Michael was formally trained as a chef in NYC’s “Little Italy” in the 1960’s and resided in the Gramercy Park Hotel where he worked in exchange for a room in the early 1970’s. The concept of Private Hotel + Pure Food started after having lived in Haiti in the later part of the 1970’s. Michael’s friend, French entrepreneur Olivier Coquelin, opened Habitation Leclerc in Martissant, Haiti where it became renowned as one of the best international resorts in the world, catering particularly to the affluent jet set crowd and patrons that included members of the Kennedy family, European nobility, and famous rock stars such as Mick Jagger. Bringing memories of the time he spent there back to America, Michael has been working on this extraordinary Ithaca, NY property for the past 13 years, taking the ambience of Habitation Leclerc and adding his own special twist, such as museum quality treasures from his personal world adventures and travels (i.e., dinosaur skeletons, meteorites, huge mineral specimens, fossils, historical and pre-historical artifacts and surrealist art). Finally in 2012 Michael opened the doors where the guest is king, the “Gold Standard of Hospitality” is practiced to a “T”; the rest is hotelier history.
innRoad today announced the two, peer-selected, winners of the first annual 2015 NAIHA’s (North American Independent Hotel Awards), including 2015 North American Independent Hotel of the Year and 2015 North American Independent Hotelier of the Year Awards. These two winners exemplify the passion and commitment it takes to provide great guest experiences.
The 2015 North American Independent Hotel Award winner is the Abbington Green Bed & Breakfast Inn. This property is recognized by its guests for providing exceptional guest experiences. Guests love their 5pm social hour, the meticulously kept property, and extra attention paid to every detail. Owners Nick and Steve go above and beyond when it comes to providing great service.
“After decades of work in the retail industry, becoming a hotelier has fulfilled a lifelong dream of mine,” stated Nick Poulos, owner of Abbington Green. “I feel so lucky to be awarded for doing something that I love. It’s the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done and I look forward to many more years of service to our guests.”
The 2015 North American Independent Hotelier Award winner is Rachelle Allen at the Hotel UMass. Rachelle is recognized by her peers for being hard working, caring and committed to providing great guest experiences each and every day. She consistently goes above and beyond in her attention to guests and her mentor-ship of young student employees.
“This award for Rachelle is well-deserved and highlights what 20 years of working in an independent hotel means. Her dedication to the guests and staff is what makes Hotel UMass the destination of choice in Western Massachusetts. The University, the current staff, and the many graduates she has mentored are all very proud of her,” stated Tom Sears, Director of Hospitality at UMass Hotel and Campus Center.
“We are thrilled to announce these two winners. The Abbington Green and Rachelle at Hotel UMass are perfect examples of what makes us proud to be part of the hospitality industry,” stated Frederik Rasmussen CEO at innRoad. “Their level of commitment to their guests and the success of their businesses make a direct impact in their local economies, and we are proud to promote their success. At innRoad we understand the level of commitment required to provide excellent experiences for your guests, and we strive to provide that same level of service to our clients.”
These two winners were voted on from a group of finalists including:
Kenny’s Tipperary Inn
Jeff Hunter of Harborview Inn
Michael Casper of Private Hotel + Pure Food
Marnie Guillion of Honey Creek Resort
Madeline Pickens of Mustang Monument
Tim Columbus of Birchwood Inn
About the 2015 North American Independent Hotel Awards:
For the 2015 North American Independent Hotel Awards, over 100 submissions were made during the month of December. The list of finalists was compiled based on submissions, and online guest reviews. Over 1,000 votes were cast for the four properties and six hoteliers during the open voting period. Winners were selected based on popular vote.
Over 600 North American independent hotels trust innRoad to provide hotel management software that increases occupancy, saves them time, and allows hoteliers to focus on creating great guest experiences. innRoad is the best hotel management system developed to meet the needs of independent hoteliers. The cloud based, single-platform software includes a PMS, commission-free booking engine, direct OTA connections and free 24×7 support.
