Not many hotels feature their own movie theater and basketball court, but if you have to stay out of town for weeks at a time on business, you might as well enjoy it.
That’s where Raveen Shah comes in.
Owner and general manager of the Staybridge Suites Madison — Fitchburg, Shah has been busy guiding the hotel through its first few weeks of existence. After a busy year of construction, the hotel opened Aug. 22 and celebrated its opening with a ceremonial ribbon-cutting Oct. 6.
So far, the newest and most contemporary extended stay hotel in the area has been filled with guests from Epic and the World Dairy Expo, giving Shah and around 30 staff members a chance right off the bat to show off “one of the flagship properties in the country” for Staybridge.
“There’s a lot of other Staybridges around the country that have some of these things, but we kind of went all out for the guests and and provided a little more than usual,” he said with a wide smile.
The hotel is part of the Intercontinental Hotels Group franchise, which includes the Holiday Inn groups. It’s not only new, it’s large, at five stories, with 100 rooms and banquet space for up to 150 people. The rooms are spacious, with fully equipped kitchens and plenty of storage — even for bicycles.
There are several conference rooms, and a business center with free WiFi is open 24 hours, as is a shopping area. During the week, the hotel serves a free light dinner and happy hour. For guests looking for more entertainment, there is an outdoor putting green and basketball court, small movie theater, indoor pool, gym and outdoor patio and grilling area.
Shah said all the amenities are what customers are looking for in an extended stay hotel.
“People kind of like to settle in, so we go for a feel-like-home kind of mentality,” he said. “We try to cater to guests that stay anywhere from seven nights to as much as a month — and we’ve had some people staying for several months for a project. At the same token, a lot of our business has been corporate clients Monday through Friday, staying three or four nights.”
Shah said so far, large companies in the area like CDW and Promega have brought employees or clients to the hotel for events, and the feedback has been “great.”
“They love the contemporary feel and a touch of luxury as you walk in,” he said. “It’s a refreshing change of pace for them, it’s a new hotel and it really brings some fresh blood in the community.”
While the hotel is within easy reach of Madison and all it offers, it’s in the midst of an emerging shopping and entertainment center of its own Orchard Pointe. Within walking distance of a dozen restaurants and bars and everything from a Gold’s Gym to an IMAX theater, there’s a lot to do for those staying around for more than a few days.
“We have a great location here, excellent neighbors, we love the community,” said Shah, a Fort Atkinson native who recently moved to the area. “A lot of our guests really enjoy Fitchburg and all that is has to offer.”
In turn, Shah said the Staybridge is adding value to the area — and customers — to those various businesses.
“By having this new hotel here, it’s exposing a lot of these guests to what Fitchburg has to offer,” he said. “I think it’s been a tremendous boon to all the business in our area next door … a lot of guests ask for recommendations on where to eat, where to shop, where to visit, and we’re constantly recommending local businesses.
“Some of my guests go to Quivey’s Grove, for example, and say, ‘I had no idea it was there, and it was one of the best restaurants I’ve ever eaten at.’”
As owner, the energetic Shah takes a personal interest in the hotel and tries to get to know each guest personally; a personal touch, he feels, is important, as not only an ambassador to the hotel, but to Fitchburg itself.
“I’m here all the time, and I think that really goes a long way in trying to put a face to not only the hotel, but the community in general,” he said. “The public is welcome to swing by anytime – if they even want a tour, we love doing that, showing them the rooms and amenities.”