Wowed by the Wallhouse

This week, I had the opportunity to attend a meeting in Amish Country within Holmes County. It was a bright sunny day with a perfect breeze in the air. Once I got off the main interstate, I rolled the windows down and proceeded through the seemingly never-ending winding roads of hills. It was a gorgeous morning to be making the drive.

My travels continued through farmland, fields and small towns. I was getting very close to my destination but saw so sign of a property. As I made my final turn up the hill and around a corner out of nowhere stood The Wallhouse Hotel in Walnut Creek. A stone and modest exterior stood tall with a neon sign spelling out the name of the hotel. (For those of you who are unfamiliar, The Wallhouse Hotel brand is a part of the Choice Hotels Ascend Hotel Collection.)

Once I entered the property, I was so surprised. Pleasantly, of course. This modern, luxurious gem in the heart of Amish Country boasted neon blue, green, and orange accents. The interiors were sleek and very urban feeling. Behind the front desk pods stood a bold black and silver wall with the statement “W” logo.

The lobby area has excellent lounge space with white leather chairs and couches, a fireplace, clear glass tabletops and shiny black flooring with those exciting and unexpected accent colors. The 62 sleeping rooms & suites carry over the same vibrant color scheme. Each bedroom sported a tall white headboard, white sheets, charcoal carpeting, an accent wall and lime green table and pillows. The meeting space was just as fresh & clean as the rest of the property. Black and white photos lined the striking robin’s egg blue walls.

If you are looking to get the big city feel without the big city traffic The Wallhouse is certainly a great option. You are bound to be – pleasantly – surprised at every turn!

Until Next Time,

Lauren

Small but Mighty – Four Points by Sheraton Cincinnati North

Four Points West ChesterA quick trip to Cincinnati led me to an overnight stay at the Four Points by Sheraton Cincinnati North which sits north of the city near West Chester. I have to admit, I was not super familiar with the Four Points brand and concept but am excited to share with you all that I learned!

Tucked away off of a main road, this property is a cozy 89 room hotel and is nestled in a quiet area. From the moment I arrived, I was so warmly greeted by all of the team members that I had the opportunity to meet. I was promptly assisted and made my way to my spacious and comfortable room. An in-room coffee station, mini fridge and bottled water made my evening and morning routines easy. The bathrooms have built in shelving where the bath towels were perfectly folded and displayed. I always appreciate extra counter space and nooks that I can put my toiletries and this room offered both.Four Points West Chester

The decor in the lobby, restaurant and throughout the hotel encompassed travel and a journey. On one wall in the lobby, an array of license plates and a car bumper were on display and other art showed airplanes and propellers. Immediately off of the lobby is Fuel Restaurant & Bar, open for breakfast and dinner. I had the opportunity to dine in Fuel for both meals and it was great! The menu has good selections from salads, sandwiches to soft pretzels and pot stickers for dinner and a variety of breakfast selections for the morning.Four Points West Chester

I spent the night on a Tuesday evening and I was bummed to find out that on Wednesday’s they have a themed night: Best Brews & BBQ. How fun! Throughout the week Fuel features local beers on tap and on Wednesday’s you can pair a local brew with delicious BBQ offerings all made in-house.

Four Points West ChesterBesides visiting a few of our amazing hoteliers, I also attended the MPI Ohio Chapter meeting which was hosted at this property. I was so pleasantly surprised with the large and beautiful event space that the property had to offer. It offered great flexibility for events small and large and our innovative lunch was delicious. Our lunch was a creative mix of different kinds of salads, build-your-own lettuce wraps and soups. I was very impressed as were several of the attendees.

It was a great stay and experience. Big thank you to all of the team members for their genuine, hospitable nature!

 

Until Next Time,

Lauren

 

The Lafayette, A Grand Riverboat Era Hotel

Our blog takes us to Marietta where we hosted our Southeastern Lodging Council meeting this week at the historic Lafayette Hotel. This gem sits on the Ohio River near downtown Marietta and Marietta College.

The Layfayette Hotel - Marietta, OHThe Lafayette has quite the history and I’d love to share it with you! One of the more fascinating things about this building is that it has always been hotel! Where The Lafayette stands today was originally The Bellevue Hotel which was built in 1892. In 1916 a devastating fire swept through the hotel and it was destroyed. Luckily, after the fire, a local Marietta businessman vowed to rebuild the hotel and July 1, 1918 it opened as The Lafayette Hotel. This hotel has been in operation for over 100 years!

