On July 1, 1998, we welcomed our first overnight guests here. Having purchased the guest house in 1997, as the summer season was winding down, we were surprised when suddenly there were walk-in guests at the door and requests for reservations on the telephone. We had no established pricing for rooms and the first guests were charged $40 per night. Massive renovations were done in 1998 and early 1999 and rates rose to $55-$65 in 1999-2000.
That was one quarter of a century ago, and it has passed in the blink of an eye. We are happy to say that most of the nightly room prices at any time of year here are still under $195 before taxes. We have done two major renovations in the last few years and are always looking to improve amenities while keeping the rates as low as possible. This year one guest room and the common dining room and living room have been painted or will be painted by the end of April.
One question we receive sometimes is the request to pay by a cash app or credit card. We still accept only cash or check. Bank fees on credit cards are high for a business like this and cash apps apply those fees when transactions are for a commercial exchange. People ask about military or senior discounts and the honest answer is that all people who stay here are given the same rate structure and those rates have already been established as low as possible to also meet annual overhead costs. We do not raise our rates on weekends nor on holidays or festivals. Rooms with A/C have a $15 per night rate increase in season strictly for the cost and use of A/C. Discounts are offered for stays of one week or longer because we can save a bit on turnover costs with longer stays.
A little recap of things at the Lionel Champlin Guest House since 2020:
In 2020 we asked for a 3-night minimum on any night of the season and we reduced the number of unique groups of guests in the house to 3 from a potential of 7. We stopped entering rooms to make beds and change towels and we kept a room completely empty once it was cleaned, between guests. In 2021 we continued these practices though by late 2021 after vaccinations were available any new reservations were made with the possibility for booking back-to-back reservations without an interim empty night as long as incoming guests were agreeable. In 2022, we retained the 3-night minimum and leaving rooms alone when guests were checked in for their stays. We are always happy to supply new towels upon request. In late fall/winter we returned to 2-night minimums.
In 2023, we still have a 3-night minimum in season, however, we will accept 2-night minimum reservations for Sunday-Thursday nights when available and when not part of a holiday weekend or one of the major Newport music festival weekends. The 3-night minimum means less turnover of rooms which gives us a little more time and gives our cleaners also a little more time and stamina to make it through the season. Otherwise we have a 2-night minimum between November and April except for major holidays.
We look forward to welcoming you or welcoming you back here in 2023.
I am grateful for your business.