BRATTLEBORO — Several members of the community were on hand to check out the new indoor pool, hot tub, saunas and gym facility at the Colonial Motel and Spa during its grand opening Tuesday, Nov. 17.
The new four-lane lap pool was expected to be complete within three months, but, according to Colonial Motel owner, Sam Patel, it evolved into a year-long project due to setbacks from the state. Despite some of the obstacles that were thrown his way, he has reached his goals.
"I have a back problem and swimming is nowadays just about the only thing I can do in terms of exercise," said John Sommer, of Dummerston, who has been swimming at the Colonial Motel since its first pool opened. "It's nice to have a deeper pool where your hands don't touch the bottom while you're swimming; it's nice to have the line down the middle, and nice to have dedicated lap lanes so you can come anytime except for the morning."
Though the grand opening was hosted Tuesday afternoon, Patel said they have allowed their members to use the new facilities within the past five days.
"It's a place where people really come together," said spa manager, Karin Descoteaux. "It's a very eclectic group because we have people in their 60s and 70s and then we teach 7-month-old babies how to swim."
This new addition allows customers to swim laps without sharing the space with people in swim lessons, physical therapy or water aerobics.
"This pool is for people who have been members for many years and have been extremely patient in sharing the other pool as multi-purpose space," said Descoteaux. "Many of them are athletes, people who swim competitively or swim as their main hobby for exercise and health."
Memberships fees vary according to duration. A day pass is $9 for children and $15 for adults. The one month fee is $80.14 and the annual fee is $533. Loyalty membership includes an initial fee of $95.40 and then additional $47.70 per month with a one-year contract. One membership allows access to the pools, hot tub, gym and sauna.
According to Patel, some of the year-long setbacks from the state included redesign of the entire pool, acquiring different permits and some architectural details.
"We've weathered everything they've thrown at us, so here we are and that's all that matters," said Patel.
Patel is an engineer by degree from Northeastern University, but became interested in the hotel business later on. In 2013 he was looking for a piece of property that had a lot of value in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. After Patel visited the Colonial Motel and Spa he was drawn to its history. He recognized that the building was in need of renovations, but he found that the amenities had a lot of potential and value.
Patel went through several banks until the Savings Bank of Walpole, N.H., gave them a loan.
"Not only did they see the value in this, but they also saw our vision, what we could make this place to be," said Patel. "This place used to have a family feel and we wanted to bring that back."
He said they are trying to make the space feel more "homey" by hiring a welcoming staff and improving the atmosphere. Patel thinks their amenities and renovations have helped them accomplish some of their goals.
"We still have a lot of work to do here," said Patel. "We still need some work with the air conditioners, windows, doors and their locks." Patel would like to upgrade the keys to electronic locks and he believes that the Putney Inn, which he purchased in 2014, is where the Colonial Motel will be in the next three to four years.
"Vishal (Patel's brother-in-law) and Karin are the two people who have really drove this project, they have been here just about every day," said Patel
After Patel thanked his guests for coming out to see the spa's latest upgrades, he invited them to enjoy some cocktails and hors d'oeuvres at the Tavern Restaurant.
"It's been great to work with Sam and Vishal, they do a phenomenal job and they are both very well established in this industry," said Vice President and Commercial Loan Officer at Saving Bank of Walpole, Chris Kebalka. "We've learned about the Star Report and how the motel works in relation to different investment properties that we are use to."