MOUNT DESERT — Acadia Corporation had a surprising amount of success in its first year as operator of the Asticou Inn in Northeast Harbor, according to company president Dave Woodside.
“The foodservice exceeded our projections by a fair amount,” he said. “We are extremely gratified by the response we got not only from local residents, but we got an awful lot of referrals from lodgings and various other businesses. I honestly did not anticipate the ready acceptance of the local communities and that they would begin referring people almost immediately.”
Acadia Corp operated the Jordan Pond House restaurant and gift shop in Acadia National Park from 1947 to 2013, when the National Park Service awarded the contract to another company, Dawnland LLC.
This past January, Acadia Corp signed a one-year contract to manage the 132-year-old Asticou, which is owned by the Asti-Kim Corporation.
Acadia Corp had never operated a hotel, but Woodside said that lack of experience was not a problem.
“It is an older building that has some challenges that we worked through and continue to work through with the owners,” he said. “But that didn’t present any major obstacles. Our general manager, Gabrielle Martina, did a tremendous job of keeping it running.”
The Asticou opened May 22 and closed Oct. 18. As always, it hosted a number of wedding parties and other special events. The largest and most demanding of those was Friends of Acadia’s annual gala fundraising dinner and auction in August, which was held under two enormous tents on the hotel’s lawn.
“By all reports, the Friends of Acadia gala was one of the more successful ones that they’ve had,” Woodside said. “We pulled in all sorts of folks to help with that. It went pretty flawlessly.”
He said that under the new contract with Asti-Kim, Acadia Corps’ management of the Asticou “continues year to year.” He said either party can decide by the end of each summer whether it wants to cancel the contract for the following year.
This year, the hotel’s restaurant was open to guests and non-guests for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Next year, Woodside said, breakfast probably would be served only to hotel guests.
“It’s a wonderful place for breakfast, but that’s not when a majority of people are out, and you can only spread your resources so far,” he said. “We want to be better geared up to handle the business, particularly during the lunch and extended lunch time.
“There were times [this year] when we really didn’t have enough staff. Again, that was because we were exceeding expectations.”