Holiday Inn

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 30, 2008

It’s a family affair with the Vaghela family and their construction, maintenance and operation of hotels and motels in the area. The most recent to open is the Holiday Inn on Power Drive and Highway 6 East. Some of the Vaghela family working locally include (from left) Vijay, Chetna and Mike in front their most recently completed property. The Panolian photo by Rupert Howell

High-end hotel latest success for family

By Rupert Howell
The Vaghela name has become to local hotels/motels what the Heafner and Pride names are to the Batesville car business.

And the bar has been raised in local hotel accommodations following the long-awaited opening of the Vaghela family’s Holiday Inn in Batesville at Power Drive and Highway 6 near the I-55 interchange.

If rated locally, the hotel would have to be “five-star,” offering such amenities as restaurant and bar, banquet and warm-up room, meeting rooms, pool, spa and most of the usual hotel/motel fare.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

According to Vijay Vaghela, Holiday Inn is in the process of improving the quality of its brand such as it was prior to the onslaught of discount motels that have flourished in the past two or three decades. Baby boomers grew up recognizing that name and consistent quality of those motels that were founded by Memphian Kimmons Wilson.

Close your eyes and you feel like you’re someplace other than Highway 6 Batesville, as high ceilings, rich carpet and drapes give the feeling of being in a grand hotel or resort location.

The Vaghelas also own Days Inn and Comfort Inn in Batesville. There are three brothers: Mike, Indu and Haru. Each has a son in the business. Vijay belongs to Mike, Vince is the son of Indu and Jay is Haru’s son.

Haru spends most of his time in India with construction projects while Indu is in charge of the family’s local major construction. Mike works with renovations and property improvements and Vijay is involved with Batesville property management (there are other properties) and accounting. Daughters-in-law are also deeply involved in the day-to-day operations.

Reminded that construction time for the new Holiday Inn was longer than anticipated, Vijay explains that using workers with whom the family is familiar, small changes and building a facility to “own”  rather than to sell accounted for the extra time. Vijay said money was saved by building slowly and the facility has “a lot more tender loving care” than most.

Vijay notes that each room has a ceiling fan and attributes that amenity not only to the Vaghelas’ Indian culture, but to the cost savings in utility bills, adding that the new facility is “environmentally efficient” with low energy bills.

Derrick Denley of Grenada is managing the restaurant and lounge that features booths with flat screen televisions. The modern kitchen has multiple ovens, each with the capacity to cook 80 steaks to perfection… and clean itself afterward.

The large banquet room will seat approximately 200 and the meeting room is equipped with large flat screens so that everyone has a good view. The state-of-the-art business room offers essentials for business such as copy and fax service, and wireless is available throughout the facility.

The “control room” features numerous small screens showing all common areas throughout the hotel and parking areas for security and also houses controls for speakers that can carry different styles of music to different areas of the hotel.

For families and others who plan an extended stay, a suite or extended-stay room on each floor has a full-size refrigerator and living area as well as a balcony overlooking the pool and spa. The oversize rooms include a jacuzzi and all the hotels’ furnishings and decor are upscale of that found in traditional discount motels.

Room rates run between $120 and $200 per night depending on room type, time of year and day of the week. And if you think that’s a little pricey don’t tell Timothy Bond, an Englishman living in Florida whose company has been working on the local power plant for the past month.

He and approximately 30 others were waiting for the doors to open around the first of May and said other than minor opening glitches, accommodations had been excellent with the hotel running smoothly.

“They (the hotel staff) bent over backwards to accommodate us,” Bond said.
Each 15-man team of that group worked alternating 12-hour shifts giving the hotel’s restaurant and bar a workout with each shift change — an unexpected and appreciated training regimen for the hotel’s new staff.  Most of Bond’s crew checked out this week, but a grand opening planned for next month will formally welcome local area citizens to Batesville’s newest hotel, restaurant and lounge.