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Checking in at the new Holiday Inn

The frame is set, and Damian Humphreys, marketing director for the new Holiday Inn Express, readies himself to hang the picture in tourists' minds to stay in Sequim.

"We want to be a hotel Sequim can be proud of," Humphreys said about the new 77-room Holiday Inn Express at 1441 E. Washington St., Sequim.

The new hotel is receiving reservations for next summer even though it's not expected to open until Nov. 20, with a grand opening anticipated in late December.

Will Clayton, superintendent with Wright Hotel Development of Portland, Ore., said the hotel's infrastructure would be finished by late October. However, Humphreys said they are playing safely with the hotel's opening date and having the soft opening a month later.

Clayton said they used seven local contractors for the project and their work will make Holiday Inn Express unique.

It will have two, two-room suites, 15 suites total, a 250-person meeting room, 1,400 square feet of rooftop accessible garden space and, later, a Black Bear Diner next door.

Holiday Inn Express will work hand-and-hand with Quality Inn & Suites at 134 River Road, on the west side of Sequim. Rooms in the new hotel will cost $15-20 more than Quality Inn, but the two hostelries will refer to one another for availability and guests' specific needs.

Humphreys said Holiday Inn will be priced a year out. During that time, they can drop prices to fill rooms but will not increase them.

His goal is to compete with Port Angeles hotels and help make Sequim the destination for tourists on the peninsula.

"Our goal is to put the new hotel in the top 1 to 2 percent internationally," he said.

"Even with two hotels, we will not drop standards in either one."

An American Automobile Association office will be located in the new building.

Humphreys said the organization was hesitant to come to Sequim, but he offered them an office and they accepted.

"With so many (AAA) members here, it makes sense to have an office," he said.

Next to the office, another space is available.

Humphreys has looked into a car rental agency or a spa.

"With a spa, it turns us into a spa-like destination," Humphreys said.

"However, if there is a local business that would benefit from being in a hotel, then I'd be open."

The Black Bear Diner will open a few months after the hotel's grand opening.

Humphreys said internal problems with the bank they were working with prevented them from going forward immediately, but two other banks are waiting to step in.

The restaurant project will total $4 million, he said.

Reach Matthew Nash at mnash@sequimgazette.com.

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