Hotel on Bristol’s horizon

Hotel on Bristol’s horizon


Bristol may soon be able to accommodate more overnight visitors.

LaFrance Hospitality Company has put a sizable downpayment on a 9.6-acre lot along Gooding Avenue for the purpose of building a hotel. The purchase price is $400,000.

State Rep. Ken Marshall, who is part-owner of the property, said LaFrance plans to build a 70-room hotel, which would open in spring 2015. The company’s investment would be about $7 million.

“(LaFrance) thought Bristol is a suitable area for the clientele they serve,” Mr. Marshall explained. “There’s a university presence, manufacturing and tourism, which would give them the consistent flow for hotel use.”

LaFrance is currently undergoing its 90-day “due diligence,” Mr. Marshall said, ensuring the property is build-able and securing the proper permits. Once that period is over, and all requirements have been met, LaFrance will own the property.

“This would be a great economic driver for Bristol,” said Mike Byrnes, co-chair of Explore Bristol. “Those who need a place to stay, would end up going to Swansea or Middletown (if Bristol accommodations were full). That means they’re shopping somewhere else, and eating somewhere else.”

Explore Bristol has been working for over two years to market the town as a tourist attraction, as well as a place to live, work and do business. The addition of a hotel would be good for tourists, but also visitors who are in town for business, Mr. Byrnes said.

“It’s a good start to generating the economic vitality of the town,” he said.

The only hotel in Bristol is the Bristol Harbor Inn, located on Thames Street, which has 40 rooms. There’s also seven bed and breakfast businesses in town, which collectively offer 34 rooms. One, the Point Pleasant Inn and Resort is only open seasonally. It’s closed to overnight guests from November to May.

“We’re very enthusiastic about exploring the opportunity to bring a nationally branded hotel to the Town of Bristol,” said Richard LaFrance, CEO of LaFrance Hospitality Company. “It would be a very natural extension of our hospitality properties in neighboring Southeastern Massachusetts.”

LaFrance owns eight hotels throughout New England, including Whites of Westport.


  1. That is great news for Bristol! It will be nice to have more hotel space in town competing with the Bristol Harbor Hotel and providing more room choices, especially during the summer months. I’m surprised at the choice of location though: the available land at the top of Franklin at Metacom, to me, works better for a hotel.

    I will be very interested in watching the progress of this development. A P&S at $1.00 per square foot of land, spells wetlands to me. Storm water management and environmental guidelines are very difficult to overcome in this town. Let’s hope the town embraces the project and fast-tracks it though the permitting process!

  2. More jobs for the area so that will be great. However, if they are going to go for the tourist trade and price the rooms at a high rate, people will still stay in Swansea and elsewhere. They’ll probably do good during 4th of July week and possible during the summer but they will have a hard time filling those rooms the rest of the year. Hope it works out.

  3. They have a wide variety of properties – Hampton Inns, Comfort Inns, Fairfield Inn & Suites, Homewood Suites, Holiday Inns, TownPlace Inns.

    They also own a few restaurants and catering companies of which White’s of Westport is one though the story calls it a hotel. The neighboring Hampton Inn there is theirs also. White’s of Bristol would be nice too. 9.6 acres can support a big restaurant also.

    70 rooms flushing the toilet there could mean the area may need a sewage upgrade hopefully the town doesn’t get stuck paying that tab.

    The only property they can be talking about is behind the Walgreens -aside the Stop & Shop on the north side of Gooding Ave.

    If the town doesn’t have a per night Hotel room tax now its the right time to enact one. A dollar a day tax per rented room isn’t going to kill their business but it would pay for some of the school funding shortages that are going to continue for the next few years till the town is short about $7 million a year.