Trisha Pérez Kennealy: Owner of The Inn at Hastings Park

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Bio:

Owning a boutique luxury inn with a fabulous restaurant is what Trisha was always meant to do; she just didn’t know it until now. On paper she may be new to hospitality, but Trisha’s life experience has perfectly prepared her for this profession. She’s one part business entrepreneur with training at Harvard Business School and one part chef with training at Le Cordon Bleu Culinary School in London. However, it’s Trisha’s lifestyle and values that have prepared her above and beyond all else. Trisha grew up in Puerto Rico and spent much of her childhood with her multigenerational family sitting around the table sharing food and stories. From Puerto Rico, Trisha’s family moved to Lexington, and years later, when it was time for Trisha and her husband Michael to decide where they would raise their three children, the decision was easy.  Trisha and Michael love Lexington for its sense of civic engagement, its reverence for its rich history, and its eclectic mixture of cultures, religions and people. With the development of The Inn at Hastings Park, Trisha can now share her love of Lexington and her passion for good food and gracious hospitality. 

How did you get into the hospitality industry?

I got into the hospitality industry by attending LeCordon Bleu in London. I had always loved cooking and figured that if I was going to become a chef and teach other people about food I needed to learn from the best.

Tell us about The Inn at Hastings Park. What inspired the idea and what is your vision for the hotel?

The Inn at Hastings Park is the quintessential New England Inn with a modern twist. I was inspired to open the Inn because I love this type of hospitality.   I never thought that I could do something like this in my own hometown.  When the property became available I jumped on it because it was located right in the center of town right at the gateway that leads into the Battle Green, which is the sight of the first battle of the American Revolution.   I felt that if people are going to come to learn about this important event in American history they might at well experience what New England has to offer in its full glory.

What strategic partnerships/marketing strategies have you implemented that have attributed to your hotel's success?

The strategic partnerships that we have with local farmers and artisans have been key to our success.  We celebrate Artistry, which is the name of the restaurant at the Inn, in many many different ways. I believe that the farmers, who are at the heart of the agricultural Renaissance here in Massachusetts, are integral to the quality of the product that we're delivering to our guests. I believe the many designers that we have worked with throughout New England to highlight their craftsmanship make our decor very special. 

What industry trends are you noticing and how do you capitalize on them?

One industry trend that we're noticing is that people are looking for much more personalized experiences,  whether it's in the food that they eat or the style of accommodations they are seeking out, I think people really want to have something that is authentic to the place that they're visiting and experience that they want to have.

Life Motto?

Go big and go home (or come to my Inn!)

Inn at Hastings Park's Motto?

Experience Revolutionary Hospitality

Your greatest success as proprietor of Inn at Hastings Park? Most difficult moment-how did you overcome and what did you learn? 

My greatest success as a the proprietor of the Inn at Hastings Park is achieving Relais and Chateaux status within our first year of opening.  The most difficult moment happened during the zoning process when we had a hearing that forced us to redesign the project.  I felt especially defeated at that point but learned the importance of clear communication and not to take anything for granted especially when you are asking or trying to do something new or different.  

Your advice to an aspiring hotelier?

Take the time to really learn about all of the different skills needed to run a hotel. Spend time working in as many departments and properties as you can.  I did not have the luxury of doing this and wish I had before opening my own hotel.  Nothing compares to firsthand experience.  There are so many different systems involved in running today's hotels.  Small hotels need many of the same systems that larger box hotels have in order to be competitive in today's travel market.  

Describe the ideal experience at your hotel. 

The ideal guest experience at the Inn at Hastings Park begins from the moment you make your reservation.  We will ask you what we can to do personalize your experience before you arrival- whether it be a guided tour of historic Lexington,  a customized bike tour, a special amenity in your room we will take care of it.  You will be greeted upon arrival and be shown to your beautifully decorated room.  Upon check-in you will discover a special treat from our culinary team.  You are welcome to relax in the privacy of your room or enjoy the company of others in our living room.  You can enjoy cocktails and dinner in our dining room and then return for a restful night's sleep in our custom made beds.  Your stay will be complete after you enjoy breakfast.

How important are architecture/design to the success of your hotel? 

Architecture and design are the key our success. We refurbished three buildings that were built in the 1800's to welcome today's travelers.  We wanted the design to be celebrate the architectural history of these buildings while still being quite contemporary.  I love when our guests say that they love our contemporary interpretation of traditional American design.

How do you motivate your employees?

I motivate my employees by being very specific about the experience that we want all of our guests to enjoy.  I like giving them examples of when I have experience the type of hospitality we are trying to deliver and encourage them to think about when they have had those experienced in their own lives.

One food and drink left on earth, what would you choose?  

Skirt steak/churrasco with tostones de yuca (fried cassava) with chimmichurri sauce accompanied by a  Mojito made with fresh lime juice and simple syrup.

What literature is on your bed stand?  

Cooking magazines, cookbooks, young adult book being read by one of my three kids, and historical fiction.

Role model - business and personal?

My personal role model is Julia Child.  She inspired me to pursue my love of cooking. She was an intelligent woman with diverse interests. Her cookbook did not get published until she was close to 50.  Her success was driven by her passion and persistence.  My business role model is the entrepreneur.  I admire people who have a vision and are driven to make their vision a reality.  

Current passion?

My always passion is food.  Love cooking, eating and sharing it.  

Favorite travel destination?  

My favorite travel destination is anywhere my family is.  My husband and I travel frequently with our three children.  We love learning new things and especially trying new food.

What's next for The Inn at Hastings Park? 

I would love to write a book and or cookbook that tells the story of The Inn.

http://www.innathastingspark.com/

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