Putnam’s First Brand Name Hotel Open for Business

From left are Putnam County EDC President Kathleen Abels, Tourism Director Tracey Walsh, Comfort Inn Brewster General Manger Seham Ibrahim, owner Shelly Nichani, and Putnam County IDA Chairman Bill Nulk in the hotel lobby on opening day – March 13. Holly Crocco photo.
Owner Shelly Nichani and General Manager Seham Ibrahim chat with Putnam County IDA Chairman Bill Nulk, Tourism Director Tracey Walsh, and EDC President Kathleen Abels in the lobby of the new Comfort Inn Brewster. Holly Crocco photo.
The Comfort Inn Brewster on Peach Lake Road/Route 121 opened March 13. Holly Crocco photo.

No cleaner, more sanitized place could be found March 13 as the Comfort Inn Brewster at 7-11 Peach Lake Road (Route 121) officially opened its doors – marking the opening of the first name brand hotel in Putnam County.

Sparkling new and free of COVID-19 fears, and opening Friday the 13th, nonetheless, owner Shelly Nichani of Greenwich, Conn., said he’s nothing but excited and confident about welcoming residents, visitors, transients and anyone looking for a home away from home.

Nichani and Greenwich Hospitality Group, LLC, own nine franchise hotels in several states. When a realtor alerted him to the property that was available in Brewster, Nichani said he was drawn to its proximity to Interstate 84 and Danbury, and the fact that it would be the first hotel in Putnam County.

As a family-owned business, he said making guests feel at home is what they strive for. “Keep it simple and hospitable, and take care of your customer,” he said.

The Comfort Inn Brewster is a three-story hotel with 57 rooms that offer either two queen-size beds or one king-size bed. Amenities include complementary hot breakfast, a fitness center, and a meeting space that can hold up to 60 people. It employs about 10 staff members, including front desk attendants, housekeeping staff, and a general manager and maintenance supervisor.

Nichani said he expects to see a mix of guests at the hotel, including professionals who are doing business nearby, people visiting family, tourists visiting local ski resorts and other areas of interest, and various travelers on I-84 who need a place to stop off.

Bringing the Comfort Inn Brewster to fruition as taken Nichani about 12 to 15 months.

The property is the location of the former Kelties Bum Steer restaurant and hotel, which was the site of an explosion July 29, 1997 that killed two people and injured five.

Since then, former property owner Fox Ridge Motor Inn, Inc., and its tenant Fox Ridge Hotel & Suites, LLC, attempted to bring a Best Western Plus to the site, but encountered significant financial difficulties, explained Putnam County Industrial Development Agency Chairman Bill Nulk.

He said that when Nichani expressed interest in buying the property in 2018, all parties involved worked hard to expedite the process of transitioning property ownership.

“It worked out to be an adequate realignment,” said Nulk, explaining that not only is the hotel located in an ideal location, but it also replaces the eyesore that has existed for more than 20 years. “The town is very happy to have it here.”

In addition, Nulk noted that Nichani owns another 10 acres of property adjacent to the hotel that could be developed into a restaurant, convention center-type facility, or other commercial space as nearby Route 6 is redeveloped.

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