NH's Roedel family offers five decades of hospitalityBy NANCY BEAN FOSTER
Union Leader Correspondent
January 12. 2014 3:47PM
WILTON — From opening new hotels in New Hampshire to saving a historic property in New York, the Roedel family has found a niche in the hospitality industry and is continually finding ways to expand their presence.
David Roedel, who co-manages the Roedel Companies with his brother, Fred Roedel III, said the family business was started by his father, Fred Sr., in the late 1960s.
“My father went to Chicago on a business trip and stayed at an expensive hotel, which probably meant $30 or $40,” Roedel said. “But he realized that he was only actually in his hotel room to sleep, and the hotel didn’t have to do much except tidy up after he left.”
In those days, chain hotels weren’t as ubiquitous as they are today, Roedel said. There were Howard Johnsons and Holiday Inns, but the chain concept was just beginning to spread. After doing some research on the viability of the business, Roedel’s father decided to jump in and in 1967, opened the first Susse Chalet in Nashua.
“That building is still there,” Roedel said. “But it’s now a Motel 6.”
Between 1967 and 2000, Chalet Susse International had more than 56 hotels, but in 2000 Fred Roedel sold the business. His sons and daughters weren’t ready to leave the industry. David Roedel, who was working in hotel real estate development at the time, along with his brother, decided to start opening and operating hotels with their father as the senior adviser, and Roedel Companies was born.
Roedel Companies is in charge of investment in and acquisition of hotels, and its subsidiaries work in other aspects of the industry. RGH Hospitality offers hotel management, and ROK Builders renovates existing hotels as well as builds new ones. In addition to the three factions of Roedel Companies, David and Fred’s sister Susan runs a business that handles interior design and procurement for hotels.
Roedel Companies currently owns and operates seven hotels, including the Hilton Garden Inn and La Quinta Inn and Suites in Manchester, the Holiday Inn Express in Merrimack, and the Hampton Inn and Suites in Tilton. The company also manages hotels on Navy bases in Newport, R.I. and Groton, Conn.“We have a strategic plan of opening eight more hotels in the next two to three years,” Roedel said. “There are tremendous opportunities in hotel real estate right now.”
ROK Builders, managed by Fred Roedell III, is tasked with building new hotels for the company and for other developers and operators, but it has also grown considerably in recent years by performing hotel renovations.
During the slowest years of the recession, many hotel owners deferred maintenance in order to keep their heads above water, but since 2011, Roedel said those owners are now doing the necessary work.
“We always did the renovations on our old hotels, so we know how to manage the process,” Roedel said. “We approach it from an owner’s perspective.”
RGH Hospitality helps other hotel owners find the help they need to build their business or to improve existing businesses. Roedel said that third-party management services are also available for hotel owners.
Though the focus of the Roedel Companies has been to create clean, modern hotels, they recently acquired The Hotel Saranac, a historic hotel in New York State in the Adirondacks. Built in 1927, the hotel had a long run as a popular vacation and wedding destination, but in later years fell into disrepair. With a $5 million historic preservation grant from the state of New York, the Roedels are bringing the hotel back to life.
“The Hotel Saranac is an icon of the community and will once again become downtown’s centerpiece,” Fred Roedel III said. “We look forward to restoring the crown jewel of the Adirondacks and creating an even better space for guests to interact, socialize and enjoy their stay.”
The Hotel Saranac will include as many as 90 upscale rooms, first floor restaurants and boutiques, and a parking structure.
“It’s gorgeous,” Roedel said. “But if it weren’t for the grant we received from the state of New York, we wouldn’t have been able to make this project economically feasible.”
The hotel will open in 2015 if all goes well.
For more information, visit www.roedelcompanies.com.