On Friday, Feb. 3, Ashley Clark, assistant general manager of the nearly completed Hotel Ursa, allowed the Maine Campus to take an inside look at the property’s ongoing renovations. After years of planning, Clark says the hotel, named after the bear-themed Ursa Major and Minor constellations, is on track to open in March and has secured hundreds of reservations.
“This is probably one of my favorite projects that I’ve worked on for hotels because it is so unique to be on campus and to have all of that historic value,” Clark said. Ursa’s construction preserved as much of the existing buildings’ historical value as possible, with original floor-to-ceiling windows, wood flooring, staircases, and brick walls located throughout.
Concerning the hotel’s operational partnership, Clark mentioned, “The hotel management company working with Hotel Usra is Olympia Management. Originally, it was Maine Course Hospitality Group, but they backed out and Olympia took over.” Olympia has over 50 years of experience in hotel management and operation. It boasts a diverse portfolio of properties nationwide, including hotels at other collegiate-level institutions, such as Colby College.
Located on the University of Maine campus, Hotel Ursa has 95 guest rooms that will be staffed by about 30 employees across its three main buildings: Holmes, Coburn and the newly-constructed Polaris Hall.
Holmes Hall will house Ursa’s guest amenities, which include a 24-hour market near the front desk, a key-accessible fitness center with a Peloton, a library room with couches and a conference table and a cafe that seats up to 37 guests. The property will offer pet-friendly rooms for an additional $50 fee.
The hotel’s cafe, appropriately named MajorMinor, will be open from 7 to 11 a.m. daily, offering coffee, breakfast sandwiches and bagels for both hotel guests and students and faculty on campus. A continental breakfast will not be offered, but Clark says management plans to eventually offer an evening service with light fare options, along with canned beer and wine, available to guests and other visitors for purchase.
In terms of parking availability, the hotel currently has 87 spots reserved and plans to work with the university to place overflow parking in the Steam Plant lot when necessary. Clark added that employees will relocate to this location first to ensure maximum convenience for guest parking at Hotel Ursa.
In addition to its ideal location for those visiting campus, Hotel Ursa will act as an internship opportunity for interested students.
“We are going to partner with the University of Maine and do internships. We’re more than happy to have either full-time or part-time students, but we are also looking outside of the university,” said Clark, noting an abundance of interest in internships from students in business-related fields of study and student organizations.
For those seeking to book a room in advance for the 2024 Graduate and Undergraduate Commencement Ceremonies on May 3 and 4, one-night reservations for standard king and queen-sized rooms are currently just over $320 after fees. Clark said this price point is intentionally comparable to other hotels in the area on commencement weekend.
To learn more about Hotel Ursa’s amenities and/or book your reservation, call 1-(207)-962-1313 or visit https://hotelursa.com/.