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Speed dial suits condo owners: state-of-the-art phones at resort hotel.

SPEED DIAL SUITS CONDO OWNERS

Form is as important as function in the communications system at Culver Cove Condominium Resort Hotel in Culver, Ind.

The clincher for Manager Sandra Underwood was that the Lexar 2000 phones from Memorex Telex fit the decor of the upscale resort on the shores of exclusive Lake Maxinkuckee.

"I looked at a lot things from the way the phone looked to what it would do," says Underwood, recalling her phone system shopping. "This phone looked like us. It looks stylish."

What makes Culver Cove different from most hotels in that all suites are condominiums many of whose individual owners don't spend much time there.

The management company has to balance the interests of short-term guests, who usually don't care how a phone looks so long as it works, with those of owners who spend at least a little time in their units and care about appearances.

That isn't to say that looks are all that matter.

"The Lexar had a lot more features, and we can add more than what we have now," says Underwood.

For instance, housekeepers could pick up a phone in a room to report that it has been cleaned. That information would be relayed through the PBX to the Culver Cove computer system.

THat and other advanced features aren't needed yet, says Underwood, but "we will need them one day. So we went ahead and got a phone system that can do all the things we'll want it to do."

Data Transmissions

The eight-line, 80-phone system operates off a console at the front desk. Each phone accomodates two lines. Computer users can plug in their units for data transmissions via modern. A privacy button blocks all incoming calls that could interfere with data transfers.

Each room has one Lexar phone. Any extensions are ITT phones. The Lexars have eight speed-dialing buttons to give owners and guests one-touch dialing to housekeeping, the front desk, or the restaurant, for instancE, and let them retrieve messages that are indicated by a flashing light on the telephones.

Underwood's staff can also ring three extensions at a time by dialing one number, which she says is handy when, for instance, they are looking for the restaurant manager but aren't sure what phone he might be near. Any three extensions can be programmed in by Culver Cove staffers.

Another feature lets the front desk get on the phone system in an emergency and make an announcement over the speaker on the phone, regardless of whether any room phones are otherwise in use.

Underwood says he is happy with $68,00 phone system; her only complaint is with the electric eye in the cradle, which disconnects when the handset is set down. Accidentally crossing the beam with your finger or while tapping a pen or pencil during a call can bring that call to a quick end.

Culver Cove uses a RatePro call-accounting system from Com Dev, along with Epson hardware and a Novell operating system for its reservations computers. Its four computers are networked, from the front desk to the auditor's office and to President John Deery's office, about a mile away.

8000 Reservations Line

A toll-free reservations line provides 48-state access and a readout on the Lexar PBX indicates whether the call is coming in on the 800 line.

Culver Cove's 80 units range from 800 to 2100 square feet, with ownership prices from $125,000 to $260,000. Per-night prices for guests range from $70 in the off season in smaller rooms to $300 for larger rooms on busy summer weekends.

For condo owners, the per-night business means money in their pockets. The owner keeps about half of the nightly rent. As Deery explains the condo ownership/hotel arrangement, "It's an investment, but one you can get use out of."

Busiest weekends are those where special events are taking place at Culver Military Academy, a shor, walk from Culver Cove, along the lakeshore. The high-school-age academy has 800 students during the school year (annual tuition: $16,000) and some 1400 during summer sessions.

Amenities are what differentiates Culver Cove from its competitors, the garden-variety hotels and motels 15 miles or more away.

Available in most units are hot tubs, kitchenettes, TVs with CVRs, second bedrooms, queen-size convertible couches, gas tireplaces, motion-and heat-sensing lights--and great views of the lake. There are also a heated indoor pool, sauna, weight room, sand beach, and boat slips for use by all guests.

Lake Maxinkuckee is the second-largest lake in Indiana. The average home on its shore fetches $400,000 on the market. If youcan find shoreline property, it sells for $2500 a lakefront foot.

Culver Cove is the first condominium hotel of its type in Indiana. It opened last fall. At press time, not all condo units were completed, though all but a few were sold.
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Title Annotation:Culver Cove Condominium Resort Hotel, Culver, IN
Author:Tanzillo, Kevin
Publication:Communications News
Date:Mar 1, 1990
Words:807
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