FULTON – Early Tuesday afternoon, Holiday Inn Express and Suites in Fulton welcomed its first guests.
The cost of their stay? One dollar.
“They were tickled to death,” said manager April Stewart, who said the guests received the special rate in celebration of the hotel’s grand opening.
Stewart, who has been with the hotel since construction began more than a year ago, said the feeling of excitement was one she shared with the guests.
“It feels sort of surreal right now, being open after so long, but it’s much more comfortable,” she said. “This is more my speed.”
The 72-room hotel had 12 guests the first night and has seen a gradual increase in guests each night since. Stewart said the business is off to a good start.
“It’s a relief to be done with construction and finally see these people trickling in,” she said.
The hotel originally was slated to open in May of last year but was delayed several times by last summer’s near-constant rainfall.
Friday morning, the hotel staff held a brief grand opening celebration. Special guests included members of the Fulton Board of Aldermen, Itawamba County Board of Supervisors and other public officials who were given a lengthy tour of the four-story hotel.
In addition to its rooms and suites, the hotel features a large heated indoor pool, an exercise room, valet parking and a large conference room with a projection screen. Decorated in earth tones and peppered throughout with lounge chairs and television sets, the hotel’s public areas are very modern. The rooms have wall-hung television sets, recessed lighting and bedside booklights.
The average cost to stay the night is around $100. The hotel itself represents an investment of more than $6 million.
According to Fulton Mayor Paul Walker, who was onhand during the tour, the hotel will undoubtedly benefit the town.
“This is another plus for our community,” Walker said. “In a community as small as ours, any business of this magnitude is great for us. It will help our sales tax, our local economy, tremendously. We’re so proud to have it.”
Walker said he also hopes the business will attract a larger retail market to the area, including new restaurants.
“I’d say this hotel will definitely help the overall growth of the city of Fulton,” he said.
Contact Adam Armour at (662) 862-3141 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. He blogs at itawamba360.com.
Adam Armour/The Itawamba County Times