The Lodge is Now Open

Amenities + surroundings = distinctive northwoods experience

“Come for the sunsets, stay for the experience” is the motto of the new Lodge on Lake Detroit. Complete with a lakeside deck for every room, the Lodge opened last week, providing for a new type of hotel experience along the shores of Big Detroit Lake.

With its granite countertops, lake mosaics and specially designed acorn and leaf lighting, the Lodge is opening itself to attract a different type of resort clientele to the lakes community, said owner/operators Scott Melhaff and Chris Holland-Melhaff.

“Scott and I have really been working on this idea for a hotel for over 15 years,” said Holland-Melhaff. “Every time we would see something we would like or get an idea for the property, we would stick it into a folder.” Over the years, the idea folder blossomed into a guide for specific décor choices, construction designs and various types of amenities they wanted to offer.

“We were really ready to create this type of property. We knew what kind of things we wanted to offer and how we wanted to make it different — something completely new to the area,” described Holland-Melhaff. Occupying the space where the nostalgic Castaway Motel once stood, the Lodge is a 55-unit, smoke-free property, nestled along 550 feet of lakeshore on Big Detroit Lake.

“We were able to keep many of our mature trees and are hoping that a bald eagle that used to be perched in one of them returns once all the construction dies down,” said Holland-Melhaff. Independently owned and operated by Holland Motel, Inc., husband and wife owners Scott Melhaff and Chris Holland-Melhaff also own and operate the Best Western Holland House and Suites in Detroit Lakes and the Best Western Superior Inn and Suites in Grand Marais.

They had run the Castaway Motel as well before they transformed the space into the Lodge. A lifestyle property, the Lodge focuses on positive energy, pampering and exposing its guests to the beautiful sunsets of Big Detroit Lake and features a large conference room in addition to a full-service day spa.

It was designed not just to be a place to stay, but an experience, said Holland-Melhaff. “This property will be different in that we are offering unique things like a lobby bar called LoLa D’s,” said Holland Melhaff. “We hired a culinary experience director who has created an amazing menu of appetizers to pair with wines, beer, martinis and signature drinks that will be available.” Featuring a day spa, indoor pool, fitness area, player grand piano, lobby bar and business center, the Lodge blends numerous amenities with its sunset surroundings to create a distinctive upscale, yet relaxed, northwoods atmosphere.

With its massive stone fire-place and magnificent view of Big Detroit Lake, the Lodge’s two-story 2-story lakefront, fireside lobby is a dramatic, yet relaxing, escape for Lodge customers whether they are families, couples or business guests, she added.

“We have a great view of the lake and plan to have our player grand piano set to play a sunset serenade,” noted Holland-Melhaff. “It should be a wonderful blend of music and scenery.” To create their distinctive ambiance for the Lodge, an atmosphere that combines dramatic décor, organic elements and a rich color palette, the Melhaffs incorporated such things as handcrafted rustic wood furniture, stylish leather chairs and specially designed acorn and leaf lighting fixtures, lamps and towel bars.

Local Fargo-Moorhead artist J. Bracken Rourke also had a hand in cultivating the Lodge’s serene environment. His lake-themed mosaics are predominantly positioned throughout the property from the Lodge’s front desk fish scene to wall art lakescapes in each room. “We took some great lake photos from our pontoon which Bracken used for his mosaics that are displayed with special gallery lighting in every room,” added Holland-Melhaff.

“He also added ceramic fish to our indoor pool area.” Providing for comfort as well as style, all rooms at the Lodge also come complete with a 32-inch flat panel wall mounted LCD high definition television, upscale triple sheet, high thread count bedding, wet bar, refrigerator, coffee, makeup mirror and free high-speed Internet access.

In addition to the standard, two double bed hotel room accommodations, the Lodge comes in a variety of room configurations from Retreat and Family Suites that offer furnished kitchens and connecting rooms to Renewal Spa Suites that feature a gas fireplace and special aromatherapy whirlpool.

There is even one suite that features a Murphy bed so that the room can be used as a living quarters or gathering area during the day yet provide extra sleeping quarters at night.

Said Holland-Melhaff, “When we were compiling ideas for the Lodge, we would pour through comment cards from our current properties to get ideas, and one thing we came across was that families and larger parties wanted a central room to gather. So we added a Murphy bed to one of our suites,” explained Holland-Melhaff.

In keeping with the Lodge’s rustic elegance, the Murphy bed has a refined Mission Style facade, so it is beautiful as well as functional. Additional Lodge touches include granite countertops in each bathroom and kitchenette, special glass enclosed showers, oversized therapeutic showerheads and counter height outlets to plug in today’s plethora of electrical accessories from cell phones to laptops. Even the alarm clocks are unique, complete with nature sounds and mp3/I-Pod connections and speakers to allow guests to wake up to their favorite music.

“We wanted to make sure all the little things were taken care of, so there are a lot of subtle amenities around the property, like easily accessible electrical outlets. Our fitness room is also well lit and not just stashed at the end of a hall or in an old room. It is located near our lobby and open 24 hours.” As third generation motel owners/operators, the Melhaffs are continuing the dream of Holland-Melhaff’s grandparents, Emil and Hilda Holland, who opened Detroit Lakes’ Best Western Holland House in 1953.

With her parents, John and Kathy Holland, becoming involved with the motel in 1968, and the Melhaffs following in those footsteps in 1991, the legacy of motel ownership and operation lives on. Following the business traditions set before them, the Melhaffs noted the massive construction project really has not been too stressful thanks to the many similar, albeit smaller, projects they have taken on over the years with their other hospitality properties.

“You are always renovating when you are in the hotel business,” explained Holland-Melhaff. “We recently added a building to our Grand Marais property, which really helped us prepare for the Lodge project.” Stay tuned for another opening from the Melfhaffs. Next on the agenda is to open their day spa, The Spa Within, located on the Lodge’s first floor. It will open sometime in June.

For more information about the Lodge on Lake Detroit or to make reservations, call 218-847-VIEW (8439), toll free 800-761-VIEW (8439), visit www.thelodgeonlakedetroit. com.