Warm welcome-Haworth Inn & Conference Center
By Mary Lu Laffey
If Sandy Harmon had her way, everyone in West Michigan would know two things about the Haworth Inn & Conference Center in Holland. “It is open to the public,” she said, “and the public is most welcome.”
Harmon, general manager of Haworth Inn, has been touting this message since she joined the hotel when it opened 20 years ago. The property is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.
“Haworth Inn is owned by Hope College,” she said. “It is true that we are located on the campus. But we are open to the general public, tour groups and conferences. And when you have too many guests and simply need a hotel room.
“Our staff is the reason we have so much repeat business,” Harmon said.
One group, Tomorrow’s Heirloom Rug Hookers, annually hosts a weeklong conference, which they open to the community with a workshop and sale.
“We love our rug hookers,” Harmon said. “About 100 members arrive each year and stay for five days.”
In addition, church groups and the annual Downtown Holland Girlfriends Weekend draw guests to the 50-room inn.
When a family event like a reunion or wedding reception is planned, the experience of the staff at the front of the house and in the kitchen has a chance to shine.
Executive chef Randy Taylor and his culinary team provide a full-catering menu for on- and off-site events. The menu uses locally sourced ingredients whenever possible and changes seasonally. The kitchen does not bake wedding cakes, but will coordinate with the bakery of the bride’s choosing. The kitchen, however, does make desserts.
“Desserts can be as simple as apple crisp or as elegant as a mousse, specialty cheesecake or almond banket,” Taylor said.
Whatever the event, details need to be arranged three to five months in advance, Harmon said. While some brides are opting for more casual menus, like taco bars and barbecue, the service remains the same.
“Our entire staff is at our guests’ disposal,’ Harmon said.
Haworth Inn & Conference Center
275 College Ave.
Photo: Kari Vredevoogd