By DOUG WILSON
Herald-Whig Senior Writer
Customers at the Eagles Nest Hotel have three different decor themes to choose from in their rooms after nearly a year of renovations.
General Manager Jack Bishop said a cross between a rustic lodge and a bed and breakfast look has been incorporated in the lobby and on the second floor. An automotive theme is used in first floor rooms and a Victorian theme with gold accents and different shades of purple are used in third floor rooms.
"It's been really well received," Bishop said. "Our bookings right now are over 126 percent up from a year ago."
The 118-room hotel was in need of a facelift when Bishop arrived with four other members of his management team a little more than a year ago. The Eagles Nest was once a Ramada Inn, but had changed hands and was operated as an independent hotel for years.
Bishop said it was losing market share to newer Quincy hotels and motels, so he conducted a survey of guests to see what their response would be to different room and decorating ideas.
"The antique and rustic motif won out," Bishop said. "Our rooms on the second floor have fishing decor and country quilt bedding."
Distressed furniture and antique accessories are used in each of the rooms and accent walls vary with the colors and items in that particular space.
"No two rooms are the same," Bishop said.
Although the restaurant has been spruced up as well, the hotel has not found anybody to lease it so far.
Operating without a national franchise creates some challenges. The hotel is not connected with a national hotel reservation system that helps bring in customers. But operating as an independent hotel has its own benefits.
"You have a little more liberty to do what you or the owners of the hotel want to do," Bishop said.
In addition, the Quincy market "has proven to be very supportive of independents."
Deb Carstens, treasurer of the Quincy and Adams County Hotel-Motel Association, said renovations are needed every five to 10 years whether a hotel is independent or part of a national franchise. Getting a new look is especially important with business travelers who are seasoned veterans.
"If you don't keep up with the Jones's, you'll fall behind and it will happen pretty quick."
Carstens is general manager of the Fairfield Inn and Suites at 4315 Broadway and oversaw a major upgrade at that property.
"We put in all new furniture, took some walls down to the studs, put in new paint, carpets, tiles, bedding. About the only thing we kept was the flat screen TVs," Carstens said.
The Eagles Nest is just down the street from the newly renamed Quality Inn and Suites Hotel at Third and York, where 145 rooms are being renovated.
Bishop isn't telling how much it cost to remodel the hotel, but he said it has provided a very good return on investment.
Classic car enthusiasts who booked rooms last year during the Early Tin Dusters Fall Color Run were among the first guests to stay in upgraded rooms.
"We have people who are requesting the same rooms this year," Bishop said.