About Sandbar Motel
Welcome to Sandbar Motel, we hope that you enjoy your stay!
Its currently 5am, with a coffee in hand I have time to write some of this introduction before my attention for the day is pulled in 100 different directions. I was asked yesterday if I like running a Motel. My face lit up with a big smile and I replied "I love running THIS Motel!" The customer looked at me as if expecting further explanation but also in a way that implied they knew what I meant as they nodded and said "I can tell, it's the little things you do that make such a difference!" So right here let me stop and introduce Shawna; My partner and, well, the person behind the cookies and muffins that are one of those "little things" that we do that make all the difference for our guests. Our secret goal is to exceed expectations.
I spent most of last night dreaming about how to tell our story, aka stressing about what to write in this section. Now on my second cup of coffee it's 6am and I'm one paragraph in! That is because I am a master procrastinator when it comes to anything that reminds me of High School english class and I have sidetracked to important business matters and checked for any new bookings, sorted through emails, created todays cleaning schedule, transferred the number of guests coming in onto the "cookie board" so that fresh cookies can be made later today (if we have time!) and then realised that I had better get back to writing before I put my cleaner hat on and clean rooms for the morning while running back and forth to reception to check guests out, ask how their stay was and wish them well on their travels.
As a child I enjoyed family holidays up the coast to Queensland. Sitting in the back seat watching the world go by with eager anticipation on where we would stop for the night. You may think I was eager to stop for the night as I just wanted to get out of the car . . . that I do not remember, because I was so excited about where we would stay. What quaint little Motel would my parents choose for the night? Would my sister and I get a separate room or would it just be a room full of beds? Brick wall you ask? Well yes, of course, but the real question was would it be painted or unpainted? Beds were not rated for comfort but for "spring-i-ness" . . . could I bounce from one to the next? Pillows; always a nope, I had my own that I carried everywhere just like my travel buddy Big Ted(dy). Somewhere to play? Always nice after a long day on the road but even a patch of grass would do . . . ample space to tease my sister and run in circles, wearing myself out for a good nights sleep. The best thing was waking up to breakfast mysteriously appearing through the wall on a big tray! Such fun. The Motel version of breakfast in bed!
As you can see, I have fond memories of all the little Motels that we stayed in and the memories created in each. These trips led to a lifetime of travel where I have explored the world seeking out small Hotel/Motels to stay in for the local charm and character that such places offer. One of my favorite trips was on US Route 66. It has a plentiful supply of small older looking Hotels off the beaten track. The rooms were full of character, clean and comfortable and the owners were very friendly. The perfect places to reminisce about childhood travels in Australia and dream about having a place where we could help to create these memories for others. SO . . . .
In 2019 we packed our life in the USA into small boxes and shipped them to Australia. Our 2 dogs and 2 cats went through 6 months of checks to get them into Australia. We landed in Melbourne in early December and drove to Lakes Entrance. We set about unpacking endless boxes trying to set the place up for a family Christmas. The bushfires got close to Lakes and the town spent a stressful night monitoring the VIC Emergency App to make sure we would be ok, New Years Eve celebrations were canceled and then everyone was asked to evacuate the town. It was a scary time, leaving everything behind and hoping it would still be there when we got back.
Fast forward to October 2020 and I saw my dream job for sale. There right in front of my eyes was a leasehold opportunity that we could actually afford! A perfectly rundown establishment ready to be turned into our dream.
Welcome to Sandbar Motel!
We hit the ground running. December 18th 2020 we started to live our dream . . . A small 10 room Motel in the beautiful seaside town of Lakes Entrance . . . No, wait; December 18th 2020 we started to CREATE our dream . . . A UNIQUE 10 room Motel in the beautiful seaside town of Lakes Entrance.
It was crazy! Three of us (Shawna, Morgan and I) on a STEEP learning curve. None of us had done anything like this before but we knew what was important to us and stuck to it. We wanted our guests to have a clean, comfortable room and remember us for our friendly service. Looking back 6 months I wonder how we did it, but we did. We refined our cleaning daily to try and make it more efficient. We split tasks and reassigned them constantly until it worked. We cleaned. Rinse and repeat. Every day becoming more confident that our systems were working and we did not have to recheck 5 times to make sure that we did not forget the towels!
But our goals were bigger than this. We wanted our guests to remember their stay, to create a positive experience for each guest, to be different. So while running on our simple goals of providing a clean comfortable room with friendly service Every. Single. Time. we set about creating a business plan from scratch. Business standards to follow? Nope, let's create some! Accommodation Standards? Nope . . . what is this 3.5 star rating on our front sign? RMS . . . How do I work this program? Channel Management you say? Please explain!
Our new goals started to emerge, summed up in three words:
Simple. Unique. Friendly.
This is us!
SIMPLE. On the outside we may not look flashy. But our promise to you is that you will have a clean comfortable room with personalised touches to make you feel welcome and appreciated as our guest.
UNIQUE. Fun decorations, original artworks, a look from the past with the comforts of home.
FRIENDLY. We are the managers, cleaners, room service, reception, gardeners . . . the smiling faces you see around the motel. Our job descriptions may be varied but in each role we will ensure that we greet you with a smile and ask about your day.
This is what sets us apart from our competition. Arrive expecting a normal Motel experience, leave knowing that you got more.
Your check in experience will be personal:
On your day of arrival (as soon as rooms are clean) we will send you a text to let you know that your room is ready for you. If you're lucky, cookies are in the oven to be placed in rooms. In winter you will find the heat and lights on so that it is warm and welcoming when you come inside.
As there is so much to do each day, we do not have time to sit in Reception. Ring the doorbell, though, and I will come running from where ever I am! As I clean the pool, mow the grass or tend to the garden, I have one eye on reception. If I see you pull in I will also come running and walk with you to the door, asking how your drive was and where you have come from.
I grew up in Lakes Entrance. It is a very beautiful part of the world. Our beaches are like no other and adventures can be found in every direction. From places to eat to things to do, I am happy to tell you all you need to know . . . it's part of your check in experience!
Information on any local events can be found in the office and we can also share insights into the events as we manage to find time to volunteer at events when we can.
Open the door to your clean room and feel welcomed! Notice the artwork from local artists and be inspired to visit more places in East Gippsland by the photos on the wall. The compendium and local magazines will also help you find things to do while you are here. Feel like a hot drink? A range of teas and a coffee pod machine (in our deluxe rooms) should help and there is real milk in the fridge.
At Sandbar Motel, we offer an experience, a welcome, an assurance of a clean room, and then some. Staying with us you will experience more than you expected, but that most importantly you will feel welcomed. Welcomed to Sandbar Motel and welcomed to Lakes Entrance.
Welcome to Sandbar Motel, where our goal is to make you feel at home. We believe that it's the little things that make a big difference . . . come and stay with us to see what we mean!