CHICAGO - Reikart House, the latest addition to Marriott International’s Tribute Portfolio, recently debuted in Amherst, New York, showcasing a distinctively revamped look-and-feel inspired by a storied past and a special character.
Award-winning global hospitality firm The Gettys Group was brought on by Reikart House owner Iskalo Development Corp. to create a new vision for the boutique property, formerly a motor lodge called The Lord Amherst Hotel. The Gettys Group responded with a comprehensive repositioning plan, bringing to life a compelling guest experience that pays tribute to legendary local Amherst character – Frank C. Reikart. Tapping the firm’s branding, interior design and procurement services, Reikart House has metamorphosed into a convivial, full service “home away from home” – imbued with comfort, elegance and a touch of whimsy.
“With Reikart House, our goal was to deliver a one-of-kind, authentic and distinctive upscale guest experience”, stated Paul B. Iskalo, President & CEO of Williamsville, NY-based Iskalo Development Corp. “The cheerful brand story developed by the Gettys team based upon the lives of the Reikarts served to inform the hotel’s elegant aesthetic that artfully merges period design with modern elements and furnishings that, along with some subtle surprises, has made for a truly memorable guest experience and resulted in a project that exceeded our expectations.”
The Gettys Group’s Branding team, which spearheaded the redevelopment concept, had much to draw upon when scripting its narrative for the reimagined hotel. Backed by an immersive research process, the team developed a vibrant brand story centered on the spirit of Frank Reikart, his wife, Dolly and their pet monkey, Jacko. The Reikarts were colorful characters and vaudeville entertainers who, in the early 1900’s, welcomed visitors to Amherst as “the first family of hospitality.”
“Frank Reikart was known around town as a musician, an entertainer, an inventor, a barber, a photographer and an ice cream man,” noted Ron Swidler, The Gettys Group’s branding principal. “The Reikarts’ love of entertaining and joie de vivre provided a unique inspiration that infuses the property with remarkable character and unconventional charm. We also pay homage to the Reikarts’ pet Capuchin monkey, Jacko, who we’ve featured prominently in our brand pull-through.”
This rich brand storyline guided The Gettys Group’s interior design of Reikart House, originally designed by Duane Lyman, known as the “Dean of Western New York Architecture.” Lyman’s love of colonial revivalism is evident in the bones of the building and is reflected in its interiors, blending period, traditional and modern elements to memorable effect.
“Our Branding team truly set the stage for a boutique hotel design unlike any other,” said Ben Nicholas, The Gettys Group’s interior design principal. “We took this indelible blueprint and created a design plan that drew on the property’s past – with elegant-yet-approachable interiors – while also playing on its modern-day place as a sought-after destination for travelers and locals alike.”
With warm and welcoming appeal, Reikart House offers 92 guestrooms and 12 suites, all with a wider profile that resembles bedrooms versus typical hotel accommodations. Partnering with the Buffalo Niagra Heritage Museum, each of the 12 suites are themed around local influences and landmarks to symbolize Amherst’s history. A boardroom, fitness room, spa and soon-to-open restaurant, Jazzboline (named after an instrument Frank Reikart invented), add to Reikart House’s Tribute Portfolio-worthy guest experience.
The Gettys Group’s Procurement team sourced furnishings that are authenticated by localized and historical branding, fully realizing the Amherst-centric allure of the hotel.
“It was a welcome challenge to source furniture and fixtures that fit the history of the property while embodying modern comfort,” said Jason C. Bramhall VI, The Gettys Group’s senior director, procurement. “By honoring the building’s past with an eye on a rejuvenated future, we were able to create a cohesive environment that truly celebrates the ongoing spirit of hospitality.”
Reikart House, like Frank Reikart himself, is a true original, poised to provide guests with delightful and memorable moments for years to come.