Properties are taking hospitality a step further by putting out the welcome mat for members and guests with upscale lodging.
While clubs have long offered top-notch amenities to members that cultivate a home-away-from-home feeling, some properties are truly committing to comfort by offering overnight lodging, complete with cozy bedding, Wi-Fi access, and even plush robes.
By offering lodging, members and even guests who partake of all-day activities can not only have a place to spend the night, but one that is stocked with all of the necessities—and then some. Having on-site lodging is also a great way to entice membership prospects to give clubs a full and extended “tryout.”
|SUMMING IT UP
• Offering lodging with all the comforts of home affirms a stay-and-play experience.
• When deciding whether to add an overnight amenity, consider the availability of lodging in the area and if the offering would fill a market void.
• Outfitting rooms with hi-tech capabilities helps guests stay connected while on the go.
• Rooms that mirror property design foster a natural extension of a club’s brand identity.
As more facilities redesign their lodging space to maximize the member-guest experience, they are fine-tuning their overnight accommodation offerings to ensure repeat visits and enthusiastic reviews from members and guests alike.
To satisfy the growing need for spacious accommodations for members and their guests, Reynolds Lake Oconee in Greensboro, Ga., recently expanded its lodging options with the addition of eight National Club Cottages.
“Our team knew there was a need for larger lodging units to accommodate couples, families and golf groups,” explains Chief Operating Officer Tim Hong. Since they opened in 2016, the cottages have proved to be a welcome addition to a burgeoning community.
Designed to house eight guests per unit, each 2,800-sq. ft. cottage contains four bedrooms (on two levels), four-and-a-half baths, a full kitchen, two open living spaces, and a porch area. Hong describes the interiors as having a “casual, yet sophisticated feel, with neutral color palettes, natural woods and modern touches throughout.”
Each of the units is configured with one king bed and three queen beds, all with their own baths. High-speed Internet access and a variety of television viewing options round out the amenities of this full-service lodging.
The design is a seamless mirroring of Reynolds Lake Oconee’s other condominium and cottage offerings—Marina Cove, Landing and Lake Club—with a special point of differentiation: The new cottages are positioned near the National Golf Village. An all-inclusive complex that features guest accommodations, a 27-hole course and tavern, this environment is easily accessible to members and guests.
The National Tavern, which anchors the village, boasts a craftsman-style farmhouse design. A large stacked-stone fireplace is complemented by an outdoor fire pit, set against a backdrop of sweeping golf-course views.
“With a world-class practice facility, lighted putting green and the National Tavern all within a short walk, the National Club Cottages are a one-stop experience for golfers visiting one of the Southeast’s premier golf destination-resort communities,” notes Hong.
To keep the new cottages in mint condition, daily housekeeping is part of the maintenance plan. In addition, a guest services team can stock the kitchen and bars in advance of guests’ arrival. While remote, off-site check-in is required, a conveniently located reception area, just off the main highway leading to the National Club Cottages, facilitates
a smooth start to guests’ stays.
“The National Club Cottages are reflective of the luxury accommodations also found at The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee and private homes throughout the community, offering members an opportunity to provide housing for extended family gatherings and guests with the same first-class service enjoyed at the resort,” says Hong.
A True Destination
At the Eagle Point (Ore.) Golf Club, providing overnight lodging for visitors provided the club with an opportunity to fill a void in the local hospitality market.
Call it the antithesis of “roughing it.” The latest trend in lodging, glamping, is taking the resort industry by storm. Defined as a guest experience that combines nature with luxury living, private clubs and resorts are creating programs to appeal to their guests’ desire to be part of the great outdoors, without losing the creature comforts they’ve come to enjoy.
Last fall, Ventana Big Sur (Calif.), an Alila Resort, opened its Redwood Canyon Glampsites, made up of 15 safari-style, canvas tents spread out over a 20-acre canyon. Each tent is outfitted with high-end linens, hot and cold running water, natural fiber rugs, dinnerware and separate propane- and wood-burning fire pits. Special amenities include daily housekeeping and nightly turndown service and access to the resort’s bath house, which features teak-enclosed showers with heated floors.
Following a trend first seen at properties like The Shawnee Inn & Golf Resort in Pennsylvania (“The Glamorous Outdoors,” C&RB, March 2016), Salishan Resort in Gleneden Beach, Ore., is planning to offer a glamping experience this summer as part of the vision of its new owners, Alpha Wave. “We plan to bring Salishan back to its roots, but in a way that resonates with modern travelers,” says Ken Cruse, founding partner and Chief Executive Officer. “The new Salishan will cater to people who respect the planet as deeply as they care for their own personal wellness.”
