Inn renovations complete;
new dining hall largest in county
(August 2005) Its been a long wait, but the new and
improved Clifty Inn will open its doors on Aug. 5.
by Debra Maylum
Inn general manager Karen Hinton
(below) says there has been a huge demand
for a larger dining facility (above)
at the state park.
After a year-long renovation, the Inn will feature 37
new guest rooms and three new guest suites, an expanded ballroom and
renovated kitchen, an all-weather bridge connecting the main building
and the new facilities, a remodeled dining room and several meeting
rooms. The guest rooms and ballroom offer breathtaking river views,
and the outdoor area includes a wedding terrace and fire pit.
The previously existing main lodge was remodeled four years ago, giving
the facility 71 rooms and an indoor pool.
Approximately 100,000 people visit Clifty Falls State Park each year,
and the Inn experiences a 68 percent occupancy level year round, according
to General Manager Karen Hinton. She said the Inn has no vacancy during
many weekends in the late summer and early fall. The opening of the
new facilities is long awaited, since the Inn has had only 31 guest
rooms available to park visitors since the renovation began in August
The renovated kitchen and expanded ballroom, which provide the opportunity
for the Inn to host large gatherings and conferences, are much needed
facilities in this area, she said. Hinton added that the Overlook Ballroom
has already been booked for many large events, including a late summer
wedding with nearly 400 guests expected.
The Madison Area Chamber of Commerce plans to hold its annual dinner
at the ballroom in January 2006. The chamber event attracts more than
300 people each year and had outgrown Hanover Colleges banquet
room. The chamber had to close reservations at 300 last year, officials
by Debra Maylum
Inn general manager Karen
Hinton in the new dining room.
Hinton said several Indianapolis-based companies are scheduling
retreats at the Inn. Area high schools have also shown an interest in
hosting junior and senior proms in the ballroom, she said. In addition
to the expanded ballroom, the facilities offer a dining room that seats
160 and several large meeting rooms that seat approximately 125.
The original building was constructed in 1974, but it was already structurally
unfit. Gary Miller, with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources,
said the old River View building had substantial water and siding problems
to the extent that it was more economical to replace the building than
to continue with repairs. Miller added that the new facility is more
convenient to visitors and staff because both buildings are connected
by the corridor bridge which enables visitors to pass between the buildings
without going outdoors. Previously, the facility consisted of four buildings
with no common connection.
The new facilities are well built and provide accommodations that are
more in keeping with the market and that can compete
more effectively with similar facilities, said Ken Boyce, an architect
with Ratio Architects of Indianapolis. Ratio was hired to perform all
design aspects of the project. According to Boyce, a main goal of the
renovation was to provide the kind of experience visitors might
expect when visiting the park.
Guest rooms in the new facility rent for $99 per night, and guest suites
are $139 per night. In addition to the beautiful hillside and river
views, the rooms feature state-of-the-art accommodations, rustic furniture
and beautiful bedding. The guest suites are equipped with both a shower
and hot tub. First floor guest rooms include an outdoor patio and third
floor guest rooms provide a small balcony. Guest rooms on the second
floor include an enclosed seating area with sliding doors for enjoying
State officials hired Dunlaps, a general contractor from Columbus, Ind.,
to complete the renovation.
For additional information regarding guest accommodations
and banquet and meeting facilities, call (812) 265-4135.
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