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AmishView hotel plans $5 million expansion

The AmishView Inn & Suites is launching an expansion costing more than $5 million that will nearly double its size.

The Bird-in-Hand hotel, which opened 10 years ago with 50 rooms and suites, is adding 40 rooms with plush amenities.

“We believe there’s room in the marketplace to expand a high-end, boutique hotel in a unique setting such as we have,” Al Duncan said.

Duncan is chief executive officer of Thomas E. Strauss Inc., which manages the hotel.

The expansion, creating a dozen jobs, is scheduled to be completed in March.

According to Duncan, the expansion will take advantage of the property’s picturesque rural setting.

“The sense of place we have here is very, very hard to duplicate,” he said.

The AmishView, at 3125 Old Philadelphia Pike, is on the same property as the Plain & Fancy Farm Restaurant.

All 40 of the large new rooms will face the neighboring farmland, to be visible through 10-footwide windows.

Called “king” rooms, because they’ll contain king-sized beds, each sleeping and sitting area will have custom-designed furniture, artwork, hand-crafted wallpaper and beveled-edge mirrors. Each also will have a 60-inch high-definition television and concealed kitchenette.

“This will be the type of room where you can really kick back, relax, unwind and be incredibly comfortable,” Duncan said.

In addition, each room will come with a large bathroom, having an oversized shower, clawfoot tub, soft mood lighting and smaller high-def TV.

“At the end of the day, the only reason someone will not stay with us is if they didn’t make a reservation early enough,” he said.

Duncan declined to specify what the room rates will be.

He did say that comparable rooms in major cities such as Philadelphia, New York and Chicago would cost more than $500 a night.

“That certainly won’t be the rate in Lancaster County,” Duncan said.

But the new rooms would be priced higher than the existing AmishView rooms, because they will be fancier, he acknowledged.

The lodging industry uses a six-category scale to describe the quality of rooms, with economy at the bottom and luxury at the top.

The new AmishView rooms will fall in the second highest category, “upper upscale.” The existing rooms are in the third-highest category, “upscale.”

To make way for the expansion, a two-story structure constructed in the 1950s has been razed. Once a bakery, it most recently housed gift shops.

“It had some shops that were kind of hidden in the back. That was not good for retail, but it’s perfect for what we’ll use it for,” said Duncan.

The five-story expansion will be connected to the original AmishView building by an elevated, 20-foot enclosed walkway.

As part of the expansion, the great room in the original AmishView building will be remodeled.

The great room includes the breakfast area, a sitting area and the check-in desk.

Weaver Construction is the general contractor for the great-room remodeling and the five-story expansion.

The AmishView project will be the 10th hotel expansion, construction or remodeling project for East Earl based Weaver in 10 years.

Thomas E. Strauss Inc., operator of Miller’s Smorgasbord, took over management of the Plain & Fancy in 1993.

The AmishView was developed on the Plain & Fancy property in 2003 at a cost of $4 million. The hotel employs 22 people.

Of its 50 original rooms and suites, about two-thirds face farmland. Those original rooms and suites are “very popular,” said Duncan, drawing many repeat guests and guests who’ve been referred there by friends.

Article Courtesy of Lancaster Newspapers, Tim Meekel

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