NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Following a soft opening for special guests over the last couple of weeks, the iconic Fredonia Hotel is today officially open to the general public.
"People are just so excited for it to be back," said manager Bud DeWitt. "It's such a huge part of Nacogdoches."
DeWitt is pleased guests' anticipation of a $2.5 million renovation is over. The doors opened, but with no fanfare.
"We're open," DeWitt said. "We're ready for people to start coming in here."
Service by a Forbes-trained staff is the emphasis. Nametags don't have titles, but instead feature the wearer's hometown. What better way to start up a Texas-friendly conversation with guests.
The goal is a four-star hotel rating,
"It's definitely a lofty goal, but we set high goals so we can achieve them," DeWitt said.
DeWitt says the devil is in the details.
The modern mid-century designs, furnishings, and even Frank Sinatra music piped in provide the nostalgia of its original opening in 1955.
"I was a little worried on some of this stuff, but it all worked out," DeWitt said. "It looks great, I think."
The re-opening of the Nine Flags Business Center is plenty hip enough for millennials.
"There's a lot of memories here and that's what we're here to do," DeWitt said. "We're here to create some more memories."
In the atrium a wall sculpture pays homage to the memory of a long-standing tree. So do handcrafted bowls made from its wood.
Bar tables are made from a pecan tree removed from the pool area, where stately trees still grow. The past isn't forgotten, while the future begins.
Probably the biggest transformation at The Fredonia Hotel is The Terrace. What used to be a parking lot now has a grassy lawn, a beautiful swimming pool, gardens and even a big screen TV.
"When you're already diving this deep into it, you might as well do it the right way," DeWitt said.
The right way was the DeWitt's mantra to local contractors and staff. It leads to no disappointment for guests at the 1st City Cafe accustomed to lunch at the hotel.
The only change may be the menu, right along with the weather.
"Seasonally, that's the idea," said Doug Atkinson, the Fredonia Hotel chef. "Whatever the bounty provides us."
Overnight guests can choose from a wide selection of rooms.
"We have 14 different room types," DeWitt said. "We have about four suites."
This weekend is booked. Reservations are coming in fast.
"It can be anywhere from $139 to $259 with the suites," DeWitt said.
For now the DeWitts say profit isn't a concern. Their paycheck is seeing The Fredonia Hotel serve those from afar to those just down the street. The Fredonia Hotel guests are once again saying, "I'll meet you at the hotel."
One restaurant is open to guests. A steak house and convention center are still undergoing renovations and should be open later this year.