Area hotel works on renovations
BY WILLIAM F. WEST
Monday, April 22, 2019
The Rocky Mount Comfort Inn is undergoing a major exterior renovation.
"The outside hasn't been redone in about the 25 years that the Comfort Inn has been here," General Manager Shamane Bazemore said. "So, it looked a little outdated."
Comfort Inns, franchised by Maryland-based Choice Hotels International, have been in a transformation called "Move to Modern," complete with new signage.
Bazemore said work on the Rocky Mount Comfort Inn's exterior began approximately four months ago and said hopes are to complete the project in another month. Bazemore said the hotel's 125 rooms underwent a renovation and an update last year.
She said guests have come in and asked, "Well, did I stay here last year?" She said she responds by telling them, "You did. It just looks different — and it's kind of hard to tell."
"I think when it's all said and done, the Comfort Inn exterior is going to look amazing," she said.
The Comfort Inn is at 200 Gateway Blvd. on the southeast side of the U.S. 64-Winstead Avenue interchange, which is the first U.S. 64 exit for Rocky Mount east of Interstate 95.
Bazemore said much of the Comfort Inn's business is from snowbirds — northerners spending the night en route to a vacation destination in Florida or en route back from the Sunshine State.
"Our busiest time of the year is right now, from about March all the way until October," she said.
The hotel is owned by Ken Patel. Bazemore said after the renovation of the exterior is complete, "I think the owner's end result for this property is to of course attract more business and for us to not just be a one-stop for them."
When one phones the lodging establishment, the front-desk person answers by saying, "Thank you for calling the world's greatest Comfort Inn."
And Bazemore said when the caller asks why, the front desk person is to respond by saying, "We're the world's greatest Comfort Inn because of our outstanding breakfast. We have the most comfortable beds in the world and because I'm here."
The hotel provides a free buffet style breakfast for the guests.
The hotel also has a side marketplace selling a variety of items.
"Almost anything you can think of is over there ... almost," Bazemore said with a smile and a laugh.
The hotel also has an indoor fitness center and an outdoor swimming pool.
Bazemore, 32, has been the hotel manager since January and she has 35 employees.
She is from Baltimore and she began working in the hotel business when she was 18 in housekeeping.
She said she worked at various hotels in Maryland before working most recently for a time as a sales manager at a Hilton in the Tucson, Ariz., area.
She works in eastern North Carolina because she married a man who is from Windsor. She and her husband live in Williamston and she makes an approximately 45-minute commute to the hotel.
Of what led to the marriage, she said, "We met through Facebook."
"It was a vegan group. We were both vegan at the time," she said of the online connection and referring to people who abstain from eating or using animal products.