In 2013, Trout Point Lodge will become Atlantic Canada’s only member of the exclusive Select Registry group of inns after a rigorous anonymous inspection process and a vote by the board of directors at their annual meeting in Las Vegas, Nevada, this past weekend. The Lodge is also announcing an expansion of guest units and facilities for the coming summer season.
Also known as Distinguished Inns of North America, the Association was founded in the late 1960s by author Norman Simpson, the “father of country inn travel in America.” In his pioneering book, Country Inns and Back Roads, Simpson noted that,
Each [member] inn is original and unique, a reflection of the personalities and tastes of the individual innkeeper-owners … this was never intended to be a total guide to country inns in the United States and Canada, [but rather] a carefully selected group of inns. The purpose is to encourage travelers to visit … and to experience this unique type of personal hospitality …
Select Registry has particular membership strength in New England, and Trout Point chef/proprietors Vaughan Perret and Charles Leary believe it fitting to have a Nova Scotia link. “There are some fantastic properties in the collection,” said Leary, “including those who share our commitment to superb food and wine.” Examples of other Select Registry inns include the Hartstone Inn in Maine, and the Manor on Golden Pond, which like Trout Point is also a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World, the world’s finest grouping of boutique hotels.
An important distinction between a Select Registry member inn and any other is the system of quality assurance. The Association carries out a quality inspection of each of its nearly 400 inns. This program involves independent inspectors – not employees of Select Registry – with years of experience in the hospitality industry.
The inspectors arrive anonymously, spend the night, and evaluate the inn based on a detailed point system, which translates into a pass/fail grade for the inn. Inns applying for membership are inspected periodically as are existing member inns. Trout Point’s inspection occurred earlier this month.
Not all have what it takes to pass the inspections. Thus, this process provides a guarantee to the traveling public that a Select Registry inn is in a class of its own.
The acceptance by Select Registry culminates a great season for the Lodge as it prepares for 2013 guests. This past fall, Canada Select granted Trout Point 5 stars in the Inn category, while Halifax-based Progress magazine named the small enterprise among Atlantic Canada’s top 8 for growth in 2012 for businesses with sales under $1 million. Earlier in 2012, USA Today included it on a list of the world’s top 10 eco lodges.
Trout Point will expand from 12 guest units (including 2 cottages) to 14 for the 2013 summer season, when visitation to Nova Scotia peaks. It will also ad a new exercise facility and 2nd hot tub on its 100-acre campus along the Tusket River in the southwestern part of the province, part of a UNESCO-designated Biosphere Reserve. In doing so, it bucks a trend towards declining capacity and a tourism crisis in the area, which has lost nearly all its transportation links over the past several years, including direct ferry links with the United States.
“We have occasionally lost corporate or group business since we can only offer 13 bedrooms,” said Leary. “Having 15 rooms, including one 2-bedroom cottage, will mean not only more group bookings, but also greater capacity for the July & August peak.” The new indoor exercise room and protected outdoor hot tub will enhance the guest experience in the winter months. Trout Point opened fully year round–including dining–for the first time this winter.
“If we actually get a Maine ferry back in 2014, we’ll be ready, especially with the Select Registry membership” said Perret. “If not, we will still offer a world-class destination vacation experience and continue to draw guests from around the globe.”