishings and artwork.”
So much intricate work went into this project, said Devon Wiechens, The Villages senior manager of design. She loves watching the expressions of people who took a sneak peak before the hotel’s opening.
“There isn’t just one wow factor, either,” she said. “It’s the project as a whole. It’s the largest building I’ve ever worked on. After two and a half years work, completed, it’s pretty exciting.”
Wiechens enjoyed watching visitors as they marvel at the interior design theme replete with oil paintings of cowboys, Native Americans, buffalo, horses and more.
“The artwork is amazing,” Wiechens said.
In the guest rooms, the team applied French wallpaper that Morse discovered during a trip to Mexico.
“The wallpaper is a textured brown and gold,” Wiechens said. “It almost looks like animal skin.”
Morse, Wiechens and The Villages design team worked closely on the design with Nashville-based Earl Swensson Associates and its senior interior design manager, Jarred Bobo.
“What makes me smile about this project is the people I got to work with doing it,” Morse said. “That’s the biggest thing for me. It takes a whole lot of people to get something like this accomplished. And we have a great team.”
The motif extends from the main lobby down the hallway to the ballroom, and the team named the meeting rooms after cattle breeds.
At the Brangus Executive Boardroom, for instance, paintings of longhorn cattle adorn the walls. Just outside, the team created a wall of Sumter County fieldstone that contrasts woodland wallpaper decorated in blue shades.
“The curved ceiling in the executive boardroom is one of my favorite features,” Morse said.
Most of all Morse wanted guests and visitors to the hotel and convention facilities to feel welcome.
“Our big thing is comfort,” Morse said. “When people walk in the door, we want them to say, ‘This is so comfortable, so relaxed.’ That’s what we look for every time we do a recreation center, an office building, a school. It’s all about the people who are going to enjoy the space, the comfort and how it welcomes them.”
Senior writer David R. Corder can be reached at 352-753-1119, ext. 5241, or email@example.com.