Wednesday, February 14, 2007

I Am Being Haunted by the Hotel Gods...

A poorly kept secret about yours truly is that, if I had ten million dollars, sort of like the old farmer joke, I'd probably keep running the hotel until it was gone. My long-term, long-time goal in life is to be an innkeeper.

If I could build one, I've got the design in my mind. It'd be L-shaped with our living quarters on the short end of the L and about 60 - 80 guest rooms /suites on the other end. Where the long side and the short side of the L come together would be the full-service restaurant, meeting/ banquet space, fitness, pool/spa and business center on two floors. I believe you need to be full-service so you can hopefully profit from multiple revenue streams. The decor would be classy, yet comfortable. Not too woodsy - I find that puts me off - and not too fussy either. The idea is to make each guest feel like they are at a place they wish was their home. In a perfect world, the lodge (Inn?) would be on about 100 acres so that we could also feature a traditional Russian banya on top of the standard amenities. The banya, as in Russia would be in a separate building and offer a full, Russian style banya experience.

A banya, so you know, is essentially a sauna. But the banya building itself features a lounge area where you can enjoy tea or water between sessions in the sauna and the pool. The banya I was in also had a second floor lounge featuring pool and other table games. The experience, then, is to shower, sit in the sauna until you've worked up a good sweat and then jump into a small pool roughly the width of a lap and a half or two laps in an Olympic sized pool and maybe 20 feet long. Then you return to the sauna and repeat. If you wish, you can take a break with some wonderful tea and a light snack. Personally, I recommend sweetening your tea with one of the fruit jellies or jams available. It is a wonderful, relaxing experience. The best part is that kids aren't there! Sorry. I guess you could have 'family time' and non-family time in the banya, but its use in my dream Inn would be by reservation only to assure comfort and privacy. I don't want your kids in my sauna and you don't really want mine in yours - know what I mean?

Having the acreage would not only allow for future expansion into individual guest cabins, it also provides for some outdoor activities as well. The prime location would have some lake frontage for walking the beach, fishing or just enjoying the view. 100 acres (or more!) would allow hiking and biking trails as well. I also think a location with four seasons would be beneficial to attract year-round business for recreation. The central portion would feature a large, stone fireplace and a cozy place to curl up with a book and/ or a drink of some kind - be it wine or tea (suit yourself!) - and unwind. I love kids, but this inn probably would not attract a whole lot of "family" business and that is fine. Kids can be hard on a hotel. Ask anyone who's hosted a baseball or hockey team for a weekend tournament. Families are great but the management and staff of my hotel would have a 'zero-tolerance' policy for improperly supervised children. Too much liability exposure for me. I think I would attract more business than I would alienate with this approach. Back in my hotel days, I comped a lot of rooms because of "some people's kids" and it really hurts. Trust me. It wasn't the fault of the hotel itself and you still lost revenue. That means that you have to make it your issue and monitor behavior more closely.

That being said, there is a website I found about 18 months ago called Now, mind you, it is a great site to visit if you are shopping for a hotel or even wishful thinking. However, the problem is that despite the fact that I don't remember setting up a search on the site, I am now getting several e-mails each week calling my attention to new listings like this one. I think it is a conspiracy.


iropolski said...

If this ever comes to pass, let me know. I absolutely wanna go. :) -DSG

Tal said...

I'd definitely want to be a regular visitor, although it sounds a bit out of my league. Just my kind of place!

Good post.