Jeff “The Inspiration”
Jeff Shilts and Dan Kordiak opened the Hotel in 2006 before Alma was the vacation getaway destination that it is. The town has changed along with the hotel. The Hotel de Ville grew out their desire to develop the Secret Garden behind the Fire and Ice, ice cream and coffee shop and to restore the historic buildings that make up part of the hotel today. They first restored the clapboard building which houses Jeffs ice cream and coffee shop which was built in 1867-69 and the Cape Cod Colonial built in the late 30’s on the patch of land created by the construction of Lock and Dan Number Four in front of it. The the Falcon Cottage was added mostly in an effort to save the oldest building (more like a shed) in Alma built before 1867 which housed the French fur traders and is now Dans’ antique and curiosity shop, The Gypsy Wagon Curiosity Shop.
Jeff had the happiest 6 years of his life running his hotel and coffeeshop until 2010 when his heart attack and complications forced an end to his joy. He has been seen, since his death, walking in his beloved garden but he is not an ever present spirit here in that sense. After Jeffs death in 2011, Dan took over the daily operation of the hotel striving to keep Jeffs standards and passion while continuing to renovate and expand the hotel, doing most of the building and design himself. The Secret Garden became more “Secret” with the addition of the Castle wall and Hobbit Hole to fully enclose a truly world class space that has been on TV and in magazines. The Grand Hotel rooms are in the newly renovated 1861 building which completed the hotel and offer a full range of guest options. The Grand, as we call it, is on the National Historic Register as it was built at the final destination for the paddleboats that traveled the river in those days. The Hotel de Ville gained a new garden with this addition – the new Hosta garden with over 200 varieties of Hosta and a 30 foot long stream. In the spring of 2019 yet another garden was installed across Main street featuring 106 hybrid varieties of Daylily from Alma’s own Nancy Olsen, a dear friend and local grower who has hybridized many of the one of a kind Daylilies in the garden It functions as the front lawn of the hotel now and preserves nearly a city block of the river view which can seen from virtually all of the hotel rooms and suites.