Patel changing view of Days Inn

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 20, 2005

DEMOPOLIS–The big signs and spreading rumors have focused many residents’ attention on the new hotels coming on 80 West, but not all of the city’s hotel developments–not even all of the highway’s hotel developments–have taken place out there.

There’s activity on 80 East as well, where the Days Inn has recently come under new ownership and has undergone a major overhaul. Leading the renovation process has been new owner Nick Patel, who took over the hotel in mid-January.

“We’ve renovated the whole thing,” Patel said in an interview Monday. “We’ve been working with a local landscaping contractor on our landscaping and we’ve finished the parking lot. We’ll be re-painting the office and bringing in new furniture, so the office will be completely re-furbished.”

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Guests will notice the overhaul inside their rooms as well as during check-in.

“All the rooms have been repainted, and we’ve upgraded the whole hotel with high-speed Internet access,” Patel said. “We are also in the process of re-opening the swimming pool.”

Patel said that while he understands that rehabilitating the business will be a challenge, it’s one he’s prepared for and expects to overcome.

“I know the property has been run down before, that there has been some bad management,” he said, “but I have spent the last 10 years in the hotel business, and I have run a Days Inn before. I have run a Hampton Inn before. I know what it takes to be successful.”

Patel comes to the Black Belt from the Kansas City area, but he says the transition from metropolis to Demopolis and from Midwest to Southeast has been even smoother than he imagined.

The great thing about this has been the people of Demopolis. I have moved here from the big city and, I’ll be honest with you, I don’t miss the city anymore at all,” he said. “The people here are so nice. Anywhere I go, I have always been welcomed.”

Patel expressed especial thanks for Mr. Collins at the Regions Bank, who he said had been “very helpful” in establishing contacts and helping him get a foothold in the city. Patel has recently joined the Demopolis Area Chamber of Commerce and is happy about the growth out on 80 West. In fact, Patel says he’s not bothered by the potential for several competitors to open for business in that area.

“I am really excited about the new developments. For a small town, there are a lot of things happening,” he says. “[The new hotels] are welcome…It’s a growing town. With the new Wal-Mart there’s going to be more taxes coming in, and that’s another good sign for a small town.”

His role as both owner and operator of the hotel, Patel says, means that he is willing to do whatever it takes to make Days Inn respected again in Demopolis.

“If anything goes wrong, I will see to it personally that it is fixed,” he said. “I am involved with everything here, the owner and manager 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.”