Wendy Gillette is a television reporter, anchor, host, voiceover artist, producer, writer, and Final Cut Pro and Adobe Premiere editor based in New York City. She has more than fifteen years experience working for local television stations throughout the United States and more than ten years at the network level.
Recognized as Ithaca, New York’s Top Performing Boutique Hotel as Reviewed by Travelers on the
World’s Largest Travel Site
Ithaca, New York, USA – 21 May 2015 – Private Hotel + Pure Food, Ithaca. . . today announced that it has received a TripAdvisor® Certificate of Excellence award. Now in its fifth year, the award celebrates excellence in hospitality and is given only to establishments that consistently achieve great traveler reviews on TripAdvisor. Certificate of Excellence winners include accommodations, eateries and attractions located all over the world that have continually delivered a superior customer experience.
When selecting Certificate of Excellence winners, TripAdvisor uses a proprietary algorithm to determine the honorees that takes into account the quality, quantity and recency of reviews and opinions submitted by travelers on TripAdvisor over a 12-month period as well as business’s tenure and ranking on the Popularity Index on the site. To qualify, a business must maintain an overall TripAdvisor bubble rating of at least four out of five, have a minimum number of reviews and must have been listed on TripAdvisor for at least 12 months.
A property owner’s 2001 vision for spec houses in Ithaca morphed into a four-building, 100-plus acre estate that will be given exposure across the country this week.
The Ithaca, NY property is to be featured on the CNBC television real estate program “Million Dollar Homes.”
Chef Michael Casper built the four-building complex on Comfort Road and is running it as Private Hotel + Pure Food. There are six bedrooms and en-suite bathrooms spread between the green energy barn house and the log home. The third building is a sanctuary hand-painted by Tibetan monks and the fourth is a combination owner’s apartment and heated, insulated storage building.
Casper bought the property in 2001 and immediately started breaking trails. He started building in 2002. As more property became available, he added over 100 acres. There is a pond, a stone circle and five miles of roads.
Casper’s original vision was to build spec houses, and he started two. But the real estate market crash of 2008 ended that plan.
“I sat there scratching my head with almost $4 million in property saying, ‘Oh, boy, now what,’ ” Casper said?
As selling in a down market wasn’t attractive, his next thought was to rent. But his epiphany was that the property would make a great private hotel.
Casper drew on his 40-year background in hospitality, working as a chef from New York City to Puerto Rico, Haiti, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Ithaca. Before setting up shop in Danby, he opened The Eddy Street Cafe in Ithaca’s Collegetown in 1995.
The Danby property was approved as a bed and breakfast in 2009 and Casper worked from 2010 to the opening in April of 2012 to perfect the spaces.
His hotel vision has paid off. Casper boasts that Private Hotel + Pure Food is the number one rated bed and breakfast on Tripadvisor in the Ithaca area. He makes himself available to guests at all hours, offering guidance to the Ithaca area, and cooking organic and vegan meals from the chef’s kitchen. “I’m their 24-hour concierge,” Casper said.
Casper lists off names of big e-commerce companies whose employees stay with him regularly but also caters to average people who want a a really nice place to stay.
“I don’t like to be looked at as an innkeeper,” Casper said. “I don’t run it like a bed and breakfast. When people come here they get what they want.”
The interiors are finished in varieties of unusual woods. The grand room in the green energy barn house has a 24-foot ceiling. Bathrooms are lavishly outfitted, some with tubs and oversized showers. The sanctuary is hand painted by Tibetan monks. The central courtyard is available for group events.
Having created something special, Casper is looking for a change of pace and to wind down a bit.
“It’s time for some kind of a change whether I’m still involved here or I’m not,” Casper said.
The property is for sale, but Casper is open to other arrangements and could still be involved as the chef and host if the new owner wanted to continue the business.
“He’s created something wonderful and could continue to collaborate, ” said said Laurel Guy, an associate broker at Warren Real Estate who’s handling the listing.
The appearance on “Million Dollar Home” is anticipated this week, but Guy said a specific airing date isn’t available. The asking price is $975,000.
Casper said he has met his goals for the property.
“I’m open to the universe for whatever comes my way,” Casper said.