By Aaron Retherford
In the premiere episode of “Hotel Showdown” last week, Fireside Inn in Barre and Stowe Meadows Inn in Elmore went head-to-head with two other New England hotels for a chance to win a $25,000 prize.
It was Captain’s House Inn in Chatham, Massachusetts that came away with the prize, but the owners of both Vermont hotels valued the experience of being on the show.
“It was a really fun experience. It was our first experience doing anything like this,” Stowe Meadows Inn owner Caroline DeVore said, as she anticipated the show’s airing last week. “One of the things I really liked was getting to spend time with three other owners. It’s fun to see how other people approach their role. We get to learn from each other. I think we all ended up as good friends, and we all keep in touch with each other.”
Fireside Inn owner Valerie White-Beaudet shared similar sentiments.
“It was a great experience. I would definitely recommend it to everybody,” White-Beaudet said. “It was a lot of hard work, but it was fun. It was one of the greatest experiences of my life.”
Representatives from each hotel traveled together to all four hotels last fall during filming and awarded points based on their stay, dining and overall experience. DeVore treated the other hotel owners to a dog sledding experience, while White-Beaudet showcased the one-of-a-kind Ladder One Grill. However, it was the traditional British high tea served at the Captain’s House Inn that pushed the Cape Cod hotel past the two Vermont hotels and Attwater Hotel in Newport, Rhode Island.
Even without the prize money, both hotel owners hoped the exposure of the show would show off a couple reasons why Vermont is a place to check out.
“I hope that it will be very positive for Stowe and Vermont,” DeVore said. “I think one of the things that was appealing for us is that at the end of the day, it wasn’t about who wins. I want to win, and we’re all Type-A personalities and are competitive. But we all want to showcase our properties and have more people know about us. We also want to showcase our towns and have more people know about Stowe, Vermont and what Vermont as a state has to offer.
“That’s one of the things we focus on at Stowe Meadows like highlighting Vermont artists, Vermont cheese, Vermont beer, and all the things you can do in Vermont. That’s part of what we focus on when people book reservations. They’re coming to get to know the area, and we’re just part of that experience as a hotel.”
And even though Barre isn’t known as a popular travel destination spot in Vermont, White-Beaudet hopes people learn what makes the Granite City so special.
“Barre is the granite capital of the world. It’s huge, and a lot of people don’t realize that,” she said. “Hope Cemetery really should be like the Eighth Wonder of the World. There have been people who stayed at the hotel all the way from Italy and walked to Hope Cemetery. It’s quite a ways. They toured the cemetery the whole day. They barely spoke any English, and they told us they came all the way from Italy just to see our cemetery. I’m hoping the show will really give Barre the exposure it deserves.”