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New hotel being built in Pass Christian

By LISA MONTI

Construction is under way on a small hotel in Pass Christian that will cater to New Orleanians and others who lost second homes on the Coast to Hurricane Katrina. It will be the first hotel in the beachside town in decades.

Hotel Whiskey is being developed by restaurateur Thomas Genin and builder Travis March. The partners have worked on eight projects including Genin’s The Blind Tiger in Bay St. Louis. They hope to open the two-story, 11-room hotel by the Fourth of July holiday.

The property is located at 115 Davis Ave., just off the beach and behind Hancock Bank.

“We’ve been discussing this for the better part of two years and we feel the time is right to do this,” Genin said.

He said he and his restaurant staff are constantly asked two questions by visitors: What is there to do here and where can we stay other than a casino?

“It’s a very unique project,” he said. “Not everybody wants to stay in a casino.”

The building will have a restaurant and bar that also serves as the lobby area and 11 rooms. That’s the most units allowed under the city’s smart code rules, Genin said.

The upstairs will have seven rooms and the first floor will have four. The largest accommodation will be a two-bedroom suite and a bunk room with an outdoor fireplace and a 28-foot balcony above Davis Avenue. Two adjacent deluxe rooms also will have 14-foot balconies and outdoor fireplaces.

He described the restaurant as a small, polished bistro with 45 seats, “an upper end place where guests will enjoy really good food and wine.” It will be open to guests all day and to the public for dinner seven nights a week.

Genin said the full service hotel will have a high end coastal feel and will be comparable to the Florida resorts at Seaside and Rosemary Beach.

The architect is Leah Watters of Pass Christian.

“My loyal restaurant customers and friends have already booked the week of Thanksgiving and the week of Mardi Gras next year,” he said. “It’s sold out.”

Genin said they are trying to keep the total investment from exceeding $1 million but it is “going to be a challenge.”

He envisions standard room rates will be $100 a night for weeknights and $150 to $180 for a weekend.

Some parking is available at the site and other parking will be provided at nearby property Genin owns as well as at the adjacent bank and a city parking lot across the street.

The property will employ six people at the hotel and 15 to run the restaurant and bar. He’s already gotten applicants to work in the hotel.

Genin said he may develop a similar hotel in neighboring Bay St. Louis.

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About Lisa Monti

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