A true ‘Grand Riverboat Era” hotel, this property boasts historical elegance, sophisticated charm and museum-like qualities. If only the walls could talk! The hallways are like a time capsule. Every corner you turn there is a framed artifact, an historical photo or an era piece that catches your attention. By our meeting space, there were photos of a flood that practically rose above the front entry, what a great conversation piece!The Layfayette Hotel - Marietta, OH

Within the property there are dining and event rooms. The Gun Room is my personal favorite. It is known for its famous collection of handcrafted long rifles dating back to 1795. In addition to the rifles there is a telegraph, steamboat instruments and the most interesting, pilot wheels that were made for the Navy in World War II but never were used.The Layfayette Hotel - Marietta, OH

Though we love our new, sleek & modern concepts there is just something about historic building properties. The charm, the story, the events that have taken place, the guests who have passed through… it is fun to ponder.

If you are passing through the Southeastern region of our state, make a stop to go back in time and see the beautiful landmark that is The Lafayette Hotel.The Layfayette Hotel - Marietta, OH

 

Until Next Time,

Lauren

Something Special at Sebring Mansion

Hello! My name is Lorada and I am Lauren’s mom. I’m a little nervous as this is my first EVER blog entry. Coming from a nursing background, this is a little out of my element but here we are. My husband (Joe) & I celebrated our 32nd wedding anniversary last week at the beautiful Sebring Mansion in the small town of Sebring, Ohio (30 minutes NE of Canton).

Sebring Mansion - Sebring, OH

When we arrived, we were warmly greeted by Dick who got us settled then led us on a tour of the entire mansion including each room. Each room is completely different that the other and are all decorated to the tee. Building began in 1900 with original woodwork and accents shipped directly from Italy to Sebring. The owner, Lynne Biery, has carried these beginnings through her keen eye for detail and has not left a stone unturned. She has carefully curated every piece within the mansion to reflect the rich history of the                                                                            property.

Sebring Mansion - Sebring, OH

We were so lucky to have the opportunity to stay within the Sebring Suite. This stunning suite boasted a comfortable king bed, dark red décor and accents, a large jetted tub and fireplace. I was speechless when we walked in. Every item in the room was an intentional thought-through detail. We were welcomed with a cheese spread with chocolates and fruit, it was delicious! The cheeses provided were from Biery Cheese Company which Lynne’s family has owned since 1929.Sebring Mansion - Sebring, OH

The small but mighty team was so, so kind and pleasant. I shared with Lauren that I felt that this is what it must be like for Meghan Markle at Frogmore! Dick was a hoot and was with us much of the day and introduced us to Murphy’s Pub named after the contractor of the pub addition. For dinner, we were treated to a beautiful sweetheart table set-up and enjoyed an amazing meal prepared by Chef Randy and our sweet server, Lisa, made our celebratory dinner so memorable. That evening we enjoyed their huge outdoor hot tub all to ourselves.Sebring Mansion - Sebring, OH

It was a short overnight stay and our departure was just as memorable as the arrival with an outstanding breakfast and a genuine farewell from Robin. We plan to come back over the holidays as I was told it is a sight to see with decorated trees in every room.

I cannot say enough about our experience at Sebring Mansion. It has certainly set the bar high for next year’s anniversary celebration!

 

Thank you for reading!

Lorada & Joe

Sebring Mansion - Sebring, OH

Sebring Mansion - Sebring, OH

Meet Me in the Kimpton Living Room

What do we know about the Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants brand? We know they are a part of the IHG family, are classified as Upper Upscale and are offering a distinct boutique experience for guests across the country. The first Kimpton in Ohio, The Schofield Hotel, opened its doors in Cleveland a few years ago and we have another coming to Cincinnati in early 2020!The Kimpton Schofield - Cleveland

Kimpton’s brand focuses on being a home away from home and thrive by being personal and making connections. One of the warmest aspects is their lobby that they affectionately call their “living room”. It is SO cozy with comfy places to sit around a fireplace, bookshelves you’d see in your own home and a large community table.The Kimpton Schofield - Cleveland

Upon check-in we were welcomed and invited to their evening wine tasting in the living room. We joined them for the tasting with our friends and enjoyed tastes of reds, whites and salty snacks. What a nice way to start our stay!

Our accommodations were so fun, and I loved the décor and set up of the room. We walked in to our king bedded room and were welcomed with a welcome amenity (Thank you to our friends at The Schofield! The amenity was personal, and I was excited to receive such a nice note along with it.)The Kimpton Schofield - Cleveland

Above the bed hung framed & matted pictures of different images all within the same color palette. Including matchbox cars, butterflies and planes. Gold pillows and light fixtures paired well with the yellow and orange hues found in the hanging art.

