New hotel owners plan $3 million renovation

Hotel flippers intend to convert County Inn and Suites on Port’s north side to a Holiday Inn Express

THE NEW OWNERS of the Country Inn and Suites on Port Washington’s north side — now the Port Washington Inn and Suites — are (from left) Lal Patel, his brother-in-law Josh Patel and his brother Mahesh Patel. The men plan to renovate the hotel inside and out, then convert it to a Holiday Inn Express and Suites. Photo by Sam Arendt
By 
KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM
Ozaukee Press staff

The Country Inn and Suites in Port Washington was sold last week and is now the Port Washington Inn and Suites.

The change in names is only the first step in converting the hotel to a Holiday Inn Express and Suites, new owners Lal, Mahesh and Josh Patel said.

The trio plan to renovate the hotel inside and out during the next nine months to complete the transformation, Mahesh Patel said.

“When people walk in, it’s going to be completely transformed,” he said.

Work on the exterior renovations will begin next month, Mahesh said, noting that the work will not interfere with bookings.

By the end of summer, interior renovations will begin during the hotel’s slow season, he said.

The men — Lal and Mahesh are brothers and Josh is Lal’s brother-in-law — said they are investing a total of $7.6 million in the hotel, including $3 million in renovations.

The changes will be largely cosmetic, not structural, the men said.

“It’s a lot of work,” Lal said, adding the hotel hasn’t been renovated for at least 15 years.

“People want to see new; they want modern things; and that’s what we want to give them,” Mahesh said.

This, they added, is their sixth hotel purchase in the last six months.

“We’re not done for 2022,” Lal added.

The men currently own about 25 hotels under various brand names in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Illinois, Mahesh said.

They are hotel flippers who generally buy a business, renovate it and three to five years later sell it, he said.

It’s a business they began about 25 years ago in Michigan, Mahesh said, noting they learned the business from their uncle, who owns more than 50 hotels.

They bought the Country Inn and Suites after meeting the owner, who was looking to retire.

“We like this area, especially the lakeshore,” Mahesh said.

It’s their first purchase along the Milwaukee-to-Green Bay corridor, he said, noting most of their other Wisconsin hotels are along the I-90/94 corridor on the western side of the state.

There also isn’t another Holiday Inn Express and Suites in the area, they noted.

“This hotel has a lot of potential,” Josh said.

They decided to switch to a Holiday Inn Express and Suites because it is a better known brand and part of the InterContinental Hotels Group, Lal said.

“This will be a very nice hotel,” he said.

While the hotel is under new ownership and changes are planned, there are some things that won’t change, the men said.

The current staff will remain in place, and the Lepanto Banquet Hall and Catering will continue to be operated by Prime Minister Catering.

“Everybody’s staying,” Mahesh said. “They’re a good staff.”

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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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