A FRESHLY RENOVATED TINTON FALLS HOTEL AND SPECIAL EVENTS VENUE REINVENTS ITSELF AS A WEDDING HOTSPOT

BY ERIK SCHONING PHOTOS BY ROBERT NUZZIE

DoubleTree is one of the most dynamic names in the hotel business. Since 2007, it has remained the fastest growing brand in the Hilton portfolio. At DoubleTree Tinton Falls, operated and managed by Hotels Unlimited, fresh off a sweeping renovation, the staff is always pushing to exceed that standard of excellence.

In September of 2022, the hotel kicked off a one-year renovation process to overhaul all guest-facing areas. Brooke Gordon, the hotel’s general manager, participated in overseeing the $7 million renovation process. Gordon, along with a design firm hired from Atlanta, Georgia, reimagined the lobby, banquet area, all ballrooms and guestrooms, the restaurant, and the exterior of the building.

“The response has been wonderful,” Gordon said. “Everybody that comes in loves what they’re seeing. We have a lot of people who have been ‘frequent flyers,’ who have stayed with us often over the years, and they’re just wowed by it.”

Renovating a hotel is not an easy feat; Gordon and the Hotels Unlimited team had to stay in constant communication with the DoubleTree and Hilton brands to give the hotel a special flair that its guests would appreciate. The entire bar area was redesigned to suit the unique layout of the hotel, giving guests a view of the bar from the moment they walk through the door. Every change was made with the twofold goal of improving the guest experience while conveying the current design flair the brand is known for. That process, Gordon explained, was not always straightforward.

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“We changed our chandelier in our ballroom lobby three times,” she said. “The design firm suggested one, but we decided it didn’t give us that wow factor. It’s important to get these things right, because it’s the first impression when you’re walking into the ballroom area.”

The renovation boosted the hotel’s business, and today, it’s grown into a wedding hotspot. In many ways it sits in a perfect location, easily accessible and close to the beach, but more than anything DoubleTree Tinton Falls has established a reputation for white-glove service and comprehensive wedding planning.

Allison McCarthy, DoubleTree’s catering director, has been with the company since 2017, and is a former assistant general manager of the hotel. Along with her sales coordinator, Jordanna Vollaro, and banquet manager Nemo Rincon, she has set a standard of excellence and consistency for the hotel’s Sterling Ballroom event team.

McCarthy attributes that success to her team’s comprehensive approach. Unlike other venues, where brides and husbands-to-be are often left to their own devices to provide certain features for the wedding, the DoubleTree team prides itself on being a one-stop shop in the fullest sense.

“Sometimes I’m working with brides for up to two years during the planning process,” McCarthy said. “Then on the day of, I’m handing them that glass of champagne after they come down the aisle. It’s just those little things that leave them with a great feeling and knowing that they were taken care of the whole time, from start to finish.”

The hotel offers structured menus with plenty of add-ons for customization. McCarthy and her team offer an open bar. A wedding cake is provided in all their packages and designed by a local bakery. They provide floral centerpieces and different design options, from the chairs to the tablecloths and napkins. By handling the process from start to finish, the DoubleTree team is able to take a lot of stress out of wedding planning. Of course, clients have access to the hotel itself, with room blocks and transportation options available to make attending the event as easy and seamless as possible for wedding guests as well.

While the renovation has given the hotel a fresh appeal, both McCarthy and Gordon attribute their success not to the space itself but to the people in it. Gordon prides herself on creating a culture devoted to teamwork and open communication.

“Culture has to start at the top,” Gordon said. “You have to display excellence and show an example, and not be afraid to get your hands dirty. So we in management are always making sure that we’re available for our line level staff. On event days you’ll find Allison and Jordanna down in the ballroom helping flip the space, moving chairs and setting tables if need be. We all work together.”

In many ways, this culture of teamwork aligns with the DoubleTree brand overall. A brand known for its walnut chocolate chip cookies is a brand that prides itself on that extra touch, an attention to detail that can take a hotel experience from good to great. Gordon and McCarthy don’t take any of their success for granted, and as they look to continue expanding their business and growing the hotel’s reputation, they know that success is something you earn each and every day.

“Obviously, getting people in the door is the first step,” Gordon said. “But you have to wow them when they’re here. When you’re looking for a venue and you’re looking to book, you want to have a connection with the people that you’re working with. We really try to set ourselves apart from the initial welcome to the wedding day.”

 

DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Tinton Falls

700 Hope Road, Tinton Falls

tintonfallseatontown.doubletree.com

sterlingballroomevents.com

@sterlingballroom, @doubletreetintonfall