–by Mary Helen Darah
PUBLICATION DATE: July 05, 2018
I still find it hard to believe that the Wingate by Wyndham has been open since May of 2003 and I have yet to walk through its doors … until now. I stepped into the spacious lobby and was greeted by General Manager Lea Maclaren, who has been at the helm since opening day. “I graduated from Indiana State University on a Sunday and began work on the following Monday,” she recalled. She quickly gave me a rundown of what the facility has to offer. “We have three meeting rooms and two boardrooms,” she explained. “We host many meetings and events from interviews to new business gatherings. Lately, we have a lot of traveling business people that rent rooms while they are in town doing business. Our Arbor Room is the largest meeting room in our facility. It holds up to 40 people and it can be divided into two rooms. We have done rehearsal dinners, baby showers, and present opening for couple’s following a wedding. Once the room was set up as a night care babysitting room for a wedding held elsewhere in the area. On holidays, we do a great deal of family gatherings. We have a Sylvania family that annually hosts their Thanksgiving holiday here. During the Christmas holiday, we have people rent the meeting rooms and rent rooms for families to gather. We also have people rent the lobby for overflow or social gatherings if a larger mingling space is needed.”
Be our guest
Of course, it’s not all “meet-and-greet” at the Wingate. People stay overnight in a variety of room options. Acting as a potential guest I went up to the registration area and was warmly greeted by the front desk person. She immediately asked if I was part of the Wyndham Rewards Program, which sadly I am not a member of, but if I enrolled during my stay I would receive a goodie bag and 10 points per dollar. The most important info was to follow. I was also informed that breakfast is served from 6 a.m.-10 a.m. daily. By the looks of things, this self-described “foodie” would be a happy camper with their numerous selections of breakfast items. The facility also contains a fitness center that is open 24 hours a day (who are we kidding-not a huge concern for me) and a yoga/recreation room that at times is used for sports teams, speech and debate teams or people who want to work out in groups.
Maclaren also told me a little tidbit that made me wish I had arrived later in the day. “In the afternoon, when people arrive, there are fresh baked cookies,” she stated. She then gave me a rundown of the room choices. “There are three whirlpool suites on the property and 19 additional suites that have a living room and a bedroom. The rest of the rooms are a combination of one king or two queen beds,” she said. “All rooms have Wolfgang Puck coffee, a microwave and a refrigerator. Guests really enjoy having those amenities. There is also an iPod compatible alarm clock that you can customize with the music of your choice. We are also in the process of adding Chromecast streaming devices to all the TVs so guests can enjoy the movies and shows they stream at home.”
Count on me
The Wingate also actively participates in the ‘Count on Me’ program. “The program helps staff improve service initiatives, community involvement and to learn about green initiatives and safety,” stated Maclaren. “I started the program to improve our services as well as improve morale. We have a staff party quarterly where we reward employees for going above and beyond. We have been rated an A Property since we opened and intend to stay that way. We are always searching and striving for ways to improve.”