August 4, 2017

New Holiday Inn, expanding Publick House in Sturbridge

Courtesy/Publick House
A rendering of a new 28-room building and guest check-in at the Publick House in Sturbridge.
Grant Welker
The owners of the new Holiday Inn Express on Route 20 in Sturbridge: Jay Patel, and his sons, Jaimin, left, and Shashin.
Grant Welker
The exterior of the Holiday Inn Express, which has 77 rooms. A Panera Bread and other retailers are proposed in front of the hotel opposite the parking lot.
Grant Welker
The Holiday Inn Express common area for guests.
Grant Welker
Art is a common presence at the Holiday Inn, including here on the walls of a conference room.
Grant Welker
The main entrance to the Publick House Historic Inn today. The guest check-in area will be moved to a new 28-room building to the right.
Grant Welker
The entrance to the Publick House from Sturbridge Common.

Sturbridge's hotel industry is expanding and upgrading at the same time.

A 77-room Holiday Inn Express opened last month at Route 20 and New Boston Road, and as soon as September, work will begin on a new building with 28 hotel rooms at the Publick House.

The $6.5-million expansion at the Publick House Historic Inn will add a farmhouse-like building on Sturbridge Common next to the inn's main house. The building will replace a small barn and will be designed to look like an old-fashioned home with a wraparound porch and an adjoining red barn. It will become the inn's new main arrival point for guests.

The inn, which dates to 1771, last expanded with the Chamberlain House - also designed to look like it's been there for centuries - in 2015. That project added 20 rooms.

The size of the Public House will remain about the same, general manager Michael Glick said. The inn will stop using one of three buildings in its motel-like Country Lodge area, which makes up 63 of its 100 or so total rooms, he said.

The expansion, to be complete by October 2018, is aimed in particular at business travelers who might go more for new accommodations versus the Country Lodge or the inn's older rooms, Glick said Thursday. Zoning limits the inn's total room count to 125.

Just under a mile away, on the other side of Route 84, a Holiday Inn opened last month at the site of the former American Motor Lodge. The $16-million hotel is owned and operated by Jay Patel, whose family also runs the Hampton Inn in Auburn.

Patel made it through an arduous five-year planning and permitting process for the hotel, and will need further permitting for a planned Panera Bread on the same site. Several other retail uses are also envisioned.

The Patels have a long history of hotel ownership in Sturbridge. In the past, they've owned and operated the Motel 8 in Northborough, and the Econo Lodge, Rodeway Inn and Days Inn in Sturbridge, the last of which was damaged by the 2011 tornado and ultimately demolished.

Jay Patel is running the new Holiday Inn with his two sons, Jaimin and Shashin, and brother Kay.

"We're not big, but we're not small," Jay Patel said of the family's hotel operations.

The hotel has a modern design inside, with amenities including a fitness room, pool, laundry room and a 3,000-square-foot banquet hall. The exterior is designed to blend in better with the town's colonial past.

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