New Hampshire’s grand hotels–including The Balsams Grand Resort at Dixville Notch–are the focus of an AP piece today examining how historic hotels nationwide are struggling in a bad economy.
The fact that the Balsams is having a hard time is not really news to anyone who’s been keeping up with the hotel’s saga. But here’s an interesting tidbit the article brings up:
“At The Balsams…there’s been talk about putting in a new roof, insulation and windows. While occupancy rates have been good, one concern is improving energy efficiency. The hotel runs on steam heat generated by a biomass plant that was used in past years to run Neil Tillotson’s nearby factory.
‘That’s our biggest cost other than our labor, and so it’s tough to compete as a hotel, it’s tough to make the bottom line work, when your energy costs are so high,” said Jeff McIver, The Balsams’ president and general manager. ‘That’s one of the factors of why we’re not profitable, and to fix that is a major undertaking.’
He said directors of the family-based trust fund that owns the resort have been studying alternative fuel sources, such as geothermal technology.
Another historic hotel, the Mountain View Grand in New Hampshire’s White Mountains, was built in 1865, fell into disrepair and closed during the 1980s but reopened in 2002 after a multimillion-dollar rebirth. One of the additions was a wind turbine operation that provides all of the hotel’s electricity. It does save money and managers believe it is a good way to be more environmentally sustainable, said Gene Ehlert, marketing manager.”
The AP piece is well worth the read, providing an interesting take on some universal challenges historic grand hotels face, from Georgia to West Virginia to New Hampshire.