When Terri Sirmans joined the staff of Holiday Inn Express in Bellingham, in 1999, she began at the front desk; today she’s the General Manager. In an industry that often sees regular turnover, her entire management team is made up of dedicated employees who have been with the hotel over a decade, one nearing twenty years.
“None of us started in management,” says Sirmans. “Every one of us has come up through the ranks.”
This says a lot about Bellingham’s Holiday Inn Express, located on Meridian Street and smack dab in the heart of shopping and restaurants galore.
It’s a tight-knit team that Sirmans says is very much like a family – and that feeling shines through for guests of the 101-room hotel.
“I can’t say enough about them; they’re just good people,” she says of her management team and staff, which totals around 35, depending on the season.
“If you pass a Holiday Inn Express staff member in the hallway or at the pool – anywhere on hotel grounds – you’ll get a smile and a hello,” Sirmans says. “It’s just a friendly group of people who’ll do anything to make you’re stay nice.”
Holiday Inn Express Amenities
Bellingham’s Holiday Inn Express offers all the expected amenities – and more – with a hot breakfast bar, free wifi, indoor pool and hot tub next to a lovely outdoor patio, and free access to the full-service City Gym right next door.
And the rooms? Standard rooms have either two queen-size beds or one king, as do deluxe rooms. Other options include a room with a kitchenette and two queen-size beds, as well a junior suite with a dividing wall separating the seating area and bed. Seven rooms are ADA-compliant, and two of those spaces include roll-in showers.
The hotel completed a total renovation in 2014, with every single surface throughout – from carpets to curtains, wall coverings to furniture – switched out for brand new.
“Every room was stripped down to the walls,” says Sirmans. New furniture replaced the old – even the bathtubs were torn out and upgraded.
“It was challenging, to say the least,” Sirmans says with a laugh. “We’d take 35 rooms or so out at a time and renovate them. During those months, we did well because the rooms we had available were 95 percent full.”
The new tile in the entrance, lobby and breakfast bar mimics wood plank floors, meshing perfectly with a light-handed nautical theme that nods to the Pacific Northwest.
Dark, rich wood tones complement neutral walls and pops of inky blue and verdant green in furnishings and fabrics. Equal attention was given to the rooms, also finished in a sophisticated – yet comfortable – style.
“We did everything we set out to do,” Sirmans says of the transformation. “Simple elegance.”
The hotel also went to 100 percent non-smoking with the remodel.
As for the mountain of older furniture that was replaced, Sirmans gave her staff first choice of items, and the rest was then donated to Love INC of Whatcom County.
“We wanted to find ways to recycle things back into our community,” say Sirmans.
Supporting Local Companies
“We do a lot of work through Bay City Supply,” she says, giving just one example. “I’ve had several companies want that business, but I always say, ‘I’m sorry, but he gives me good prices and I’m not changing.’ I like to do business in the community, when I can.”
“That’s always been a priority, seeing if we can do it locally,” Sirmans says.
A Perfect Fit For Northwest Washington Visitors
Bellingham has seen a sharp increase in the number of hotel rooms available, with several new hotels popping up in recent years, and more on the way. “I’ve got a great product, great staff, and a wonderful location,” Sirmans says of her hotel.
Sirmans goal is to keep the Holiday Inn Express as strong as it’s always been. “That’s why we did the renovation early,” she says. “We’ve made ourselves as beautiful as any of the new hotels.”
Holiday Inn Express hotels across the nation enjoy a wonderful and the company has one of the top award-winning rewards points programs. “Our points never expire,” Sirmans says. “It’s a fantastic program. And as far as our hotel, we’re a perfect fit for anyone coming into the Northwest. We know and love our area – and we want you to enjoy it as much as we do.”
Book online or by calling Holiday Inn Express at 877-859-5095.