[Letter by Chloe Hou: Views expressed are those of the author, not the Living Snoqualmie website. You may submit letters to email@example.com]
Dear Snoqualmie resident,
This is Chloe, daughter of the owner of the Hampton Inn. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on our request to change the hotel name to “SNOQUALMIE INN” by Hotel America. I want to explain our reasons for this request, share our experience working with Hilton, and ask for your support for our request.
Before I begin, I’d like to offer some background about my family. While my father started a construction company in China when he was 17 years old, his greatest life-long passion has been education. Consequently, he has built and continues to operate an elementary school, a middle school, a high school, a college, and a university over the years. Many families in China cannot afford a good education.
My father understands that education is the greatest pathway to success. Therefore, he found ways to reduce or eliminate tuition for many families and students who could not afford the cost. Many of my classmates have spent their entire lives learning and then teaching and managing my father’s schools, resulting in more expansion, growth, and education investment. My family’s success has resulted from honoring our commitments to the people and communities we serve and treating all with honor and respect. My father and his schools are now highly respected in China.
Our family has taken this same approach to our investments in the United States. As many of you know, the general contractor for our Spring Plaza project walked away with millions of our dollars intended for our sub-contractors. We could have filed for bankruptcy and left the building unfinished for three years. But my family decided to sell other properties to make our subcontractors whole and to maintain your trust and respect. We have every intention to build a strong brand and reputation for years to come. We are just a family who wants to do the right thing, build our own high-quality brand, and honor this amazing community and our newly adopted country.
We can create a more special and unique boutique hotel. The Hilton franchise fees became a significant economic drag on the hotel when the contractor stole from us, and now during the Covid-19 emergency, we’ve gotten no relief. We can do more with the hotel outside of the franchise and without those heavy payments. Hilton does not require us to have a shuttle van. Hilton does not allow us to serve higher quality food or coffee. Hilton does not allow us to promote Snoqualmie attractions on our website. Hilton does not allow us to feature pictures of the Snoqualmie Falls, Mt. Si, Snoqualmie Valley history, or northwest Indian art throughout our hotel. And, Hilton does not determine what room rates we charge, which we intend to maintain.
Here are the things we can do to improve the hotel:
- Create a local boutique brand as was originally envisioned in the Snoqualmie Ridge neo-traditional and pedestrian-centric design. “Snoqualmie Inn” honors the uniqueness of our community, contrary to the “same as everywhere else, USA” big box and cookie-cutter brands and urban design.
- Offer a shuttle bus for our customers.
- Invest exorbitant franchise fees back into our local hotel and community.
- Offer higher quality and more diverse food and beverage options, working with local suppliers.
- Offer better quality coffee. I personally roast for Honor Coffee.
- Legally commit to independent and quarterly quality control audits. Hilton only audits once a year. And our proposed audit measures provide a higher quality standard than Hilton’s.
- Promote tourism in Snoqualmie consistent with long-held City Council goals. We can fully promote Snoqualmie attractions and events on our website and within the hotel featuring information and photos about such amazing assets as the Snoqualmie Falls, the Northwest Railway Museum, local restaurants and businesses, history, parks, trails, the YMCA, and the Sno-King Hockey arena.
- Fully integrate the 8,000sf Spring Plaza building into hotel offerings and operations, better-serving business groups, conventions, celebrations, weddings, and reunions. A lack of full kitchen facilities will compel us to partner with local beverage and restaurant businesses for catering services.
Unlike every Hampton all over the world, we do not want to be a cookie-cutter hotel. We will create a high-quality local brand that promotes and celebrates this unique and special community. Snoqualmie is different from all other cities due to its spectacular natural environment. We wish to fully leverage this beauty to create a famous and well-regarded hotel known as “SNOQUALMIE INN” by Hotel America.
The City Council will take up our request at its December 14th meeting at 7 pm. The agenda can be found here. Please scroll down and click on AB20-116 to find extensive documentation and legal assurances related to our request. (Note: updates incorporating all references to SNOQUALMIE INN may still be pending.) We would greatly appreciate your support.