The Kimpton Schofield - Cleveland

The luxurious bathroom was my favorite part of our room. It ran long ways across our room behind the wall where the television sat. Two large vanities with a ton of counter space closed the ends to a dreamy walk-in shower in the middle. Gray and white marbling lined the floor and the walls. The Atelier Bloem body gel, shampoo and condition sat on a wooden table in the corner of the shower. This Mandarin & Citrus body care set smelled delightful!

We were sad that we only stayed for such a short amount of time, we didn’t want to leave. This hotel has certainly left an impression and will certainly be remembered for its living room and that amazing shower.

Until Next Time,

Lauren

The Kimpton Schofield - Cleveland

A Pop of Color at Aloft

My first visit to an Aloft branded property did not disappoint. The bright and vibrant colors made up for this dreary winter weather (at least for that day). The Aloft Westerville welcomed me into the lobby with pops of hot pink, bright orange and neon green.Aloft Westerville

This isn’t your standard run of the mill lobby, this is a space where you want to throw a party or catch up with friends (or the least fun of the options, get some work done). The circular front desk is a focal point boasting these colors along with a palm tree pattern and a starburst light fixture. During my tour, I found out that the Aloft brand actually changes out its color schemes and patterns throughout the year. I will have to visit often to see all of the decor options!

Scrolling news highlights and newspapers hung for your taking along the wall calls to your business side while the pool table and jumbo tic-tac-toe makes you say “Helloooo Weekend!”.Aloft Westerville

Stepping down a few steps to another level of the lobby offers a ton of comfortable and unique seating options including long benches, a large fireplace with extra-large pillows and funky chairs. All the seating is accented by throw pillows of the same color palette and patterns.Aloft Westerville

The outdoor courtyard had me reminiscing of the warm days of summer and I can only imagine how lively of a space this is. Live music is offered Thursday-Saturday evenings along with a full-service outdoor bar. Adjacent to the courtyard is the indoor pool framed with a vaulted wood ceiling and dangling surfboards. The Aloft “A” logo is tiled on the bottom for just a little extra edge.Aloft Westerville

The sleeping rooms are sleek and mild in comparison to the funky lobby. Clean cut and neutral is the story line here. My favorite detail is a lit bench that runs along the wall in the sleeping room. I love a room with extra space to put my baggage!

If you are looking for a little extra fun in your stay for business or play, choose Aloft!

 

Until Next Time,

Lauren

 

Aloft Westerville

Aloft Westerville

V-Day Getaway

I <3 YOU, INNLOVERS! Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and I am here to help. Trying to surprise your significant other? Or just trying to get away with your buddies to completely avoid the holiday? Allow me to introduce you to a few of our excellent Unique Lodging of Ohio (ULO) properties that will surely make the holiday special.

GlenLauren - Hocking HillsGlenlaurel Inn (Logan, Ohio) – Do you want to take in the Scottish Highlands? Well, you are in luck and you do not have to jump on an 8-hour flight. Visit Glenlaurel located in the Hocking Hills region to be swept off your feet by charm and seclusion. This peaceful retreat sits on a 140-acre estate featuring hiking, Scottish Links Golf and a Spa. Their dining room is also exceptional with traditional Scottish flair to please the pickiest of critics.

Sebring Mansion - Sebring, OHSebring Mansion Inn & Spa (Sebring, Ohio) – Built in 1900, Sebring Mansion, exhibits refined detail and craftsmanship that is hard to come by in the small town of Sebring. The architectural design and all building materials from brick to woodwork were purchased in Italy and directly shipped to Sebring. Can you imagine the timeline of construction in the 1900’s?

 

White Oak Inn - Danville, OhioWhite Oak Inn (Danville, Ohio) – From a cozy room inside main inn, a private guest or a luxury log cabin, White Oak Inn has something for you! Being nestled in Ohio’s Amish Country certainly has its perks with one being the enjoyment of handcrafted soaps, jellies and jams to farm-fresh produce and eggs. Savory and sweet dishes are prepared fresh and from scratch daily. I’d love to wake up to the smell of lemon pancakes, wouldn’t you?

