Lincoln Best Western shoots for
the stars – all five of them
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[February 08, 2019]
If all goes well within the next year or so, the Lincoln Best
Western will achieve Five Star status and will be the only motel in
the community to have such a superior rating. It is a goal of the
owners Sam Bhatt and Bobby Dave to bring the motel up to the highest
quality standards by offering more amenities to its customers.
As a part of that goal, last week the Best Western received its
liquor license from the city of Lincoln. The immediate goal at the
motel is to establish a portable bar that will be brought out in the
evenings to accommodate guests.
Later this year, the owners plan to build a new addition onto the
motel between the current structure and the Lincoln American Legion.
Inside will be a lounge and small restaurant. Finishing that project
will give them four-and-a-half stars. When they add an enclosure for
the swimming pool they will then have all the required amenities for
the five star rating.
A small slice of the
breakfast area that can also be used as the lounge for the portable
bar in the near future.
The portable bar, Bhatt said, would or could be used in a variety of
ways. For regular business, the bar will be rolled out in the
evenings and can be placed in the lobby or the breakfast area that
goes practically unused after 10 a.m. each day. He said guests can
come into the area, enjoy a drink while sitting at the tables, or
they can grab a free cup of coffee and visit with friends or other
guests. If there is some type of private party, the bar can be moved
to the motel conference room, or even taken outside for a larger
Bhatt and Dave have owned the motel since July of 2018 and have been
continually working to improve the business, always with the goal of
achieving that five star status.
Those who have known the motel and its history know that the
establishment has undergone many positive changes over the last
several years. Transforming to a motel that is now one of the nicest
in the community began with former owner Parish Patel. When Patel
purchased the motel several years ago, he began immediately
re-vamping the entire business, making it into a high quality and
very attractive three-star business.
The new owners Bhatt and Dave therefore had a very good base to
When the two men purchased the business they broke one of their own
ownership rules, but according to Bhatt, it was well worth it. Bhatt
explained recently that he is part of a small network of investors
who partner to purchase motels. There are a number of investors, and
when a property comes up for sale they talk among themselves to
determine if there are at least two of them who are interested in
partnering to take on the new venture.
Bhatt said one rule they have always gone by is that they only
purchase properties within a one-hour drive from the home of one of
the partners. For Bhatt, home is in Chicago, and he owns with
partners motels in Chicago and also in Indiana.
Bhatt said that when the Best Western in Lincoln came up for sale it
was a three-hour drive from his home to the business. However, he
was drawn to the property because of the history of the community.
He noted that a big selling point for him was that the world’s
largest covered Wagon, the Railsplitter Covered Wagon, would be in
his front yard. In addition, the wagon served as a link to the rest
of the Lincoln community that is so rich in Abraham Lincoln history.
He said he saw the great potential of offering a top ranked motel,
the only one off of the south exit from the interstate, and the one
that is getting a lot of exposure due to the wagon, to tourists
traveling in search of Lincoln history, and also Route 66 history.
He said that he and Dave bought the property and began right away
setting their goals for the five star ranking. To date, he said they
have invested $180,000 in upgrading the motel. The rooms are being
re-done one or two at a time. Bhatt said that it is a slow process
because they can’t shut down too many rooms at a time. But, he added
that doing the upgrades is an important part of maintaining a
One of two styles of hot tub room.
In room amenities include refrigerator, microwave, coffee pot and
Hot tub room with corner garden tub.
Rooms include comfortable seating.
The rooms that have been redone are beautiful. Bhatt said he
personally doesn’t like wallpaper, so walls have been stripped and
new paint schemes have been put in. There are also plans to upgrade
the televisions in all the rooms.
The workout area.
To achieve the five-star rating, in addition to lovely rooms, the
motel needs to offer a conference space, which it already has; a
workout room, which it already has; and a spa, which is currently a
work in progress.
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Best Western owners Sam Bhatt
(left) and Bobby Dave.
The spa massage area is open, but still technically a work in
The spa is open and available with a massage table and masseuse by
appointment, but Bhatt said there is still work to do to finish off
the area. The motel must also offer an elevator, which is one of the
big improvements that Patel made on the motel years ago.
The motel must offer an all-season swimming pool and a lounge and
restaurant. Bhatt said he has the swimming pool, but it is not
enclosed. That is a project for the near future.
The lounge will eventually be a solid structure and will be called
“Friends.” The lounge for guests and the public, will offer food and
Asked if he and Dave also plan to offer video gaming, Bhatt said
that gaming was not something they had even considered. He said the
liquor license was all about getting that fifth star.
The green space between the two utilities poles is part of the Best
Western property. The strip runs from Lincoln Parkway to the back
end of the property and is a great location for a strip mall.
In addition to upgrading the ranking at the motel, Bhatt and Dave
have a bigger vision for their property. The purchase of the motel
came with several acres of land that the partners plan to develop
offering a gas station/convenience store and a strip mall. Bhatt
said that the strip mall would be small niche’ businesses that would
cater to tourists passing through, as well as overnight guests at
the motel. He noted a sandwich shop or ice cream store or both could
be among the possibilities.
Bhatt said with the motel in the location it is, travelers lack
choices within walking distance of their room. For some who are
driving larger vehicles, or those who have been behind the wheel all
day, being able to walk to a variety of locations is desirable.
Bhatt said that he and Dave have $5 million to invest in developing
He added that he personally has no interest in owning and operating
a large restaurant. However, if someone else wanted to own a
restaurant on his property, it would certainly be worth considering.
Noting that the majority of the businesses that cater to travelers
are on the west side of town, Bhatt said that what he and Dave have
planned will make this south entry into Lincoln more attractive and
more visitor friendly. He said that the goal is not to compete with
what is already in that area, but to complement it with a variety of
offerings that will keep travelers in the area for a longer period
Bhatt also noted that competition is good for everyone, and that
bringing more into the city will make it more attractive to all.
When the work is all done at the motel, Bhatt said there will be
additional staff hired, which could be helpful to the local economy.
He also envisions up to another 100 jobs offered through the
development of the property, again, a good thing for the local
All in all, Bhatt and Dave are very excited about what they are
doing in Lincoln. They are looking forward to having that five star
ranking and being able to give travelers an extremely comfortable
and traveler friendly environment on the city’s south side.
The Best Western offers large rooms with king beds. There are
regular rooms and hot tub rooms. They offer pet friend
accommodations and also have ADA accessible rooms.
The motel offers the gym, spa, a personal laundry area where guests
can do their own laundry, free breakfast and a snack and soda area.
The ‘Honeymoon suite’ also known as the Blue Room is extra-large and
offers a hot tub as well.
The motel offers a beautiful ‘honeymoon suite’ also known as the
blue room, and a large and comfortable lobby that also features a
“business center” with a computer desk and internet access. There is
also internet access in the rooms.
A view of the lobby from the upstairs balcony.
Look for more big things to come from the Lincoln Best Western.
Bhatt said that as they work to achieve all these goals, there will
certainly be opportunities for the community to come out and help
them celebrate their achievements.