Lenox — A red ribbon was cut Monday afternoon (September 21) to officially open the latest asset to the Mahida family hotel empire, Prem Management LLC’s 95-room Hilton Garden Inn.
Vijay and Chrystal Mahida saw opportunity on a muddy hillside years ago – on the site of Lahey’s Garden Center in back of Guido’s Fresh Marketplace — and this $14 million Hilton Garden Inn on the Lenox/Pittsfield line was born after 2 ½ years of work, Vijay Mahida said. Off Route 7, the Hilton Garden Inn features an upscale modern décor with lots of glass and details carefully chosen by Chrystal Mahida. The hotel has an indoor swimming pool, spa, meeting room, and a bar and restaurant with outdoor seating.
In addition, the hotel can boast a sustainable energy commendation. It is partially powered by an array of solar panels on its roof.
Hilton Worldwide Senior Director Karen Whitman said the Mahida’s hotel exemplifies the Hilton brand and said it “brings to Lenox a different product than already exists.”
Whitman said the Mahida’s “perseverance was impressive.”
“We faced some challenges,” Vijay Mahida said.
Pittsfield Mayor Dan Bianchi recalled “sliding around in the mud” with the Mahidas on the hill. “These folks have tremendous imagination to put a hotel here,” he said. “It’s a lovely spot, and you’re not going to find a nicer family.”
Vijay Mahida said he couldn’t have done it without his family. He also thanked the family’s Indian American and Greek American friends from Springfield, who came to show support and appreciate the results of Mahida family brainpower and tenacity.
Congressman Richard E. Neal, his political polish sparkling here on home turf, took it a step further. “It’s still the story of America,” he said of the Mahida’s “immigrant ambition.” The family came to the Berkshires from India in 1994, with no money and no English skills. Vijay Mahida’s first job here was at a Pittsfield motel, and ever since, each job, each motel or hotel, has led to a newer, bigger, better venture, Mahida told The Edge.
Neal said that the family had “the courage to proceed in a difficult moment” in the American economy, “during the worst recession since the Great Depression.”
“It’s a great lesson,” Neal added, “a great road map going forward…congratulations from the United States of America.”
A room tour shows that the Mahidas know what they’re doing. Fluffy beds, natural light and sleek bathrooms make all the difference for travelers. The lobby is open, bright, with lots of comfy chairs in which to plop. The bar is close by.
“I think it’s very nicely done,” said Main Street Hospitality Group CEO Sarah Eustis. Main Street, owner of The Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge, the Porches in North Adams, and several other hotels, also manages and partly owns the new, much-heralded Hotel on North in downtown Pittsfield.
“It’s high quality,” Eustis said of the Hilton, “and it adds something to the landscape as Pittsfield and Lenox evolve. You can tell that a lot of thought and care went into it.”
Vijay and Chrystal Mahida own both the Fairfield Inn and Comfort Inn in Great Barrington, and their next project, unveiled just this weekend, is Chrystal Mahida’s own: The Berkshire in Great Barrington. The 95-room boutique hotel is to go into the old Searles School complex, set to be demolished after it had been abandoned 10 years ago. Plans are to be delivered this week to Town Hall to begin the permitting process.
Pravin Mahida, Vijay’s brother, is in the permitting process for a 114-suite extended stay Marriott Residence Hotel north of the Arcadian Shop on Routes 7 and 20 in Lenox.
It really is a family business. The extended Mahida family was there in force, and Vijay Mahida told guests that he named this company for his 10-year-old son Prem, after naming the Comfort Inn LLC after his daughter,Irini.
Prem had told his father that he wanted a hotel, too.