New owners of Brittany Hotel promise clean, comfortable stay

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MANCHESTER — The Brittany Hotel has new owners, and they're looking forward to continuing the tradition of affordable family hospitality at the hotel on Route 7A south of Manchester Village.

Joseph and Tabitha Turgeon of Killingworth, Conn., purchased the 12-unit hotel from longtime owners Jennifer and Bill Amatruto for $295,000, in a transaction that closed Aug. 31. The Amatrutos had owned the hotel since November 2002.

In the town's newly revamped land use ordinance, older "mom and pop" roadside motels such as the Brittany are eligible for adaptive reuse credits that expand the allowed occupancy. But the Turgeons were set on operating the business as a hotel — partially to fulfill a dream, and partially on the belief such hotels are growing in popularity, as a throwback to the era before chain hotels dominated the travel landscape.

"We always had [a bed-and-breakfast] in the back of our minds. We never thought we'd own a hotel," Tabitha Turgeon said. "When this came onto our radar, it spoke to us."

The 1.85-acre parcel, between Equinox Valley Nursery and Muddy Lane and featuring views of Mount Equinox to the west and the Green Mountains to the east, was listed by Greg Cutler of TPW Real Estate.

Joe Turgeon works for a biotech startup in Boston, and Tabitha Turgeon is a schoolteacher in Connecticut. So, the couple has hired Dan Silver of Bennington to manage the property in the meantime. Mary Kelly, who has been a housekeeper at the hotel, has also stayed on.

"We've got our hands full, but we're loving it," Joseph Turgeon said Saturday.

The Turgeons are very appreciative of the tradition the Amatrutos established and the loyal customer base they have passed along with the business and the property.

"Bill and Jennifer created a lot of loyal customers. It's been really fun to meet them," Joseph Turgeon said.

The couple is new to hospitality, but they both have a grip on what makes for a good stay, positive recommendations and repeat business. It boils down to the essentials, Tabitha Turgeon said — "a comfy bed, a good shower, good WiFi, and it feels clean and cozy."

Beyond that, their plans include landscaping to make the hotel more visible from the road, and some landscaping and tree removal in the rear to improve the view of the Green Mountains. New windows and a fresh coat of paint are on the to-do list.

"The bones are very good," Joseph Turgeon said. "It needs a refresh — that's our first plan."

The couple would also like to expand the hotel's corner office into more of a meeting and gathering spot for guests — a place where they can enjoy a cup of coffee and enjoy each others' company.

Silver, who was working at Killington, has experience in hospitality and restaurant management as well as in finance. He's glad that his work commute from Bennington has been reduced from two hours to 23 minutes.

"This is a dream," he said. "And in a couple of weeks [when the leaves turn] it's going to be amazing."

The couple said they've found the Manchester business community and town officials helpful and hospitable. "Everyone has been so welcoming," Joseph Turgeon said.

Joseph Turgeon had just sold property in California and was looking to re-invest the proceeds as he considered potential purchases in Vermont. But something about the Brittany called to him when he saw it featured online.

What's more, Tabitha Turgeon has a connection to the Northshire. Her family had been coming here since she was a girl, and she fondly remembers visiting the Jelly Mill (now the Orvis Outlet Store). "It was such a special family tradition," she said. "So I've always kept ties to this place."

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