A Grosse Pointe couple is purchasing a collection of hotels and waterfront restaurants from Stafford Hospitality in northern Michigan, the entities announced Thursday.
Jon and Lauren Cotton, who bought the Hotel Iroquois on Mackinac Island in 2020, are expanding their boutique hotel empire. Jon Cotton is the former president and chief operating officer of Meridian Health Plan Michigan.
The transaction includes The Bay View Inn in Bay View, The Perry Hotel in Petoskey, The Crooked River Lodge in Alanson, The Pier Restaurant in Harbor Springs, The Weathervane in Charlevoix and The Noggin Room Pub in Petoskey.
Bay View, located at the tip of the Mitten that’s known for its Victorian homes, is on the National Register of Historic Places. And, like its neighbor to the north ― Mackinac Island ― prime tourism season in Bay View also runs May through October.
The portfolio of properties owned by Stafford Smith will now be managed by Hotel Investment Services of Troy.
“It is a tremendous honor, and responsibility, that we will be standing on the shoulders of oneof the great hospitality legacies in Michigan,” Ron Wilson, CEO of Hotel Investment Services, said in Thursday’s news release announcing the sale. “Stafford is an innkeeper’s innkeeper who has dedicated his working life to the art of hospitality.
All people involved in the sale are discussing planned renovations for the historic properties, Sam Barnwell, chief development officer, told the Detroit Free Press. The sale is expected to be completed in January 2024.
“The current plan is to work with the staff to determine what the best investments are for the properties,” Barnwell said.
Vintage signage will not change nor will menus or other details, he said.
“The Stafford name is part of the history,“ Barnwell said. “Our goal is to honor the history of any property in the Cotton collection, like the Iroquois.”
Smith said he was proud of the legacy he’s leaving after 60 years.
“We are very excited for the future opportunities this transaction presents for our family of associates, our guests and the communities in which our properties are located,” Smith said in the news release.
Smith’s company began when he and his wife, Janice, purchased the Bay View Inn in 1961. Their holdings expanded “with the help of equity partners Dudley Marvin, Brian Ewbank, Butch (Christian) Paulsen, David Marvin, and Reginald Smith, all of whom have been long-term employees,” the news release said.
Cotton, who purchased the Iroquois after staying there as a guest, has pledged to protect Stafford’s legacy — and retain its employees.
“As a longtime resident of Michigan, I have dined and stayed in these historic establishments many times,” he says in the release, “and know what each of them means not only to our state but, also, to their respective communities.”
The parties were not disclosing publicly the purchase price at this time, Barnwell told the Free Press.
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