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9:39 AM Fri, Nov. 16th

Historic Vendome changes hands

The historic Hotel Vendome has a brand new pair of owners.

Kathie and Frank Langford bought the two-story, 21-room hotel at 230 S. Cortez St. from Rama and Amrish Patel on Nov. 30, and they took over its operation on Dec. 1.

"We hit the ground running," said Kathie, who previously worked for 11 years at the Brighton Gardens by Marriott in Sun City – most recently as its general manager.

Frank, who has a background in maintenance, keeps the old radiators, claw-foot tubs and other antique fixtures intact, while Kathie ensures that the business side of the hotel runs smoothly.

The couple live on site in one of the rooms, and their 8-year-old twin daughters share an adjacent room.

"It's kind of been a lifelong dream for us to have our own business," Kathie explained, adding that living and working at the Vendome "doesn't feel like work."

After visiting Prescott a number of times, the couple decided that they wanted to raise their daughters here.

"There's a real sense of community here," Frank said of Prescott's downtown.

He said that he especially likes the fact that – by living downtown – the family rarely needs to drive anywhere. They can just walk to most of the places they need to go.

"The lifestyle change was immediate for us," he said.

Since moving into the hotel, the couple said, many local business owners have dropped in to greet them, and, of course, talk about Abby Byr, the Vendome's resident ghost.

Kathie says that she was at first skeptical of the ghost stories; however, "since I came here, there have been some unexplained circumstances … such as the time I said that I really don't believe in ghosts, and this plant over here in the corner dropped from the ceiling."

And even though it typically is the coldest room in the hotel, "Abby's room is the most popular room that we have," Kathie said. "Everyone wants to stay there."

The Patels, who own the Prescott Valley Motel on Highway 69, owned and ran the Vendome for more than six years.

"We wanted to do other things," Rama explained of their decision to sell. "We wanted to be free on a day-to-day basis to travel and do other things that we have not been able to do."

However, she added, giving up the historic hotel "was a very difficult decision because it's a very good business with a very good clientele."

The Patels say that they intend to focus their efforts on their Prescott Valley Motel, and, of course, travel.

The U.S. is the fourth country that the couple has called their home, Rama explained, and traveling is very important to them.

Their next trip, she said, will probably be to either Australia or New Zealand.