In southeastern Kentucky where my mother is from, “homeplace” is your birthplace or your family home. At the Hampton Inn and Suites in Hazard, Kentucky, a few miles from where my mother grew up, touches of homeplace have been added to the decor. A throw draped over a couch to invite settling in next to the fireplace, photographs that reflect the beauty of mountain life, and a ceramic cat that serves as the hotel’s mascot are touches of more home than hotel. The owners of this particular Hampton Inn are from Hazard which might have an influence over the ambiance.
In this part of the United States, hospitality comes as easy as breathing. Also, the mountains that edge the hotel in a commercial part of town are a statement that this is Appalachia. There’s no chance you will think this looks like somewhere else you have been. Besides, that fresh mountain smell is an unmistakable giveaway to place.
One reason for our visit was to see the red bud and dogwood trees in bloom. The Hampton Inn delivered with this as well. Two gorgeous dogwood trees in full bloom graced the hotel’s entrance. They were part of the cheery hello.
Here, the staff greets guests like family and offer suggestions about what to see in the area and say things like, “Can I get you anything?” and “Let me know what you need.” In between conversation about where you’re from and we’re glad you’re here are tidbits about local news and how the ceramic cat gets decorated for the holidays.
Also, if you didn’t notice the subject matter of the impressionistic style painting by a Kentucky artist on the stone fireplace, the staff points out the faint images of horses and wonders how many there are in total. The attention to detail make what could be a run-of-the mill overnight into one where a repeat visit is anticipated.
As for the guest rooms, our two queen bed room was comfortable and clean and included the comforts of home. A small refrigerator, iron, ironing board, coffee maker and hair dryer were the expected comforts. The green accent wall added another homey touch. Because we arrived late and had places to go early, I didn’t use the fitness room or the pool, but both were in good order.
Breakfast that included hot items, was served in lounge area that doubled as dining room in the morning.
Next spring, when the red buds and dogwood are in bloom, I know where I’ll be staying.
There are 66 guest rooms from one king bed to two queens. Some rooms have a whirlpool and suites include a sofa bed. Room rates through Hotels.com currently start at $132.
Post and photos courtesy of Jamie Rhein