Weddings are big business for this newly opened Rowley, Massachusetts, resort, where the staff is balancing its events roster while still ramping up.
ROWLEY, Massachusetts—The Briar Barn Inn is ramping up to be a complete wedding resort for couples looking for a location outside of Boston for their special day.
Teresa McKillop, GM at the Briar Barn Inn, said the hotel partially opened on 5 January with just the hotel and not the spa or 100-seat barn restaurant, The Grove.
The spa is awaiting final finishes and the restaurant will launch in mid-April, she said. The first three weddings at the property will be hosted in the restaurant space in March.
The farmhouse-style hotel has faced some challenges with being in a more remote location, but McKillop said guests who want to try out the property before the spa and restaurant are fully up and running understand that the nearest restaurant or movie theater might be 30 minutes away.
“In most places, it wouldn’t be a problem because you’re booking a hotel room to book a hotel room,” she said. “In the middle of Rowley, you’re booking this hotel room because you want the whole resort feel. If you’re going to Boston, you’re going there for a reason and there’s a lot of tourism and there’s multiple restaurants you want to visit, shows you want to see, but in the heart of Rowley, you’re either coming here for a specific reason or you’re not really hitting it on your way to anywhere else.”
Briar Barn’s parent company, Bramble Hospitality, formed to carry out weddings and other events simultaneously at the Briar Barn Inn and its sister property, Willowdale Estate, which fully functions as an events space, McKillop said. Willowdale Estate used to have guestrooms upstairs, but that space turned into office space once Briar Barn Inn opened.
More on weddings business
The Briar Barn Inn is still figuring out its business mix, but one thing is for sure: The property is a wedding hotel.
The hotel opened with 15 rooms out of a wedding block in January, and McKillop said the hotel has 40 weddings on the books for 2019 and already has 18 scheduled for 2020. Business for the hotel fell a little differently this year because it was offering special promotions to some of the first guests staying at the hotel and booking weddings, but McKillop said she expects the hotel’s peak season will fall during traditional wedding season from May to October.
Once the spa is fully up and running, the GM said she expects wedding parties to take advantage of manicures and pedicures before the wedding. The hotel also hopes to hire a makeup artist to handle makeup looks for bridal parties.
Aside from spa business from weddings, McKillop said she thinks the spa will become a place locals will visit as part of their weekly routines for manicures, pedicures and other spa treatments.
The Grove restaurant at Briar Barn, which is located in a big barn on-property, will also serve as event space at the hotel. The restaurant has two separate areas, and the space on the right-hand side of the restaurant can hold 32 people and has a standalone bar, McKillop said. That area will function as the restaurant if there is an event going on, but if the space is free, the entire barn will serve as the hotel restaurant.