The Mount Vernon Grand Hotel has announced its opening day – and already has its first reservations.
The new hotel is scheduled to open on Sept. 4. The first occupants will be MVNU President Dr. Henry Spaulding, along with several members of the University’s Board of Trustees.
Also staying that first night will be Amy Dubusky, an MVNU grad who now works in the Education Department, and her 8-year-old daughter Taylor, who were personally invited by Spaulding when he heard how excited Taylor was about the new hotel.
Director of Facilities Operations Denny Taylor said the hotel’s Victorian style will inspire a feeling of luxury.
Victorian-style features are a winding staircase, a fireplace in the parlor area and an old-fashioned wood stove.
The front doors are made of both stained glass and reclaimed wood from a walnut tree that fell on campus during a windstorm.
Another attractive feature is the curved windows on the top floor, which Taylor Dubusky is especially excited about “because they look like castle windows.”
The hotel’s amenities will include free Wi-Fi for guests, a state-of-the-art business center, a breakfast room and a workout room with a treadmill and elliptical machine.
The new hotel will be managed by CUSA, a Christian-owned firm based in Georgia. The group also manages The Boone Tavern owned by Berea College in Kentucky.
MVNU Chief Financial Officer Dr. Bob Hamill visited The Boone Tavern this past summer and found it to be “quaint, charming, and first-class” and hopes visitors to the Mount Vernon Grand Hotel will feel the same way.
Nightly rates will top out at $159, with prices varying based on the season and demand. The hotel expects to turn profit in its first year since the facilities are fully paid for.
The biggest benefit the hotel will offer besides profit potential is the exposure that it gains for the school as the most predominant building downtown.
The addition of the hotel will “put MVNU into a higher class of universities who own and operate their own hotels,” Spaulding said.
Another benefit is potential jobs for students. The initial staffing plan calls for 15-20 full-time employees.
Hotel management hopes to hire students for some positions, but that decision will be finalized later this summer.
In addition, MVNU’s School of Business will develop a degree in hospitality management.
The hotel, going up at the site of the former Curtis Inn downtown, is one of the largest gifts in MVNU’s history, surpassed only by Ariel Arena.
The Curtis Inn was purchased by Ariel Corp. in Fall of 2013. The property was razed last year, and the new hotel started going up soon after. All of the demolition and work on the new building is being paid for by Ariel.