The Abbey plans to upgrade spa
“We’re raising the bar a notch ... to attract more overnight guests,” said General Manager David Lindelow.
The resort is struggling to meet competitive annual occupancy benchmarks and isn’t meeting its own expectations since its conversion to a condominium hotel in 2004, the last time The Abbey was remodeled significantly.
“Following that investment, we looked for a boost,” Lindelow said. “I don’t think we were satisfied with the boost we received.”
Since the renovation, the resort’s annual occupancy has been less than 40 percent; to remain competitive, annual occupancy rates should be about 53.5 percent.
“It wouldn’t be healthy for the resort to continue in that direction,” Lindelow said.
There’s hope, however; this January was about 20 percent ahead of last January, which is a good sign for the coming months, he said.
Spa is project’s main draw
The Abbey has the most trouble attracting guests in the off-season, and resort owners think the spa is their key to turning business around.
“The spa has a tremendous opportunity to help us draw even more people to The Abbey,” Lindelow said.
The Fontana Spa already is used well by local clientele, but with an updated facility comes the potential to fill more rooms with out-of-town guests.
The $1 million project includes a renovation of the lobby, salon and corridors; more treatment rooms, including couples and VIP rooms; upgrades to the locker rooms, pool area and fitness center; landscaping; and a separate entrance.
Construction is set to begin in mid-February and should be completed in mid-May, in time for the summer tourist season. Lindelow said the work will be done in phases so as not to inconvenience spa users.
Village aids project
The Abbey turned to the village of Fontana for help paying for the spa renovation. The village granted the resort a $500,000 tax incremental finance (TIF) loan, which the resort will pay back over the next 20 years with incremental tax revenue.
Because of the significant role the resort plays in the community, it was a natural partnership, village officials said.
“The Abbey is the largest business in Fontana, and their success is important to the community,” wrote Bill Turner, chairman of the Community Development Authority, in an e-mail.
The village board unanimously approved the loan Jan. 7, and the CDA unanimously approved it Jan. 9.
The Abbey is the first business in the village to receive a TIF loan of more than $10,000. The TIF program provides loans for economic development projects that attract or retain businesses in the village’s TIF district. It was created as an alternative for projects that exceeded the $10,000 limit of the village’s façade improvement program.
Facility: Current vs. Planned
Current spa facility
-- 35,000 square feet
-- 17 treatment rooms
-- Men’s and women’s locker rooms
-- Pool area
-- Fitness center
-- Remodel lobby, corridors and salon
-- Increase number of treatment rooms to 21, including couples and VIP rooms
-- Upgrade locker rooms, pool area and fitness center
-- Separate entrance for spa users that won’t require them to walk through the resort