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Geneva Ridge ready to reopen strongly



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Conceptual drawings for the new patio.

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June 05, 2012 | 01:38 PM
GENEVA — And then two resorts on the same lake and the same highway became one. Sort of.

Geneva National and Geneva Ridge Resort, formerly the Lodge at Geneva Ridge — and before that, known for several years as Interlaken Resort — are now owned and operated by the same group.

On Wednesday, May 30, Jennifer Myers, Geneva National's assistant general manager, said investment group OIFGR purchased Geneva Ridge Resort from Anvan Corp. A total sale price was not available by press time.

Paloma Management, which oversees Geneva National, now is running Geneva Ridge. Both properties are located off Highway 50 and touch the shores of Lake Como.

Back when it was the Lodge at Geneva Ridge, there was public speculation as to the future of the resort.

"Last year was slow," Myers said. "The problem was, with Geneva Ridge, Anvan quietly locked the doors in December of 2010 (then) very quietly reopened (in 2011)."

She said Paloma began overseeing Geneva Ridge in May 2011. Myers admitted that wasn't well known publicly, partly because of the impending sale of the resort.

"There was a lot to oversee, so we were quiet about it, too," she said. "But at this point, we're ready to reopen, put our name on it and reopen strongly."

Expect this to mean more tie-ins between Geneva Ridge and Geneva National. Myers said the goal is to become as well-known as Destination Kohler, near Sheboygan, which hosted the 2010 PGA Tournament.

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She said Geneva National, with its 54 holes of golf, faced a prime challenge — no hotel on the property.

"We've worked around it and have relationships with resorts throughout the area," Myers said. "So, now, we're just branding Geneva Ridge with Geneva National. When you golf here, (Geneva Ridge) is where you can stay."

She said the change at Geneva Ridge will be upgrading the service to the level of which Geneva National is "known for."

"When you go to Geneva Ridge, you'll be treated like you are at Geneva National," Myers said, adding it's at a "country-club level."

Working on new image

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But convincing the public may be a challenge, considering the recent hush-hush atmosphere surrounding the former Lodge or even how some criticized the level of service at the resort.

In 1973, Anvan first opened a Holiday Inn on the property, then renamed it Interlaken until it closed for renovations in 2007. Myers said while there may still be some nostalgia attached to the name Interlaken, "by the 90s and early 2000s, we were in desperate need of renovation."

Paloma spent about $2 million on improvements which Myers said weren't made during the 2008 renovation project. Malfunctioning heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, leaks in the roof and a two-story atrium behind the hotel — which was "very neglected under the old ownership" — were improved, Myers said.

Given all this, she said the greatest challenge in rebranding Geneva Ridge is reintroducing people to the property.

"We're going to have to work hard to win people back," she said.

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That's what they're doing. In addition to marketing it with Geneva National and the Geneva Ridge improvements, another way Paloma is striving to reintroduce the property is with some events.

An invitation-only ribbon-cutting ceremony is set for Tuesday, June 12. Geneva Town Chairman Joe Kopecky is among those expected to speak at the event.

The rest of the events are open to the public. Myers said to keep up with the schedule, visit genevaridge.com.

A pool membership open house is set for Friday, June 15, from 3 to 6 p.m. Also, a Fourth of July party is scheduled, with activities throughout the day.

Myers said that's when people should be able to enjoy the new patio area. Construction of it is "well underway," she said, and when finished, it will feature a bar, fire pit and stage area. She said the new patio could accommodate a cocktail party of about 200 people.

"We'll have entertainment on the weekends," Myers said. "We don't have a schedule yet, but it's the perfect spot for a band or a trio to play."

The Fourth of July party also will feature children's games, food, beverages, a picnic, a bouncy house, a disc jockey from noon to 5 p.m. and live music from 5 to 9 p.m.

"It's the first time we've ever done something like this," Myers said.

She said she hopes the party is well-attended.

"A couple hundred would be great," Myers said.

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