Hi Ho Motel refurbished
With a flip of a switch Tuesday evening, the Hi Ho Motel on Black Rock Turnpike was back, and better than ever.
Built in 1960, the motel’s reputation of late had deteriorated, along with the property itself. That changed when Ed Gormbley and partner Clay Fowler purchased the motel for $4.35 million in 2014. Like they did with the Fairfield Circle Inn on the Post Road, the pair transformed the run-down motel into an upscale place to stay.
“That neon Hi Ho sign lit up burned in my memory,” Gormbley said, at Tuesday’s ribbon cutting and sign lighting ceremony, marking the return of the motel, now with edgier, modern rooms instead of hourly rentals. Like it was for many others, Gormbley said, the Hi Ho sign that could be seen from the Merritt Parkway was a landmark for him while growing up.
Refurbishing the property, which is also home to Barcelona, a tapas restaurant, and a liquor store, was a group effort, Gormbley said.
“We’re really glad it turned out the way it did,” he said, and told the crowd gathered for the ceremony that for the next two weeks, they could stay at the motel for $1 a night. If they have good feedback, Gormbley said, post it on Trip Advisor. If it’s not so good, he joked, tell their staff directly.
First Selectman Mike Tetreau said he has recently had family stay at the Circle Inn, with rave reviews. He said the town was happy to have the refurbished properties in town.
“This is a niche we need in Fairfield,” he said, and one that adds value to the entire town. The Hi Ho, Tetreau said, will leave visitors with “a great impression of what Fairfield’s all about.”