Motor Lodge to undergo changes

The scrumptious cinnamon rolls are here to stay, but they’re one of the few things that won’t change as new owners take charge of the Elkins Motor Lodge and 1863 Restaurant.

Kenny and Beverly Sexton, Jim and Elaine Douglas, and Lloyd and Sharon Teter have teamed up to purchase the well-known hotel and restaurant on Harrison Avenue and became its new official owners May 10, they announced in a press release.

While the hotel and restaurant will both undergo extensive overhauls as the renovation process progresses, the 1863 Restaurant will retain its name; the Elkins Motor Lodge, however, will be rebranded as the Isaac Jackson Hotel, Kenny Sexton told The Inter-Mountain in a recent interview.

“The name has caused so much interest,” Sexton said. “I love the intrigue it causes, but the truth is, it’s just a made-up name.” A made-up name Sexton and his wife arrived at by pairing her father’s middle name – Isaac – with his father’s middle name – Jackson.

“It pays tribute to our family members, and that’s fitting because it’s going to be a family friendly facility,” Sexton explained.

As the owner of the American Mountain Theater, a major tourist attraction in the area, Sexton had concerns that hotel rooms in Elkins were too hard to come by.

“The need for quality hotel rooms is the driving force behind the reason for (the purchase),” he said.

“There are many, many weekends in Elkins where there are no rooms.”

The new owners’ plans for the first phase of work will be to completely refurnish the existing 23 hotel rooms in the two-story building on the hillside.

“The rooms are going to be remodeled to a level like you would find at a resort,” Sexton remarked.

In the second phase of work, a new three-story hotel building will be constructed on the hillside where the cottages are currently located. That building will house an additional 38 rooms, as well as a modern lobby, business center, indoor walkways connecting the two hotel buildings and four suites that will open to a patio from which visitors can soak in spectacular valley views, Sexton said.

The 1863 Restaurant will also receive a makeover during the second phase of the project.

And although classics for which the restaurant is known – including the famous cinnamon rolls – will remain intact, the interior and exterior will be revamped.

When all renovations are finished – Sexton estimated that will be sometime during spring 2014 – the Isaac Jackson Hotel will feature 61 new and newly remodeled guest rooms, a full-service restaurant, a bakery and doughnut shop and a large banquet and conference room.

“In one portion of the restaurant, we’re going to have a full-blown doughnut shop with glazed long johns, cream-filled doughnuts and gourmet coffee,” Sexton said.

Susan Channell, owner and operator of the property for more than 20 years, is looking forward to seeing how the hotel and restaurant evolves under new ownership, according to the press release.

“I can’t wait to see new life in the property,” Channell said, “and I look forward to continuing to work with the new owners.”

According to the release, hotel operations with 31 rooms will continue through the fall when the 23 newly remodeled rooms will be brought back online. The restaurant will remain open and operational until early 2014, when it will be closed for a total renovation and expansion.