A personalized approach to the hospitality business
(promoted content, as seen in The Valley Reporter)
Mike and Sandra Anastos, owners of the Yellow Farmhouse Inn in Waitsfield, spent more than three decades combined working in large hotels in the Boston area. In fact, they met while working at the same hotel. Mike worked as director of engineering and Sandra worked in sales and reservations.
Fourteen years ago, they said goodbye to the corporate level hospitality business and purchased the Yellow Farmhouse Inn on Old County Road. Their work in the hospitality business now is much more micro than macro, very personalized and intimate and much more rewarding.
They got to know The Valley through their friends Mike Kelley and Rhonda Berns, former owners of the Waitsfield Inn, who also alerted them to the fact that the Yellow Farmhouse Inn was for sale.
“We came up, saw the inn and knew it was what we were looking for,” Mike Anastos said. “It felt like the perfect fit for us.”
They never looked back and plunged head-first into providing personalized hospitality.
“The best part about being in the business is the people. For both of us, it’s wonderful. People come from all over the world and when they come back year after year, it’s like family coming back,” he added.
A few of their guests, they noted, visited so many times that they fell in love with The Valley themselves and bought houses here.
Those guests-turned-homeowners still stop by the inn to say hi and steal cookies from the kitchen counter. Their rescued dog, Dolly, helps greet returning visitors and makes ready friends with new ones. In fact Dolly has received the employee of the month award every month for 8 ½ years as voted on by guests.
The innkeepers enjoy handling all their own reservations and marketing. It gives us the opportunity for that first meet, to get to know the guests’ travel needs and what is bringing them to The Valley. It also helps them to be ready to meet needs like diets, dining options and activities for their visit.
“It’s very personal. We currently don’t use any external booking websites like Expedia. By the time people arrive here they feel like we already know them,” he said, noting that that is probably the most rewarding part of being innkeepers.
“We approach what we do as a way of life more so than just a business,” he said.
The inn has eight rooms and Mike and Sandra Anastos handle it all themselves. They do the cooking, cleaning, gardening, customer service, accounting, publicity and reservations. They’re open year-round with the exception of brief breaks in April and November to host family and friends.
Each of their rooms has a private bath and seven of them have Jacuzzi tubs. Some rooms feature gas woodstoves and most of theirbeds are king-size beds.
They work hard keeping the inn updated, repainted and looking fresh for their guests. And they strive to offer breakfasts and an inn experience that keep guests coming back.
“When we worked in corporate hotels, we took all our vacations at B&Bs. So, when we bought the inn, we were charmed by the farmhouse idea. I think what we’ve created is what people think of when they think of a Vermont bed-and-breakfast,” he added.
“We feel fortunate to have the opportunity to live and work in the Mad River Valley. It’s a great community in a beautiful state,” the innkeepers concluded.