HOUSTON (KTRK) --On an unseasonably warm day after Christmas, the doors opened and the bubbles flowed at the new Marriott Marquis Houston hotel. Steve and Elain McGough would be the first to clink champagne glasses.
"We had no idea," chuckled Elaine as realized they were the official first guests to check in at the new hotel.
"What a wonderful way to show off our city and just really excited to have the Super Bowl and another first class hotel in the downtown area," said Steve, who runs a software company and has already booked his company's meetings at the facility.
The opening of the 1,000 room hotel is just another piece of the puzzle as Houston tries to add a little shine to the nation's fourth largest city as it dances toward hosting the Super Bowl. It seems like the Marquis' Texas shaped "Sky River" is already famous, an iconic pool that's sure to grace postcards and Instagram accounts in the years to come.
"It's not just important for the Super Bowl, but really the long term of the city. The attracting of larger and more convention businesses is really the key to the economic impact of Houston," said Jay Marsella, the hotel's Director of Sales and Marketing.
Discovery Green and the newly reworked GRB convention center front door are already drawing visitors. But much work remains surrounding NRG Stadium. A three million dollar project that will build sidewalks, add trees, and erect signs are still a few weeks from finishing.
"You're not going to recognize it, it's going to be beautiful," said Council Member Larry Green, whose district includes NRG Park. "We're going to have landscaping lighting, the trees will be illuminated, the signs are going to be laminated. We're excited to show off our stadium."
Just 41 days to go before the big game, and Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner knows the importance of making a world wide impression. Turner showed up at the Marquis Monday evening to officially turn on the lights along the Sky River.
"For the Super Bowl people can come here see the hotel, be a part of it, get the Super Bowl experience," beamed the Mayor. "But, get it from a Houston point of view. I mean, this is Houston at its finest."