BUCKHANNON – What’s happening at the Hampton Inn?
If you’ve been pondering that question as you pass by the Huddle House and former Hampton Inn property along U.S. Route 33, you won’t be wondering much longer.
The hotel, which closed its doors near the end of March, is set to open as a Comfort Inn & Suites before September’s end.
Choice Hotels International is the franchisor of Comfort Inn & Suites, Quality Inn, EconoLodge, Sleep Inn, Clarion, Cambria Hotels and the Ascend Hotel Collection, among other hotel brands.
Pearl Amaechi, public relations coordinator for Choice Hotels, said the Buckhannon Comfort Inn & Suites is expected to open in several weeks.
“The hotel’s contract is in place, and the hotel is on track to open as a Comfort Inn & Suites,” she said in an email to My Buckhannon. “The hotel will open before the end of September, if not a little sooner, but there is no specific date as they are still working to get the hotel set up and meet certain milestones.”
Comfort Inn & Suites’ address will be 1 Commerce Blvd. in Buckhannon – the same address that was listed for the former Hampton Inn.
Locally, the manager of the new Comfort Inn & Suites, Bob Pratt, was on the property to survey progress Tuesday. Although he’d hoped the hotel would open sooner, the target opening date is now in several weeks, hopefully by the end of September, he said.
Pratt’s no stranger to the property, having also worked as the manager of the Hampton Inn.
He explained that the franchise owner, KSM Hotels in Pennsylvania, terminated its contract with Hampton Inn and opted to convert the property into a Comfort Inn & Suites, and right now, changing out the signage is the project in the forefront of Pratt’s mind.
“Most of the changes inside won’t be made until February  when we’ll change out all the soft goods – the bedding, etc.,” Pratt said. “Right now, it’s basically about getting the signage changed, and then the rest of it, they’re doing that after we reopen.”
“KSM Hotels owned the franchise for the Hampton, and then they terminated that and turned it into Comfort Inn & Suites with Choice, but it’s the same people who owned the property in the past,” he added.
The Hampton Inn’s last day of operation fell in the second to last week in March, Pratt said.
Amaechi said Choice Hotels is a franchised company, so it doesn’t own the hotels, just the brands. She said as of June 30, 2020, about 50 Choice-branded hotels were currently open in West Virginia.
“In terms of upcoming activity, there is a hotel in Charleston, W.Va. that is converting to a Comfort/Quality Inn dual-branded property at the end of October,” Amaechi said.
According to its website, Choice Hotels International currently franchises over 7,000 hotels in more than 40 countries and territories.