EC Hampton Inn gets top-to-bottom renovation

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The Elizabeth City Hampton Inn and Suites is undergoing a renovation. Here, Adam Diaz, left, and Cato Bueno help give the hotel's exterior outside a sandstone type of appearance, Wednesday.

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By William F. West
Staff Writer

Sunday, July 22, 2018

The Elizabeth City Hampton Inn and Suites is in the midst of a three-phase renovation to upgrade the five-story lodging establishment along the Halstead Boulevard corridor.

"We envision being the best accommodation choice in Elizabeth City," Phil Mays, the hotel's general manager, said in an interview Wednesday at his office.

Mays said the purpose of the top-to-bottom project is to get the Elizabeth City Hampton Inn in line with the Hampton Inn chain's "forever young" initiative. The initiative was launched in 2014 to keep the chain's locations current with what guests have come to expect.

Mays said the project at the Elizabeth City Hampton Inn started at the end of October, with the first phase being to refurbish the hotel's 101 rooms. The first phase phase, completed in June, also included a makeover of the hotel's conference room.

He said the first phase was done in the winter, when the occupancy was lower, adding that crews worked on one floor at a time.

He said the second phase, which started in June, calls for transforming the building's facade and exterior from beige to sandstone in appearance. The second phase is scheduled to be finished by early next month.

He said the third phase is set to start the week after Labor Day. The third phase calls for renovating the swimming pool in approximately four weeks.

Mays, 55, previously was general manager at a Hampton Inn and Suites in the Cleveland, Ohio, area. He came aboard with the Elizabeth City Hampton Inn in August 2017, but he is hardly new to the hotel business and to North Carolina.

He grew up in Winston-Salem. He said he has been in the hotel business for 32 years, with his career including working for a variety of chains in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia and Mississippi.

Asked why he is in the hotel business, he said, “It's something that I enjoy” and added, “They say you have to have a passion in what you do.”

Mays commutes to work from Edenton. His wife works as a nurse in anesthesiology at Vidant Chowan Hospital.

Mays said the Elizabeth City Hampton Inn is run by First Carolina Management, which is based in Rocky Mount and which is a part-owner. He declined to specify the other partners in the Elizabeth City Hampton Inn and how much the renovation project is costing.

As for the hotel's philosophy, he said, "We hire the best, we train the best and we treat the best."

Asked about who comprises the guest lists, he said they include business and governmental people from the Raleigh area and the northern Virginia and the Washington, D.C., areas.

Given Elizabeth City being the home to a large Coast Guard base, he also said many Coasties and their families stay at the Elizabeth City Hampton Inn.

Additionally, he said many guests are Outer Banks vacationers who stay over the night before and wake up early the next morning to beat the Caratoke Highway traffic to their rental accommodations.

Overall, Mays said the big thing for him about Elizabeth City as an outsider coming in is that, "People cannot believe how friendly everybody is."  

"I've been to a lot of places where people were friendly artifically, but here, they mean it. If someone says, 'I will show you that,' they mean it," he said.

"It's very genuine," he said of the local residents.

The Elizabeth City Hampton Inn is part of the Hilton family of hotels. The Elizabeth City Hampton Inn is located at 402 Halstead and can be reached 24/7 by phone at 333-1800.