First county extended-stay hotel opens

  • Above, a suite at the Homewood Suites in Hadley during the grand opening last Thursday. Bottom left, a bedroom in one of the hotel’s rooms. Bottom right, a view of the suite from the kitchen. STAFF PHOTOS/CAROL LOLLIS

  • A suit at the Homewood Suites in Hadley during the grand opening Thursday, May 23,2019. —STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • The exercise room at the Homewood Suites. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • A suit at the Homewood Suites. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • The pool at the Homewood Suites. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Bedroom at the Homewood Suites in Hadley. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • The meeting room at the Homewood Suites in Hadley during the grand opening Thursday, May 23,2019. —STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Shardool Parmar, president of the Pioneer Valley Hotel Group speaking at the Homewood Suites in Hadley during the grand opening Thursday, May 23,2019. —STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Shardool Parmar, president of the Pioneer Valley Hotel Group speaking at the Homewood Suites in Hadley during the grand opening Thursday, May 23,2019. —STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • The Homewood Suites in Hadley during the grand opening Thursday, May 23,2019. —STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • The Homewood Suites in Hadley during the grand opening last Thursday. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Shardool Parmar, president of the Pioneer Valley Hotel Group speaking at the Homewood Suites in Hadley during the grand opening. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • The Homewood Suites in Hadley during a grand opening last Thursday. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

Staff Writer
Published: 5/26/2019 9:32:09 PM

HADLEY — Full kitchens featuring stoves, refrigerators and dishwashers, and living rooms with sofas, end tables and television sets, are included in all 96 guest rooms at Hampshire County’s first extended-stay hotel.

Opened in late April on Route 9 in the Home Depot plaza, Homewood Suites is indicative of a new trend in the hospitality industry in which hotel guests are seeking more amenities, as operators compete with the diversity of accommodations available through Airbnb.

“We identified a need in the area and filled the need,” said Shardool Parmar, president of the Pioneer Valley Hotel Group, which already operates two other Route 9 hotels, the Hampton Inn and the Rodeway Inn.

“Extended stay has done well everywhere,” Parmar said of the Homewood Suites model. “What we’ve seen is people want comfort, not just the least expensive room.”

In fact, the rates for one person to stay in studios or suites at the new hotel ranged from $180 to $199 on Friday. By comparison, similar rooms at Hampton Inn were available for $135, while Rodeway Inn’s rooms were going for $75.

Parmar said the aim is to meet the needs of both the traveler staying overnight, or for a much longer period, such as a person displaced from a home undergoing a renovation or visiting the region for several weeks.

While unique to this area, that may not be the case for much longer, as last week the Hadley Planning Board began a site plan hearing on another Parmar project, Towneplace Suites by Marriott, that would replace the Rodeway Inn. That project would include 77 extended-stay rooms in two, three-story buildings, though Parmar said these will be smaller units.

The appeal of projects like Homewood Suites and Towneplace Suites is the flexibility they provide guests, said Atul Sheel, associate chair of the department of hospitality and tourism management at the Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts.

Available in time for families coming to local commencements, Sheel said he could see them being used by visiting scholars from across the globe, who need temporary accommodations that suit their needs.

“They are looking for a property at which they can stay,” Sheel said.

Parmar said even though the new hotel can be seen as a response to Airbnb, guests are getting a name brand, a more regulated experience, as well as an indoor swimming pool and fitness room.

As part of this new demand for longer stays, the Hampshire Hospitality Group is making adjustments at one of its properties, the University Lodge, at the edge of the UMass campus, where it will offer long-term studio rooms to students for the semester or the full academic year beginning this fall.

Mansour Ghalibaf, who runs Hotel Northampton and Fairfield Inn & Suites, both in Northampton, said outside influences, such as Airbnb, are having an impact on the hotel business.

“It changes the whole landscape in terms of hospitality,” Ghalibaf said, adding that these sorts of changes happen every few years.

The addition of Homewood Suites means an expansion to Hampshire County’s hotel room inventory, which among conventional hotels now totals at least 800, counting those owned by Ghalibaf, the Courtyard Marriott, Holiday Inn Express, Econolodge and Howard Johnson, managed by Hampshire Hospitality and a handful of others, such as the Knights Inn in Hadley and the Quality Inn and Suites in Northampton.

Ghalibaf said there is some risk when adding to the number of rooms, noting that during commencements there can be a shortage, but there are also several slow months each year. He would prefer to “keep the balance” that exists.

“It is still strong, the economy is working, but it’s a little overbuilt,” Ghalibaf said.

Sheel, though, said he doesn’t believe that a new hotel is oversaturating the market. “In terms of the need, definitely there is a need,” Sheel said.

He has confidence in experienced hoteliers. “One property on the Route 9 corridor will fit in fine, that is my guess,” Sheel said.

Sheel said UMass, as well as the other colleges, continue to drive the demand for rooms, as does the MGM Casino in Springfield, which is becoming a regional destination.

Claudia Pazmany, executive director of the Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce, said a major source of inquiry from visitors is where they should make hotel reservations. “Demand is strong for lodging,” Pazmany said.

The new hotel generates 40 percent of its power through solar panels that cover about 90 percent of the roof.

Pazmany, who oversaw a ceremonial ribbon cutting at Homewood Suites last week, is excited because it offers another venue at which meetings can be held, as well as a new type of room for people visiting. “We want to get peoplehere to stay and to enjoy the area,” Pazmany said.

Scott Merzbach can bereached at smerzbach@gazettenet.com.


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