OK, gang, we’re getting down and dirty. Well, I guess not dirty – these places are all shiny and new! But speaking of dirt, in the event you’ve been living under a rock, Ohio has all kinds of cool things popping up across the state. Anything from a face lift to a ground lift (new build!) there are so many hotels to be excited about. Luckily, I’m in the biz, and have the somewhat daunting task of keeping track of all things hotel across the state. Today I’m going to take you into (or outside of) three exciting changes to our great state. Buckle up!
The Timberlanes Inn – Salem, OH
My road trip started with a crazy flash back. But before I get there, let me set the stage. I drove through winding roads and a blustery wintry-mix storm through the American Standard plant on the south side of town, finally arriving at Boneshakers in Salem, OH. I was meeting a local businessman who had taken the old Timberlanes complex under his wings, opening first Boneshakers. Trying to avoid wet feet or hair, I sprinted into the new restaurant without much of a look at the outside. I was greeted by very friendly staff, even though I was a few minutes ahead of the opening bell. I used my extra time to check out the new place. I will be completely honest, I was shocked. I did not expect to see such a trendy looking joint in Salem, OH. After a quick, yummy Cobb salad, I was ushered through the restaurant to the hotel which is still undergoing renovation. A little history on the way – the old complex used to house bowling lanes (hence the name!) and it caught fire mid 1900s. When they rebuilt the property, they did not rebuild the bowling lanes (much to my dismay), but focused on the banquet hall, restaurant and motor inn. The Timerblanes complex was shut down in 2009.
My two hosts swept me into the lobby. As I was checking out the new guestroom furniture, I started to get this feeling…just a little something creeping through the cobwebs of distant memories. I paused and took a moment to scan my surroundings. The lobby is surrounded by floor to ceiling glass windows. I looked outside – noticing that the valet area ran under the front and then continued along the side of the building to the banquet hall, running parallel to the street, thus serving dual purposes – valet for hotel guests and valet for banquet guests, something you don’t see everyday. I turned back around as my hosts were explaining the inverted motel concept. I followed their gaze through the lobby doors into the room corridors. There’s something here and I can’t put my finger on it! I kept thinking. We walk through the doors and I’m greeted by cold. My host explaining that the rooms are connected by an outside corridor covered by a glass roof. We walk into the first room and she’s saying “this room used to be greens and” burgundy, I say. I’ve been here! I’ve been here!
I blurted out. She looks at me perplexed, “really?!” Yes! It has such a unique layout. The valet. The small, cozy glass lobby, the reserve motel room layout.
And… I’m in Salem! My memories come crashing back to me. I stayed here in high school as a Rotary Youth Leadership Awards participant. It was a big, annual “over-nighter” hosted by the Salem Rotary Club for high school students demonstrating leadership. Of course, in high school, I didn’t drive myself there so the valet only played a small role in my memory. It was the late nights of running between rooms, gossiping and sharing stories that I remembered. Although in my high school memory, the old Timerlanes was fine, but in my adult memory, this place needed a major overhaul and Brooke & Brandy are the ones to do it. They are moving those cool restaurant grade indoor heaters into the center space with nice patio furniture for lounging. I can picture myself cozied up under a blanket of winter snow on the glass roof with a blanket and a book. This place is going to be really neat. The lobby has been fitted with reclaimed barn wood and the new bedroom furniture has a similar feel. Sticking to a modern, clean and simple design, Brandy is working hard to transform the space. The banquet space is massive for any size town, but for Salem, OH and the surrounding areas, it’s a game changer, seating 400 in rounds. I’m excited to check out the hotel when it’s complete and you should be too.
Holiday Inn Canton – Canton, OH
Yowza! You know when you go somewhere you’ve been before and you think you know what you’re walking into, but then it isn’t anything like you remembered? That’s what happened to me at the newly renovated Holiday Inn Canton. Ask any of the staff here and they will tell you, “it’s about time!” They’ve been waiting to show off this renovation for a while and for good reason. I was delighted that Emily was willing to take me on a full tour of the space. If you haven’t been in any Holiday Inn in a while, you might be surprised to know, the brand is making some big changes. The new HI package is extremely modern with sleek finished, bright colors and well-placed art. Last time I was at this specific property, the lobby was in a different place, so that was confusing, but once I found my way, it was breathtaking. GOOD JOB!
The new lobby is an open floor plan with lots of seating for guests, computer stations and windows. The rooms are – stunning. I love all of the blues and silver. One of the suites I saw has a pretty neat feature – the option to connect to a small board room. I think this would be great for groups hosting large or multi-day meetings on site. It makes for a great private office space for meeting organizers. Or, traveling into town for an event at the Hall of Fame? What a great place to order in and share with family so you don’t have to sit around on the beds.
The Holiday Inn Canton is in a great location – just off the highway but next to the former Belden Village Mall area. But should you not feel like navigating mall traffic for a cold beer or dinner, another addition is Twenty20 Taphouse, the new restaurant and taproom. And, you guessed it! There are 20 beers on tap for your pleasure. Even if you’re just passing through and not looking for a place to stay, check it out. I bet it’ll wow you too!
Cobblestone Hotel & Suites Project – Orrville, OH
This one is near and dear to my heart and unfortunately, I don’t have a lot of pictures to show you. My hometown is Orrville, OH. A quaint little industrious town nestled between Canton and Wooster along historic Route 30. When I first heard news that Orrville, home of the Red Riders, Bobby Knight and this little jelly place called the J.M. Smucker Company, was getting a hotel, I was aghast. What do we need a hotel for? I thought to myself. But I left “home” 10+ years ago, and a lot has changed. Smucker’s is booming, industry is moving in and Orrville now has overnight guests that aren’t just family visiting loved ones. It was a pet project of mine to find out more about a new project in Ohio – a small town hotel chain concept out of Pennsylvania breaking ground in Ohio in my very own hometown. The new hotel will have 40 rooms, a bar/restaurant and a pool. The Cobblestone brand is built for towns just like Orrville, focusing on small town values and “big town” amenities. The hotel should be open in the coming months, but here is a sneak peek about what locals are saying about the build and the brand. For a full story on the property, check this article written by Megan Coddington, student at The Ohio State University. Cobblestone Hotel & Suites Introduction to Ohio by Megan Coddington Rumor has it, Cobblestone is already scoping out other communities across our state, one could be coming to your backyard soon!
We have some many great things happening around our state. If you are wondering just what’s going in at this corner or if a rumor is true, let me know! I’m happy to give you the scoop.
“People don’t take trips, trips take people.” – John Steinbeck