We're really excited about the idea of a hotel in downtown Kirkland. Steve and I have been saying for years that there's a need for one. When people come to town the choices are pretty much The Woodmark, the Totem Lake strand or the south edge of Kirkland. This idea is nothing less than a stroke of brilliance.
Don Holt and business partner Bill Corbett of Corbett Holt Properties will not take the credit, though. They have owned the property at 220 Kirkland Avenue since 1981 (where businesses such as The Grape Choice previously resided). Don said, "About 5 years ago, big hotel chains started approaching us about buying the property. You don't have to hit me over the head with a stick to realize they might be onto something." Don willingly admits that he is not a hotel guy. So, they brought in folks like the Heathman Investment Group that have lots of hotel experience and own The Heathman in Portland. The manager of that Heathman, Jeff Jobe, will be re-locating his family to manage the new hotel here. So, although he considers himself a customer and not a hotelier, Don has done a good job surrounding himself with top notch hotel folks.
On to the vision. Don's passionate about creating a hotel that will enhance downtown Kirkland, not compete with it. I was impressed to learn that he went to some of the neighborhood groups to ask what is important to them. Brilliant again- ask the people! He's hoping that by incorporating some of their thoughts and ideas, that the citizens of Kirkland will embrace The Heathman as OUR hotel.
The thought is for it to have a "Kirkland feel" so you can be comfortable walking in with a tie or jeans (I'm hoping not at the same time, that look went out in the 80's). He wants to employ local people and use local vendors when possible. And the focus will be on what he calls "high touch." Imagine pulling up your car and the valet takes you and your luggage straight to your room-there's no front desk or lines to bother with. And he knows what temperature you like your room and that you prefer a firm mattress and extra pillows-just like the ones you loved on your last visit. Because they remember your preferences and focus on personalized service. This same person can make your dinner reservations or spa appointment or check on which of the 5 meeting rooms you're supposed to be in. Kind of like that personal assistant you never had.
The hotel itself will have 91 rooms on four floors. You can click here for some sketches of what the hotel will look like, and there is also a live webcam on the construction site. Sketches are also posted at the Kirkland Hotel Group's office at 121 Lake St. Some of the hotel suites will have views and hot tubs on the deck where you could even view a baseball game at Lee Johnson Field. There will be 121 underground parking spots, some of which will be used for public parking (approx $1/hr). Pricing for rooms is still TBD and we can expect to see The Heathman opening in the Spring of 2007. I think this hotel will fit in nicely with our little downtown. Yet another perk- its customers will create more foot traffic for our downtown businesses. Everyone wins. ~Janis