Staying overnight?

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:46

    CHESTER-Chester will have more overnight visitors with the opening of the new Holiday Inn Express on Route 17M. But who will be staying there, and why? Owner Jake Kriney hopes the motel will become a destination for businesspeople and a popular stopover for people traveling the Route 17 Quickway. The newly opened motel is easily visible from Chester's new Quickway exit. Kriney said the proximity to the Chester Industrial Park, Woodbury Common, and other attractions in the rapidly growing area will attract businesspeople — the motel's target market. "Work had already started on the new Chester exit when I bought the land," Kriney said. "That's one reason I picked this site." He said the new exit, which allows smoother access to the Quickway, will make his site more accessible. In just over a week that the motel has been in operation, it has attracted more guests than he expected, he said. That's partly because of Holiday Inn's marketing and advertising, and partly because of the chain's web page, which offers "one of the best reservation systems anywhere." The community has been generally supportive of the new enterprise, Kriney said. "People have been really nice and welcoming," he said. He is planning an open house sometime in late spring to allow the community to see the inside of the new facility, he said. For the opening period, Kriney is offering a special price of $99 per night. The "Express" is a relatively new format for Holiday Inn, Kriney said, and so the motel is on the cutting edge. The Holiday Inn Express is smaller than a full-scale Inn, with somewhat less meeting space and no full-scale restaurant. It does, however, offer some amenities that appeal to business travelers, he said. A meeting room comes equipped with a television with VCR/DVD player and a large conference table. Nearby, in the hallway, is a small office area, with a desk, telephones and a computer. "We're offering businesspeople who did not bring a laptop with them a way to connect to the Internet or their office," said director of sales Ulrika Kadala. Each room also has a high-speed Internet connection for those who have their laptops with them, she added. While Holiday Inn sets many of the features of its franchises, owners have some leeway, Kriney said. For instance, the motel in Chester has 80 rooms, rather than the prototypical 76. That results from adding a separate wing for the pool and spa, freeing up space for four additional rooms while allowing for a larger-than-usual pool. The motel has been open since last Tuesday, but the pool awaited a certificate of occupancy before it could be used. Kriney expects it to receive a certificate of occupancy today. Kadala noted that, among the other amenities, the Holiday Inn Express offers a "Smart-Start Breakfast" of hard-boiled eggs and the Holiday Inn's trademark cinnamon rolls in addition to the usual continental breakfast choices. The prototypical curved shower head featured in Holiday Inn Express allows more headroom in the shower, Kriney said. The so-called "Simply Smart Guest Bathroom" also features larger and heavier-weight towels than the standard motel facility, he said. Rooms also feature an ironing board and iron tucked away in the closet and a coffee maker. Snack vending machines and icemakers are located on the first and third floors, and all three floors have a Coke machine, Kadala noted. The breakfast nook is located in the "Great Room," which has tables suitable for eating, as well as a large-screen plasma television and easy chairs and settees. The room also features a working gas fireplace. The fitness room is small but serviceable, with exercise machines well placed to get the most out of the space. In addition to businesspeople and drop-in travelers, the new Holiday Inn Express hopes to meet the needs of residents in Chester, Goshen, Monroe, and Warwick, providing a place for their families to stay when they celebrate events that draw a large number of visitors, Kadala said.