Jon Konkel joined the Festiva family in April of 2017, becoming general manager of Ellington at Wachesaw East Resort. He’s no stranger to the hospitality industry – he’s got 20 years of experience under his belt, previously having served as general manager of Anderson Ocean Club, an HGV property.
As the start date for room renovations at the resort draws closer, there’s much to talk about at Ellington. We sat down with Konkel for a brief interview, talking about his thoughts on the renovation and his vision for the resort.
He said extensive information was collected and a lot of thoughtful planning went into the decisions on the renovations. Deficiencies were identified, problems solved and guest input listened to.
The resort as a whole is very solid: it’s quiet, the location in Murrells Inlet is fantastic, the grounds are always looking well groomed, and the adjacent golf course is a favorite. But in doing the research, the sticking point for guests always came down to the rooms, according to Konkel.
“The message I got was, Ellington is tired. It’s a great property with so much potential, but the owners were wanting to see improvements, and people were frustrated with the condition of the rooms,” said Konkel. “The staff and I listened to several owners this summer venting about the rooms, but we were excited to share that change is coming.”
Starting this upcoming spring, those complaints will be no more as crews begin the process of renovating every room down to the paint, with all construction projected to be completed by the end of the first quarter in 2019. On the horizon is a drastically updated room for guests – one that is bright, vibrant and relaxing.
The new motif is simplified, beach focused, more modern and upscale. And along with the new furniture, flooring, appliances, ceiling fans, wall art, lighting and bathrooms, comes new flat screen televisions and upgraded wi-fi to handle all your family’s devices while on vacation.
The model unit is available on site for viewing right now. Konkel said he was blown away when it was unveiled.
“I said, ‘Wow, this is what we’re looking for.’ It’s a breath of fresh air, and these new rooms will turn Ellington into a cleaner, more upscale resort that we can be proud of,” he said. “I can’t wait for the day when construction starts.”
Along with the upgrades being done to the Wachesaw East Golf Club, there are a few more exciting things happening at Ellington that Konkel outlined as part of our Elevating the Journey campaign.
The popular East Grill and Pub serves breakfast, lunch and dinner for golfers on the go, resort guests dining in, or people with quick carryout orders. Right now, there’s a Cuban-themed menu that has been a bit confusing for guests. Konkel said he’s looking at simplifying things as well as adding more entertainment to the mix, such as live music in the outdoor bar area.
“We’re looking at changing the menu to southern cuisine or something with a more local flair. Something simple and high quality that tastes great,” he said.
Lounging around the three pools at Ellington is a great pastime, especially with the outstanding coastal South Carolina weather. Starting next year, a pool menu will be offered with bite-sized appetizers and specialty drinks.
Konkel went on to say that they have upgraded the fitness facility at the resort as well.
“We have recently upgraded all the cardio equipment to state-of-the art machines. We are proud to have Precor equipment, and our owners and guests can enjoy an amazing workout, while listening to their music devices or watching TV on each machine.”
Lastly, Konkel and his team were involved in what he called a huge undertaking in modifying Festiva’s Standard Operating Procedures regarding in-room products. The team had already started the initiative at the beginning of the year and Konkel stepped in and supported it to its completion. This involved everything from bath products, kitchen utensils and bath towels, to bed linens and decor. It was a large initiative in which everything was examined with a fine-toothed comb, with the goal that every room in every Festiva property have consistent in room products.
“This was a great challenge, but we now have upscale products in every room,” he said. “We take pride in what we’re delivering to you, and now you’re going to get consistency, wherever you stay.”