Courtesy Osthoff Resort
Work was expected to begin before the end of the year on a 20,000-square-foot expansion of the resort’s north wing. Of that, half will be meeting and event space; the other half will be prefunction and back-of-the-house areas.
With the addition, the resort on eastern Wisconsin’s Elkhart Lake will be able to seat 800 for dinners and 1,400 for theater-style meetings.
Lola Roeh, general manager, called the expansion good not only for the resort but for the Village of Elkhart Lake and many area hospitality businesses.
“We will be a destination for larger groups that previously would not have considered the Osthoff, and that means an influx of dollars for the local tourism economy, particularly during the cold-weather low season when we all need it.”
When expansion was proposed during the resort’s annual strategic planning session, there was swift consensus that additional conference space was the best strategy for growth.
“We were capped in the types of meetings and events we could attract, given we had the least square footage per guest room of all our competitors,” said Roeh.
The resort has ample guest room inventory to accommodate the additional meeting space. The Osthoff is a condominium-style property and condominium owners gave their approval of the expansion in late October.
The addition will be a continuation of the north wing conference center built in 2005, with decor and finishes consistent with that space. Prefunction space and the entire north wall will have windows; and a porte-cochere, 100 additional parking spaces and a garden area will be added. Milwaukee architecture firm Kahler Slater, which designed the 2005 addition, has been selected for the project.
Another interesting aspect to the space is the ability to accommodate vehicles. “Given the rich history of car racing at nearby Road America, we anticipate interest among groups and manufacturers needing ample space to display cars,” said Roeh.
Every year since 2005 the resort has completed at least one significant development project. It built the north wing with conference center, spa and restaurant; added a cooking school; created a lake deck for casual dining and live music; added a lounge to its Elk Room; expanded the gardens that serve the hotel’s restaurants; and recently refurbished guest suites in the main building and south wing.
“We are never ones to rest on our laurels and we’re always looking to be a leader in hospitality trends,” said Roeh.