Independent Bellingham hotel joins Hilton program

By Emily Hamann

A Bellingham hotel has a new look — and a new partnership that could attract travelers from around the world.

This spring the Chrysalis Inn and Spa completed a remodel which included redecorating all its rooms and converting office space into more guest rooms.

This was the first time since the hotel opened in 2001 that the rooms had gotten this extensive of a makeover.

“Everybody needs a refresh after 18 years,” Chris Caldwell, marketing director at the Chrysalis, said.

The work included new carpeting and wood floors, as well as bedding and furniture.

The new look is inspired by the Pacific Northwest, and incorporates wood and metal and a more modern design. The new rooms also have 55-inch smart TVs.

Ninety-five percent of the old furniture, Caldwell said, was reused, sold or donated to local nonprofits.

At the same time this work was being done, the hotel was making a partnership that could help bring Bellingham to an international audience. The Chrysalis is now part of the Curio Collection by Hilton. The Curio collection is a group of hotels and resorts chosen by Hilton for their unique appeal.

“They’re looking for the curious traveler who wants that unique experience,” Caldwell said.

The hotel is retaining its independent ownership, and its operations are staying the same, Caldwell said.

“What we want to emphasize is that we haven’t been sold,” Caldwell said.

“The way we look, the way we run things gets to stay the same.”

The next closest hotel in the collection is in Seattle, and the only other one in the Northwest is in Portland.

Hilton selected Chrysalis to join the program because of its amenities and unique position in the market.

“We have a restaurant and spa right on the waterfront,” Caldwell said. “We’re the higher-end hotel on the market and we’re not branded.”

The partnership has the potential to bring big benefits to the hotel.

“We get to be a part of Hilton’s worldwide reservation system,” Caldwell said. It also gets to be a part of the Hilton rewards program.

That was appealing to the hotel, which is fairly full on the weekends, but has some vacancies during the week.

“Our intention was to increase our weekday business traveler,” Caldwell said.

Since joining the collection in April, she said they have already seen a huge uptick in that market.

This could lead to more growth for the hotel.

“It seems to be going great,” Caldwell said.

“We’re already talking about more housekeepers and front desk agents.”

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