INDIANAPOLIS, IN — INDIANAPOLIS — Authentic, original, and historic, Hotel Broad Ripple created the first lodging between the downtown area and the I-465 loop, in 2014. Since then, the owner said nearly half of her customers return to the hotel regularly, but during the pandemic, Hotel Broad Ripple saw business challenges.
The owner found a way to make the most of the down time, by expanding the hotel’s reach. The owner, Debbie Hasbrook said even though the pandemic made it so hotel rooms remained vacant for months, she had a bright idea. In addition to the cozy and quaint rooms in the original Hotel Broad Ripple building, she's now expanding the visitor options.
Hasbrook said, "It was quiet (during the pandemic). We just thought we better take advantage of the time." She said, "We're excited. We've added six new rooms in a building at 6508 Westfield Boulevard."
One could say, she turned the pandemic into a constructive time. Just ask J.D Frost, the owner of Frost Construction Company.
He said, "(I) Haven't missed a day,” said Frost.
Hasbrook credits him for physically building Hotel Broad Ripple. Frost agreed and said, "Just about all of it."
Now he's working on the back porch for the new building. It's the building you see from the Monon Trail, with the big peace sign on the side.
The five-story building is the third building Hasbrook's bought. It was built in 1974. The original Hotel Broad Ripple building is one of the first homes in Broad Ripple, built in 1883; and the 1940 cottage became part of Hotel Broad Ripple in 2017.
Frost said, "I like that it is keeping part of the old part of the old town alive."
With a prime location in the heart of Broad Ripple, along White River, the community support keeps her business open. Frost said, "I think she has a lot of repeat guests that come back. So, that says something."
We're talking about guests, like Richard Robb. He used to live in Indy and is back visiting family. "Siblings and seven of my nieces and nephews, which is why I'm kind of exhausted today. So, I took advantage of the lovely hotel facilities here to sleep in,” said Robb.
The amenities include outdoor spaces and balconies that create a peaceful environment.
Robb said, "very well run, it's relaxed, low key. Very friendly clientele."
Hasbrook said the pandemic changed what people want in hotels too. She said, "People are so anxious to be away. They like a small hotel where they, they can see that it's clean and they were, were careful."
In her opinion, that's what makes her boutique hotels so popular. They're more individualized, almost like an Airbnb. Inside the new building, there's an entertainment room and each floor is unique. One of them is 50's style, with hand-picked furnishings.
Even though the new building isn't done yet, Hasbrook said business is picking up.
“So the whole idea was that when things turned around, we were confident they would turn around eventually, we would be ready and we're almost ready,” said Hasbrook.
It's her style and customer service that makes a stay here so attractive. Robb said, "Debbie, the owner, manager is a class act." For more information on Hotel Broad Ripple, click here.
Hasbrook said she wants to eventually bring the caboose that’s sitting on the Monon Trail onto the property and incorporate it. She said the city has put out a request for people to submit their hopes for the caboose and Hasbrook submitted her name.
To provide some context on how the pandemic has impacted travel and leisure industry, here are some statistics from the Transportation Security Administration:
- On Jan. 1, 2020, Traveler Throughput reached 2,311,732 people. On January 1 of this year, Traveler Throughput reached 805,990 people.
- On Aug. 16, 2020, Traveler Throughput was only at 773,319 and Traveler Throughput this past Monday reached 1,980,585 people.