“Our initial purpose was to accommodate groups of out-of-town golfers,” explains Bob Hyer, who took over ownership of the club with his wife Chana in 2013. “We also saw a great need in the community, as the town of Eagle Point has no lodging.”
Situated between an international airport and a host of visitor hot spots, including Crater Lake National Park and several wineries, the club was poised to benefit from steady tourist business. The three-phase project kicked off in November 2016, with the opening of the chalets marking the first stage of development.
Located adjacent to the ninth green of the club’s Robert Trent Jones Jr.-designed golf course and practice facility, the chalets are three 1,800-sq. ft., two-story buildings. Each building houses four separate rooms, with a private balcony or patio overlooking a common garden that is outfitted with a pergola, gas-fire table and golf-course views.
“We decided to build the individual buildings, in a garden setting, to provide our guests with a ‘boutique,’ upscale experience as opposed to a common hotel stay,” says Hyer.
The 12 rooms in total are designed in one of three layouts: luxury king rooms that have a soaking tub with shower and coffee bar; one-bedroom suites with either two queen beds or a king, walk-in shower, living room with coffee bar, a sink, refrigerator and fireplace; or a two-bedroom suite with connecting doors. All bathrooms feature slab-granite vanities with two sinks, granite showers, and coffee bars with Keurig coffee makers.
The chalets’ neutral color palette is showcased in two styles: gray rooms that have gray and white granite with brushed nickel hardware, and cream rooms that have granite or brown tones with oil or rubbed-bronze hardware. This look is balanced out by white linens and down comforters that Hyer describes as “a fresh, clean, spa-like experience.” Free Wi-Fi, 50-inch smart televisions and USB ports allow guests to stay connected, if they so choose.
To maintain the chalets’ upkeep, daily maid service is available and a dedicated staff, including an operations manager, maintenance engineer and two gardeners, are tasked with tending to the facilities. Their workload is expected to increase once the construction for 30 additional approved rooms is completed. (Phase II of the lodging project has not yet been scheduled, Hyer says.)
Thanks to the strong reception that Eagle Point’s lodging introduction has already received, the resort has been able to transform its identity from a golf club to a destination.
“Having overnight stays enhances the marketability of our event venue,” notes Hyer. “Out-of-town golf groups enjoy a stay-and-play experience, and we’ve provided a place to stay for family and friends of our community.”
From the Ground Up
While the Hotel at Midtown Athletic Club in Chicago officially opened last November, the project has been part of a decade-long process.
“Twelve years ago, the City of Chicago informed us that they were going to take part of our club for road improvements,” says General Manager Michael Mahoney. “Construction had already begun on the club when we decided to add the hotel to the design.”
Because there wasn’t any other hotel in this busy area of the city, which intersects Chicago’s Bucktown, Lincoln Park and Logan Square neighborhoods, Midtown was able to satisfy a community-wide need.
With project plans in full swing, the location of the hotel was a foregone conclusion—or, as Mahoney puts it, “the only way to build was up.” The top two floors of the five-story club became a 55-bedroom hotel that spans 36,000 sq. ft. within the massive 575,000-sq. ft. property. The number of rooms was determined by necessity.
“The hotel is an amenity to the club and although its presence could be considered a throwback to the history of private clubs, with room accommodations for members, the ‘twist’ here is that it allows the hotel guest [who is not a club member] to become a member for the night,” explains Dwayne Mac-Ewen of DMAC Architecture, the club’s design partner.
“The number of rooms seemed to hit a sweet spot of both rooms required and space available.”
Hotel guests have direct access to the club via an elevator and can utilize all amenities, including a 24,000-sq. ft. outdoor pool deck, 15 indoor tennis courts, spa and flagship restaurant. “All guests at the hotel are considered honorary members of the club, with no additional charges,” notes Mahoney.
The rooms themselves, including four deluxe suites, have a contemporary style, featuring clean lines, neutral colors and natural textures. Well-stocked amenities consist of high-speed Wi-Fi, 55-inch digital TVs with streaming capabilities, high-end bath and body products, and spa bathrobes. Maintenance is in line with high-end boutique hotels: daily housekeeping, valet laundry and concierge services.
By adding the hotel, the club has translated its nearly 50-year history into a brand that reflects its membership’s current needs. “It’s our brand’s first hotel property and fills a niche within both the fitness and hospitality industries, giving us an entirely new way to service and interact with our guests and members—and not just in Chicago, but worldwide,” says Mahoney.