November 2008

Main Street Inn and Spa: Home away from home

Author: Paul deVere | Photographer: photography by anne

“I didn’t even know you were here!”

That comment is good news to Denise Hatcher, general manager of Main Street Inn & Spa. That means another person has “discovered” her unusual property. Unusual, that is, for Hilton Head Island, noted for its beachfront hotels, luxury homes and large resort communities. Located at 2200 Main Street, the inn is tucked back off the road, slightly hidden by a low, vine-covered wall. A guest does not walk up to a traditional front desk to register. Rather, the main door opens into a parlor.

“We want this to be their home away from home,” Hatcher said of the 33-room inn. Based on the awards this small, luxury hotel has received, Hatcher is succeeding. The property was recently received Expedia’s Insiders’ Select Award. Hotels on this list represent the top one percent on the Expedia network sites, based on guest feedback, overall value, and input from Expedia experts.

Main Street Inn has also received the AAA four diamond award. Mobil gave it four stars. Country Inns magazine put it as one of the year’s “Top 10.” And it has been featured in publications from Southern Living to the New York Post.

Main Street Inn & Spa has the feeling of an intimate bed and breakfast. Each room is furnished differently, right down to the down comforters and period French furniture. If there is any comparison to be made, think the finest Charleston and Savannah “B&B.” In fact, each night’s stay at Main Street Inn does include breakfast.

“Our breakfasts are also open to the public,” explained Richard Williamson, assistant general manager. He says that real estate agents like to have visiting clients stay at the inn. “The agent comes over for breakfast and takes clients out into the courtyard to have a meeting.”

The courtyard is another feature guests find especially appealing, Hatcher said. It includes manicured gardens, walking paths, benches for relaxation, a lap pool and whirlpool. “Guests find it very refreshing,” she said.

What guests also find refreshing is the “spa” portion of the inn. In keeping with the intimate atmosphere of Main Street Inn, the spa services and treatments are delivered on a small scale. “In our one-room spa, we can accommodate two people for our popular couple’s massage. There is also a hydrotherapy soaking tub. We have six spa therapists on call who will be here with about an hour’s notice,” Hatcher explained.

Guests can also choose to have a massage in their rooms due to the large bathrooms. The inn has four suites. All include Jacuzzis. And three of the four have private courtyards for outdoor massages.

Both Hatcher and Williamson say that the greatest appeal to guests is its ability to offer such personal service. “This is a small, intimate setting. Many people these days want the extra attention. They don’t want to be lost in a large hotel. We know guests by their first name; we know their wine preferences,” said Hatcher.

“Right now we’re training our staff to talk to the guests,” Williamson said. “Here guests get to interact with everyone.”

“We all become concierges, from the general manager to our breakfast cook to housekeeping to therapists,” added Hatcher. It is that kind of personal touch that Hatcher truly believes sets the property apart and gives an example of the “extras” Main Street Inn is able to provide.

“We had a guest coming in who wanted to know if could do something special, because it was her boyfriend’s birthday. It was going to be a surprise. We told her we would have a birthday cake and champagne waiting for him. She told us he really liked chocolate. So, instead of the typical turndown chocolate we have, we got some very special chocolate for his room,” Hatcher related. “We can do that.”

What the inn can also do, and does often, is weddings. A wedding party can book all 33 rooms, and retain bragging rights. “You can tell your great aunt Bessie, whom you haven’t seen in years, she missed the social event of the century. You can say, ‘We booked the whole hotel!’ [Aunt Bessie] doesn’t have to know there are just 33 rooms,” Hatcher laughed.

She says one of the main reasons that weddings, and other events, have gone so well at Main Street Inn is because of the special relationship she has with the catering and event planning service, Celebration Events. “We have a great relationship with them. I don’t want to be here until 10 or 11 o’clock at night, wondering if the chef showed up. So we have a partnership with Celebration Events. They do what they do best and we do what we do best. We take care of the guests—every need they have. Celebration Events takes care of the rest.”

Hatcher is also proud of the relationship that the inn has developed with islanders, such as residents of neighboring Hilton Head Plantation. “They use us, especially during the holidays, for family. We’re already booked for Thanksgiving, and it will probably be the same for Christmas,” she said. Local businesses also use the inn for business meetings and accommodations for their guests. “We really appreciate that support.”

There is “something magical,” as Hatcher describes it, about Main Street Inn. Not too long ago, an island resident flew his friends in to help him celebrate his 50th birthday. “He put them up here for a week. One came all the way from Lima, Peru,” Williamson recalled.

Another kind of celebration recently took place at an afternoon tea, Hatcher says. “An islander was celebrating with friends the number of years she has been cancer-free.”

Both Hatcher and Williamson want Main Street Inn & Spa to feel like the guest’s home away from home—a place where guests can feel free to play the piano in the Avalon Room or celebrate weddings and birthdays, or pull out the chess board or deck of cards for a friendly game. Yet when the Inn, in the last instance, was selected to celebrate a life, maybe it has become, not “home away,” but simply home.

Festiva Resorts manages Main Street Inn & Spa. Festiva is a privately held vacation ownership and hotel and resort management company, based in Asheville, North Carolina.

  1. Here you go!


    — The Struhalas    Dec 2, 04:45 pm   

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