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Ashley Inn becomes a Motel 6

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Lodging: Trinity Drive inn keeps same owners but takes on new name

By Carol A. Clark

Changing names but not its ownership, the 50-room Ashley Hotel & Suites at 2175 Trinity Dr. is now a Motel 6 franchise. WiFi and free morning coffee are included in the national chain’s trademark “no frills” style.

The continental breakfast once provided by Ashley Suites is now gone.

“We’ve now stopped serving the continental breakfast and that’s about the only thing that’s changed since we became a Motel 6,” said Nichole Richerson, who has managed the property for a year. “We also still have fridges and microwaves in some of our rooms.”

Santa Fe businessman Jay Patel and his partners in Roshni Ventures LLC purchased Ashley Hotel & Suites out of foreclosure last year. The partners own several hotels throughout New Mexico, Patel said during an interview last fall.

Roshni Ventures obtained a loan and were making upgrades to the property in the wake of complaints from lodgers last fall that some rooms lacked heat, hot water, had holes in the walls and other issues.

“I know the people are complaining but we are telling them that we are making renovations and they can have their money back if they don’t want to stay here,” Patel told the Los Alamos Monitor in October. “We are putting more than $300,000 into upgrading this hotel with new electrical, new heating and AC and we’re going to install new windows soon.”

Patel is traveling and was unavailable for comment about the motivation to transform Ashley Suites into a Motel 6.

Executive Director Kevin Holsapple of the Los Alamos Commerce and Development Corporation said that affiliating with a national chain can be very advantageous to a business.

“The motel can tap into the resources, support and marketing offered by the national company,” Holsapple said. “This can be a very good thing in that typically a motel franchise is required to upgrade to certain standards and to maintain those standards. We look forward to welcoming them and to engaging them in becoming contributing members of the community.”

In October, Fire Marshal Brian Nickerson said that Patel and his partners were working with the fire department to make required upgrades. County Building Official Chris Williams described the hotel last fall as one of the oldest buildings in the county – going back at least 30 or 40 years.

“The problem is that the electrical service to the building is probably original,” Williams said in October. “Having the ability to maintain 68 degrees three-feet off the floor is a national requirement for commercial buildings. With the older wiring service, the hotel’s heating and air conditioning units weren’t efficient.”

The hotel closed for a couple of days in October to allow for a switchover to a new electrical service.

“I’m glad that the hotel has stable ownership now,” said County Council Vice Chair Ron Selvage Monday. “It’s good that another business franchise wants to come into town.”

Selvage is an owner in the Best Western Hill Top House Hotel also on Trinity Drive. Speaking as a business person, not a councilor, Selvage addressed the issue of competition.

“I don’t see this as impacting our business because Motel 6 is geared toward a different market,” he said. “Also, the property was already here as Ashley Suites so it isn’t adding any more rooms to the area.”

Accor Franchising, headquartered Carrollton, Texas, is the parent company of the Motel 6 and Studio 6 motel brands. Accor manages more than 1,100 locations throughout the U.S. and Canada, according to its website. Accor is the largest hotel operator in the world with nearly 4,100 hotels in 90 countries and Motel 6 is the largest owned and operated hotel chain in North America. Motel 6 celebrates 50 years in business in 2012.

Los Alamos Motel 6

I moved away from Los Alamos many years ago and haven't even returned to visit. Is this building the old Los Alamos Inn?