What’s old is new again. Finally, that saying rings true for the former Hotel Syracuse. Now the Marriott Syracuse Downtown, it has new life after $70 million in renovations. This past weekend, more than a thousand attended “Forever Hotel Syracuse: A Historic Gala.” The fundraiser for the Onondaga Historical Association provided a first look at the fruits of the extensive renovations. Thanks to some fortunate luck, I had the chance to accompany my wife to the event, camera in hand.
When my wife volunteered to help OHA with the gala, it was slated for June 4. I had a wedding, so she planned to bring a friend. When the gala was postponed three weeks, our friend couldn’t go anymore. I had a rare June opening, so I was able to step in and help out. The timing was especially fortunate considering I just booked a 2017 wedding at the hotel earlier in the week (thanks, Molly and Quinn)! The gala provided an excellent chance to scope out the layouts of the various ballrooms (from a DJ point of view) and I thought I’d share with those of you who might be considering the Marriott Syracuse Downtown for your own wedding plans.
Summary of the Ballrooms
Floor plans, square footage, ceiling heights and the capacity for various types of functions are available on the hotel’s website. In any photo caption above which mentions guest capacity, the listed number for a banquet-style setup was used. Although the lists also have a “reception” capacity, the term is not the same as wedding reception. Rather, it refers to cocktails / hors d’oeuvres events, where most guests would be standing for the duration of the event. For a wedding reception with larger, sit-down tables for a formal dinner, go by the banquet numbers.
- Grand Ballroom – As the name implies, the Grand Ballroom is the Marriott Syracuse Downtown’s flagship event space. Located on the 10th floor, the ballroom’s 27-foot curved ceiling is painted to look like the sky and it is impressive. Floor-to-ceiling windows provide a sweeping view of the hills and valleys for many miles south of Syracuse. An pre-function area between the elevators and the ballroom can be used for cocktail hour prior to your reception.
- Empire Ballroom – Also located on the 10th floor, the Empire Ballroom provides a T-shaped space which is smaller than the ballroom, but still provides an elegant 1920s look, with large windows overlooking downtown towards the Syracuse University hill, including the famous Carrier Dome. For the reopening gala, a cocktail hour bar was setup in the lobby which separates the Empire Ballroom from the elevators.
- Finger Lakes Ballroom – Topping out at 8,000 square feet, this 1980 addition to the hotel (formerly the Imperial Ballroom) offers the most floor space of all the ballrooms. If you’re not sure how you’ll ever fill that much space, it can be divided into three separate “courts,” each offering anywhere from 2,300 to 3,200 square feet.
- Persian Terrace – Also located on the lobby level, but part of the original 1924 building, the Persian Terrace offers a similar historic look to that offered in the Grand and Empire Ballrooms. The Persian features a spacious dance floor, with an elevated stage area on one end for your DJ (hopefully me!) and an elevated seating area opposite the dance floor.
And that’s not to mention the various casual spaces within the Marriott Syracuse Downtown (or the many Armory Square establishments within walking distance), which may be of interest for those of you who like to afterparty! I’m very much looking forward to at least one wedding here in 2017, and I hope to add more for 2017 and beyond! After you’ve booked with the hotel, I hope you’ll come back and talk to me about DJ services!