AUSTINTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Hotel California is now open in Austintown.
Owner Sebastian Rucci said the $5 million investment took 18 months to complete. The hotel and entertainment complex will be opening without a liquor license.
“It will happen in time. It’s one of those things where we’ll just deal with what we have,” Rucci said.
For now, Rucci said guests can bring their own alcohol. This weekend, he has support from a number of friends and family.
“I think we’re at 70 percent. We’ll book up,” Rucci said.
“They have two rooms. They have a bedroom, a living room and the rest. In our place, how cool it is, what we did in the suites is we have a TV in the living room and in the bedroom,” said Rucci.
Rucci said that Hotel California is also about entertainment. It offers a 40-person jacuzzi and daily activities. This weekend, Rucci and his partners are boasting 44 hours of non-stop fun for guests, including music, comedy and game shows.
“This is kind of our test weekend. We’re gonna kind of work out some kinks. See what works, because again we don’t know what’s going to happen at 2, 3, 4, 5 in the morning. If the people are going to want to keep partying, but if they are we’re going to have something for them,” said Dave Robich, Hotel California Entertainment Director.
And Friday’s warm weather gave the patios a California feeling.
“In our area, we don’t always get the best weather. But when you get the really warm sunshine, it is almost like everybody, the adrenaline just hits and they want to be outdoors. So that is going to be a great place to relax,” Rucci said.
And inside, guests enjoyed their first impressions of the hotel.
“There is a great jacuzzi. There is a great fish tank. The bathrooms are outrageous. The rooms are outrageously beautiful,” Kim Walter of Austintown said.
The hotel has 102 rooms, including 42 suites. Downstairs, one of the first entertainment items was a stand-up comedy show in the night club. But it is the water features that early guests were buzzing about.
“They have a gorgeous fish tank. They have a waterfall with a pool. Just the patios and the entertainment is amazing,” Stacy Irwin of Howland said.
“Yeah, it almost makes you feel like you are on vacation. A nice atmosphere,” Paul Schrum of Berlin Center said.
For dining, they have partnered with the Fifth Season restaurant. Rucci hopes Hotel California draws guests from the Valley and surrounding area.
“What I really hope for here is that we actually draw people from Pittsburgh and Cleveland to come here and stay,” Rucci said.
He expects business to pick up over the summer and said the hotel will be booked come June and July, especially on weekends.
“We are about to ramp up into the very busy summer season, so I am going to look like a genius even though I am not. The area’s hotels do quite well anyway in the summer. I’ve got a pretty cool place. I’ve got a sign that I can address people, so I think it will do very well on its own,” Rucci said.
The hotel overcame some hurdles with Austintown Township to get to this point. During its open house in November, the Austintown Fire Department told them to shut down for not having proper permits. The fire chief said the hotel got the all clear for its opening day.
As for the liquor license issue, Austintown Trustee Jim Davis said that decision is up to Ohio’s Liquor Control Board. Davis said township officials are fine with the hotel opening and talked about how it benefits the township.
“Ultimately what it boils down to is that we wish them the best of luck. Contrary to most peoples’ belief, we want them to be successful. A successful Hotel California means success for Austintown Township because the township will receive the bed tax. So if that hotel is full, then the township is making money,” Davis said.
He said the township just wanted to make sure everything at Hotel California was in compliance before opening.