WARSAW — In any other situation, it might just be a hotel opening.

But if you’ve lived in Wyoming County, you’ll probably know why officials are celebrating. And why the village’s new Microtel is so welcome.

The location has checked out about 30 rooms since it opened on June 17 and has already booked four wedding parties. The opening represents the end of a 17-year saga while simultaneously giving the county its first name-brand hotel — something that’s long been on its wish list.

Area officials toured the new hotel Wednesday morning to see exactly what it offers. And the verdict was “Wonderful.”

“I got here on Aug. 1, 2014 and it was one of the first projects we started,” said Bill Daly, the county’s director of Planning and Development. “We had hits and misses going along the way. The IDA paid for a survey to be done on how a hotel would function in this community and it was outstanding. So we moved forth.”

“It’s been a top economic development priority for the county probably for the past 10 years,” said Executive Director James Pierce of the Wyoming County IDA. “We actively marketed for a hotel developer to come here, based on the strength of the feasibility study. Believe it or not, it was an old-fashioned, direct mail postcard that drew the attention of Indus Hospitality Group.”

The saga began in September 2003 when the former Manor Oak nursing home went bankrupt and shut down. It quickly deteriorated into an eyesore while two separate development projects stalled and failed.

Nearby residents and passersby were forced in the meantime to look at an ugly eyesore over the years that followed. County officials continued to search for a hotel opportunity in the meantime, noting the business lost to the other closet locations.

If you were visiting Letchworth State Park or arriving for a wedding, the closest name-brand hotels were in Batavia and Mount Morris.

The Microtel project was of such importance that it received a $1 million Rebuild New York grant in 2018 to make it a reality. Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul attended the start of demolition on the old nursing home last summer and the Microtel was constructed in its place.

“This is huge for Wyoming County to have something of this nature and this size as an economic development project,” said President Scott Gardner. “It’s tremendous for Wyoming County and the village of Warsaw.”

The three-story hotel has 67 rooms ranging from singles to suites. Each features a queen-size bed, bathroom facilities and other amenities, with the suites also featuring couches, a refrigerator and more.

The hotel has a small store, a fitness area, guest laundry facilities, and a meeting room which can be rented out separately. A select number of rooms are equipped to meet special needs such as people who use wheelchairs, or those who have hearing impairments.

How has the opening gone?

“It’s gone very well and the community has been very receptive,” said General Manager Hunter Doran.

As with any business in the current era, the Microtel is taking steps to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. After a guest leaves, the hotel waits 24 hours before even sending housekeeping staff inside to clean and sanitize, among other precautions.

Guests will also be provided with hand sanitizer.

Ultimately, it provides the county with a top-notch, branded hotel, with the economic development it represents and the ability to attract visitors, Gardner said.

“The value is incalculable,” he said. “To go from what we had in this spot for almost 20 years with nothing going on, to now we have a branded hotel in Wyoming County, it’s very exciting.”

Johnson Newspapers 7.1