Former Chinook Motel, once condemned and now refurbished, open for business with new look, outlook
Holiday Lodge partners Balbir Singh, left, and his son, Gurpreet Singh, show off one of the rooms in the newly refurbished motel at First and Ennis streets in Port Angeles. -- Photo by Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News
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The 1950s-era motel opened last Wednesday.
Father and son owners Balbir and Gurpreet Singh bought the property in late January.
The pair, through their company, Holiday Lodge LLC, paid $700,000 for the property and have worked since to renovate both the outside of the motel and the interiors of all 53 rooms.
They had hoped to open at the end of June.
“It took a little longer than expected, but that’s how remodeling goes sometimes,” Gurpreet Singh said Tuesday.
He estimated the motel had seen between 40 and 50 guests so far since it opened, with some staying multiple nights.
Freshly painted crimson red doors, which replaced the Chinook’s forest green color, are the most visible changes to the motel’s two buildings near the intersection of First and Ennis streets.
Renovations also can be seen indoors. Rooms are equipped with new dark blue carpet, paint, furniture and 32-inch flat-screen TVs.
The motel, once widely considered an eyesore, was condemned by the city and closed in 2009 under then-owner William Youtef.
Aihab Gerges inherited the property from Youtef, his uncle, when Youtef died in March 2012.
Gerges lived on the property with his wife, Awatef, after his uncle’s death and sold the motel to the Singhs in January.
The Chinook Motel was once particularly known for its swimming pool, though it had to be filled in with dirt last August by order of the city as part of nuisance-abatement work on the property.
Gurpreet Singh said the long-term plan is to rebuild the pool, though it likely will wait until the motel has been opened for a while.
The Holiday Lodge’s rooms have either one, two or three beds, Gurpreet Singh said, with the one- and two-bedroom rooms being the most common.
The rooms come with free wireless Internet access and “more than enough [TV] channels to keep you busy,” Singh said.
One-bedroom rooms cost $50 per night, two-bedroom rooms cost $55 and three-bedroom rooms $65, Balbir Singh said, all taxes included.
The Singhs said these prices, though not meant to be permanent, are meant to attract customers to the new motel and will last at least until the summer ends.
After the Holiday Lodge opened at 8 a.m. last Wednesday, two women visiting Port Angeles stopped in at about 5 p.m. wanting to be the Holiday Lodge’s first customers, Gurpreet Singh said.
The woman had reservations for another hotel in town, Gurpreet Singh said, but checked in for one night at the Holiday Lodge and even asked to get their pictures taken with Gurpreet and his father.
“They wanted to be the first customers, and they were the first,” Gurpreet Singh said with a chuckle.
“They were just so enthusiastic about it.”
Gurpreet and his father said they’ve received warm receptions from their new neighbors along First Street and to the south, both businesses and residents alike.
Neighbors have left words of welcome, greeting cards and celebratory balloons, Balbir Singh added, the latter of which could be seen Tuesday floating gently in the southeast corner of the motel’s lobby.
One neighbor even asked for brochures he could pass out to friends, Balbir Singh said, though the elder Singh and his son have not printed any.
“It makes me feel happy, but I’m not ready for that,” Balbir Singh said with a laugh.
Balbir Singh said he and his son are working front desk duty, though they eventually plan to hire a full-time employee so the desk can be staffed 24 hours a day.
For now, Balbir said, he and Gurpreet take their daily desk duty responsibilities as opportunities to complete various finishing touches around the motel, such as hanging drapes.
“Right now, we work, and every day we find something new to do,” Balbir Singh said.
Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at email@example.com.
Last modified: August 20. 2013 6:17PM