Cedar Grove Lodging - Hocking HillsCedar Grove Lodging (Logan, Ohio) – Featuring six cabins and two lodges in the heart of Hocking Hills, this getaway will leave you wanting to throw your cell phone in the drawer and sink into the serenity and beauty of the region. Here you will enjoy amenities such as hot tubs, fire pits, gas grills and obviously breathtaking views of the scenic Hocking Valley! Go on… cozy up and enjoy!

 

Until Next Time,

Lauren

Glenlaurel - Hocking Hills

Glenlaurel

Cedar Grove Lodging - Hocking Hills

Cedar Grove Lodging

 

A to the C at Pinecrest

My first trip to see an AC Hotel led me to Beachwood, Ohio, just thirty minutes outside of downtown Cleveland. This hotel is unique in that it sits within a shopping, dining and entertainment destination; a brand new development called Pinecrest.AC Hotel - Beachwood

The hotel is so fresh and so new. I parked behind the hotel and walked the sidewalk to the the two-story bright entry. I entered through the glass doors and there was a bellman stand, an elevator, and a contemporary wrapping stairway to the second floor. A long sleek chandelier hung from the ceiling to the first floor.AC Hotel - Beachwood

I went up the steps *carefully* as I could not help to look around out the windows at Pinecrest. I approached the second floor lobby and was surprised to see how open it was, I could see from the top of the staircase clear across the hotel.

I was quickly greeted at the back-lit modern front desk. I had some time to explore and I did just that. The open concept of the lobby area is so inviting. I walked around and loved seeing the vases, artwork and unexpected finds. Sleek lines is apparent through the furniture and tables. I LOVED the ceiling, it had wood accents and large white pendant lights. Subtle colors mix well with the neutral palette. The u-shape bar faces the stairway with a suspended square lighting feature. The lounge contributes to the overall feeling with tapa-style menu items, custom cocktails, an excellent list of Spanish wines and craft beers.

The entire wall to the right of me is floor to ceiling windows which allows for excellent natural light and an opportunity for every guest to connect with the bustling environment outside. There is a terrace accessible from the lobby with seating. Guests can enjoy beverages and snacks from anywhere in the lobby & terrace areas.

I appreciated the set-up of the property with a great natural flow and its manageable size. As I continued down a lit hallway I came across a boardroom with one side featuring windows and the other an all glass wall which led out to another public work space and business center.

I next noticed sliding barn-like doors that stood tall and revealed a full breakfast area. Unique to AC, their breakfast focuses on European flair and has items like croissants, prosciutto and egg tarts. (Croissants and prosciutto are basically my two favorite things, so, you can imagine my excitement!)

I then got to see a sleeping room. The sleeping rooms are just as stylish! My number one favorite design characteristic is that everything is lit. The walls are lit, the bench in the sleeping room is lit, the seating area outside of elevators is lit. The lighting really gives a warm feeling to the contemporary design.AC Hotel - Beachwood

The holidays are right around the corner. I can only imagine the Pinecrest destination will be decorated in all its splendor; what a great time of year to go visit the AC Beachwood AND get your holiday shopping done in style.

 

Until Next Time,

Lauren

 

AC Hotel - Beachwood

 

 

Sophistication in the Queen City

Sophisticated. Timeless. Modern. Historic. All words that I would use to describe the Renaissance located in the heart of downtown Cincinnati. You know the feeling when you enter a swanky place and you immediately feel the vibe and you get a little excited? That’s how I felt walking into the Renaissance.Renaissance Cincinnati, Ohio

It was a blustery day during my visit to the Queen City, so I was happy to have grabbed a piping hot bowl of tomato bisque and the best caprese salad at the Renaissance’s restaurant D. Burnham’s (the name pays tribute to the building’s architect, Daniel Burnham).

I was led down a short hallway with lit floor boards into a cozy and amazingly chic spot with a fabulous dining atmosphere on one side of the bar and a lounge-style space on the other. There is an array of seating options from free-standing sofas to high top tables. Various fabrics and pillows in different colors contribute visual interest. I enjoyed having a moment to savor my fresh lunch and plug-in to catch up.Renaissance Cincinnati, Ohio

Known as the Bartlett Building and the former Union Trust Building, the Renaissance has a refreshing take on mixing the old with the new. Previously a bank, the hotel boasts gorgeous gold elevator bays, marble walls, and distinctive pieces of its’ past. The arched ceiling of the ballroom with exposed gold metal balconies brings home this spaces’ glory. The modernization of the building is evident through the seating areas, light fixtures and artwork.Renaissance Cincinnati, Ohio

Pictured below is by far one of the coolest seating areas in a lobby I have ever seen (…my favorite color is also black, which is likely why I am obsessing over these chairs and generally all the décor in this place!). Key attributes are the original gold vent detailing, the extra large black lamps and of course, the chairs. Also found along the hallways are contemporary black and white portraits of kings and queens paying homage to city’s nickname, the Queen City.

