Entrepreneur mixes something old, something new at ‘hotel’

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 5, 2002

Features Editor

There’s something old and something new in Luverne and it was the brainchild of a Filipino entrepreneur Cecilia McGriff.

McGriff, a Montgomery resident, opened The Ole Hotel in Luverne in April

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and operates it under the bed and breakfast concept.

"We have six rooms upstairs," she

said. "To have more, we would be a hotel. We want only to provide lodging for a small number of people. It’s more personal that way."

The "we’ of whom McGriff speaks is she and the co-owner of the business Charlie Kettler, a Luverne attorney.

McGriff’s idea was to restore the old Beard Hotel to its original glory.

The building has been used by several agencies over the years. For a while, it was the office of pensions and securities and then served as the headquarters of the Department of Human Resources for 20 years before giving way to the Crenshaw Home Health Services for two years.

"The building had been vacant for a year and I thought it would make a wonderful bed and breakfast," McGriff said. "I thought Luverne needed a nice, unique place for visitors to stay because we are a growing community and people also need some place for visitors to stay who are in town for weddings, funerals, family reunions or just visiting."

In addition to the quaint hotel "quarters," the hotel also serves three meals a day – Monday through Sunday.

Although McGriff likes Filipino cuisine to be a feature of the daily menu, she always serves a blend of traditional Southern fare on the lavish buffet.

"Some people have the idea that we are a Filipino restaurant and only serve food from my homeland," she said. "But, we have fried chicken, peas, squash, cornbread and food like that, too. And, on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, we have seafood. We have a good variety because we want our guests to come back often."

The dining "rooms" are unique to the hotel. There are several "private" dining areas which were necessitated by the original purpose of the building.

"Each dining room was a hotel room and each is decorated differently," McGriff said. "Some of the dining rooms have several tables and can accommodate different groups. Other rooms have the atmosphere of a family dining room with one large table. In others, diners feel like they are sitting around the kitchen table.

One of the highlights of dining at The Ole Hotel is the music that is piped into the dining rooms.

At first, one might think the music is taped, but the music is actually bring brought into the dining rooms live from the the music room in the front of The Ole Hotel.