Gold Miners Inn breaking ties with Holiday Inn Express | TheUnion.com

Gold Miners Inn breaking ties with Holiday Inn Express

General Manager Sean Gilleran stands behind Gold Miners Inn's new distressed wood bar, the first step in an overhaul of the hotel. On April 21, Gold Miners Inn will break from Holiday Inn Express. The project is expected to last until the end of the year and cost around $1 million.

Imagine making your first trip to the Gold Country.

Maybe you catch a show at the Center for the Arts after a day in historic Nevada City, then you return to your hotel and it's exactly like the one you stayed at on your Disneyland trip six months ago.

Current management thinks that is a mood killer.

That's been the reality for guests of the Holiday Inn Express Gold Miners Inn since the hotel opened seven years ago.

Soon, visitors will enjoy a different experience, one that reflects Nevada County's rich history and the old Chinese camp on which the hotel is built.

On April 21, the hotel will simply be known as the Gold Miners Inn.

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That's when a 10-year agreement signed with Holiday Inn during development expires. The name is not the only change coming. The hotel is currently undergoing a nearly $1 million facelift that transforms the current cookie-cutter model into something with the feel of a boutique hotel.

Changes include a complete redesign of guest rooms, bathrooms and suites, new conference and event center furnishings and decor, an upgraded Great Room and breakfast area with new buffet dining options and a smoothie bar.

At night guests will be served an upgraded selection of snacks, beers, alcohol and wines.

CONSTRUCTION

"We're basically taking the hotel apart and putting it back together again," General Manager Sean Gilleran said.

Construction has already started with a distressed barn wood overhaul of the bar. The first phase will continue throughout the bottom floor. Once the lobby, reception desk, breakfast area, Great Room, and bar are finished, construction will move upstairs. The project should be finished by the end of the year.

The guest room remodeling will start with the bathrooms, which will include marble tops, then move to the bedrooms, which will be completely refurbished. One floor will include Chinese accents that celebrate the history of the Chinese camp, and Gold Rush accents will be common throughout the hotel.

The renovation will give the hotel a completely new feel, but that's not the lone priority, Gilleran said.

"It's not so much the identity, it's, 'What are you doing to service the guest? Is the guest happy with what you're providing? Can we take it to the next level?' That's the kind of stuff we're looking at."

WHY THE SPLIT?

Nevada County has an historic identity.

Holiday Inn has a lot of rules.

Those rules have been a constraint on the Gold Miners Inn's ability to adapt to the area, both from an aesthetic and customer service point of view.

"Holiday Inn brands have a level of service they deliver," Gilleran said. "There are things they require, like you don't have a bar in a Holiday Inn Express. You don't have a meeting room in a Holiday Inn Express. It works very well for a brand of hotels.

"But when you start looking at, 'Gee, I want to do more for service for the guest,' we call it guest-centric. You want the guest to have a foothills experience. You want them to come up here and not say, 'Oh yeah, that's the same egg I ate wherever.'"

The hotel opened in the middle of the recession and spent the first four or five years gaining its footing. For the past three years, the decision makers started to realize breaking free of Holiday Inn's limitations could be a boon to the hotel.

"We have a unique opportunity. We feel like we've developed strong community ties," Gilleran said. "We've supported the arts up here. We've done all the stuff we do in town. So let's find something where we have a reservation system, have access to the outside world, but we aren't constrained to only go to a certain level."

To contact Staff Writer Stephen Roberson, email sroberson@theunion.com or call 530-477-4236.