Renaissance Cincinnati, OhioThe sleeping rooms are just as chic with a mix of lighter gray and white tones with splashes of black, metallic silver, and fun patterns. The bathroom is noteworthy. One wall covered in a funky wallpaper and a frosted design on the mirror really makes the design exciting.

After exploring this contemporary hotel, I got the “behind the scenes tour” of areas of the original bank that remains within the building. It is just incredible. I am so happy to see another hotel being designed and built within a historic building. I’ve shared two photos from the bank below. I’m mesmerized by the past and present of this building. If only the walls could talk…

Until Next Time,

Lauren

Renaissance Cincinnati, OH

Renaissance Cincinnati, OH

Here Comes the Future!

It is hard to believe we are well into October, my favorite time of year, and approaching the end of another amazing year of growth in our industry statewide. We’ve added new first-time brands in the state, are adding rooms to existing properties and local flare & innovation is all the rage.Canopy by Hilton - Nationwide Blvd.

Looking at the blogs of the past, there are certainly familiar themes that connect them all in some way. Lifestyle brands, creative marketing, leaders challenging the status quo and the importance of your service culture.

Now, more than ever, OHLA focus’ on empowering our upcoming leaders through education and workforce development opportunities. Many of the commonalities will be addressed at our upcoming Annual Conference this November to help prepare our industry for the future.

What is behind the mass emergence of the Lifestyle Brands?All Brands

Multiple major lifestyle brand developments are happening essentially simultaneously in Columbus, within just a few miles of each other. It is a major BOOM for the area!

AC Hotel by Marriott (Park St.)

Aloft by Marriott (Olentangy River Rd.)

Aloft by Marriott (Easton Town Center, Alston St.)

Canopy by Hilton (Arena District – Nationwide Blvd.)

Moxy by Marriott (Short North Arts District – High St.)

In the Northwest region of our state development of a Tru by Hilton and a proposed AVID by IHG is in the pipeline. In Northeast, another Tru and near Cincinnati an Aloft. Best Western is also at the forefront with brands like Glo & Vib.

What questions do you have about these brands? Brand longevity? Differences between them? Hear from our Lifestyle Brand Panelists: Jenny Aboudou,Senior Brand Manager, Canopy by Hilton; Michael VanAkkeren, Senior Director – Marriott Global Operations Design & Development, Distinctive Brands; Michael Morton, Vice President of Owner Relations, Best Western; Kip Vreeland, Chief Officer of Full Service Franchising, Marriott International.Moxy Rendering - Columbus, OH

Brands like these are trying to give the ultimate local, fresh, new vibe that our younger and up and coming travelers yearn for. Our Unique Lodging of Ohio (ULO) properties are truly already hitting the nail on the head. From a one bedroom guest house, to cabins in the Hocking Hills area, to a 200-room independent hotel. Each of these properties present a unique experience for their guest. Some of our properties have renowned restaurants, excellent spas, all encompassed within a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

WelshHills - Granville, OHWe will be presenting our ULO Property of the year award at our annual Gala to pay tribute to a very special ULO. Last year, The Welsh Hills in was our winner. This award-winning Bed & Breakfast is nestled in the historic Granville’s Welsh Hills Equestrian Countryside. It is complete with perfectly appointed guest rooms, a complete signature breakfast each morning and picturesque courtyard with a heated pool. (If you have stayed at, work in or have worked with a ULO property; we want to hear about it! Submit a ULO Property of the Year nomination!)

Industry progression is marked with innovation and technology. The Westin & Marriott brands are embracing this through Amazon Alexa Echo, to offer a voice activated hotel butler of sorts. Need more towels? Ask Alexa! We are driven on warm, fuzzy hospitality. Are you as curious as I am on how integrations such as this may work and affect our clientele? We’ll be hearing from Greg Pappas from Evolve Controls, who will walk us through what the hotel integration looks like. Evolve Controls works with Volara to integrate solutions such as those listed above: voice activated thermostats with Honeywell and concierge services with Amazon Alexa.

There is A LOT happening in our state and industry and we are here to help you manage it. I hope to see you at our annual conference this November to learn, network and toast to our future!

Until Next Time,

Lauren