n-Site Hotel Proving a
Boon to University Community
By Claudia G. Chamberlain
ore and more faculty, staff, and visitors to the University are taking the yellow brick road that leads straight to the new Nathan Hale Inn & Conference Center in Storrs.
Open less than a year, the Inn is fast becoming a valued next-door neighbor to the University, its number one business client.
"The Inn is getting on people's radar screen and University departments are continuing to discover it in different ways," says Dale Dreyfuss, vice chancellor of business and administration.
Dreyfuss says parents also are delighted to be able to stay overnight on campus, and the Inn has become a popular and convenient place for people doing business with UConn.
"We've been sold out for commencement weekend for more than two months," says David Kornfeld, the Inn's general manager and a 20-year veteran of the hotel industry. "People are happy there's a facility on campus instead of having to travel to Manchester, Vernon, or Willimantic."
The UConn men's basketball team has given the Inn a high score, selecting the facility for its annual banquet that was held May 1.
Lewis Perkins, Director of Athletics, confirms that the Inn has become a popular place for sports and athletic-related activities and business.
"We're using the Inn in different ways," he says. "Our coaches have been holding recruiting dinners there, athletic recruits have been staying there, and we're recommending opposing teams stay there when they play at Storrs."
Richard L. Schwab, dean of education, has already turned to the Inn several times since its opening in mid-October.
"I've used the Inn to entertain donors before basketball events and have used the conference facilities there for a recent administrato r strategic planning retreat," says Schwab.
He's pleased with the Inn's friendly and attentive staff.
This summer Schwab will again turn to the Inn for a range of conference activities that includes the School's annual Confratute, a conference that attracts educators of the gifted and talented from around the world.
"We have many of the rooms booked for several weeks for a range of conference activities this summer," says Schwab. "In the past we've had to spread all our visitors around northeastern Connecticut and still would not be able to house them in such nice facilities."
Another frequent visitor to the Inn is the University's math department.
"We regularly have visitors stay there," says Charles Vinsonhaler, professor and department head. "Last fall, we hosted a gathering of world-class mathematicians and we couldn't have done this without the Inn."
In an effort to get better known within the University community, the Inn's marketing department has begun hosting a series of informal receptions. Last month, over cocktails and hors d'oeuvres, invited guests from nine University departments shared a pleasant evening that included a tour of the facilities along with a mini presentation. More receptions will follow in coming months.
Tucked away behind the South Campus residence complex, the 100-room hotel houses a business center, five conference rooms, and a restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner.
In a special partnership with the University, the Inn now manages the reservation of the ballroom space in Rome Commons.
Although the University's catering operation will continue to service all events in the Rome Commons Ballroom, the first point of contact for reserving this space has been shifted to the Inn's conference sales department. Following the reservation, the University's catering office steps in to plan all event details with customers.
"The philosophy behind this arrangement is that by allowing the Inn to manage the bookings in the ballroom, they are better able to use the ballroom in conjunction with their own meeting space to attract conference groups to the Inn," says Robert Seguin, UConn's catering coordinator with Dining Services. "By helping to create a business environment in which the Inn can succeed, the
University benefits from having a full-service hotel on campus."
To reserve the Rome Commons Ballroom, contact the Inn's conference sales department at (860) 427-7888.