One of Van Buren County’s premier retirement and resort communities is set to open its first hotel on June 14.
Fairfield Bay, which was created a few years after nearby Greers Ferry Lake opened in 1963, is known for its golf courses, condos, water sports, and a full-service marina, according to the city’s visitors website. A focus on infrastructural improvement led to more vacationers and a need for temporary lodging, and Cobblestone Inn and Suites will fill that void.
Last year, the city experienced an 18.2-percent increase in tourism, said Paul Wellenberger, Fairfield Bay’s mayor.
“Many of these people have lived here their whole lives, and it’s just now starting to get out that Fairfield Bay is a really great place to visit,” said Ashley Hurst, a Taylor’d Marketing public relations member. “It’s available and close to home. This has been a few years in the making, I would say.”
The 63-room hotel features a restaurant, spa, and restaurant, according to a press release. The location, 100 Lost Creek Pkwy., is situated near three restaurants, a candy shop and two parks, according to Google Maps. The Cobblestone Inn and Suites will be the first of its chain in Arkansas, and regular rates start at $99 a night, Hurst said. A 20,000-foot conference center may serve as the most beneficial part of the construction, Wellenberger said.
“It ensures that conference goers will have a wonderful place to stay,” Wellenberger said. “It will be a premier destination for conferences. It opens up the Bay to a lot of people who were having to do a condo rental.”
Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin is set to speak at the grand opening, according to a press release. The nearest non-resort town is Clinton, which is 13 miles west. The summer will serve as a test to see whether hotels can financially succeed in the region, Hurst said.
“We’ll have a better idea after the summer [if more hotels will come],” Hurst said. “Fairfield Bay has a lot of condos, but they really needed a hotel. I’d say the Cobblestone Inn will have a little bit of a monopoly for a while.”
After working for years to secure hotel investors, the finalized contract was signed in January 2018, Wellenberger said. Fairfield Bay’s conference center was closed for nearly a decade until 2013, when community members came together to repair the donated building. After fixing it up, the city became more attractive to potential investors, Wellenberger said.
“We’re really growing over here,” Wellenberger said. “We’re similar to a Bella Vista or a Hot Springs Village. It’s a really great time to be the mayor, I’ll say that.”