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New management means changes for former Super 8, Regency Inn

There are lots of changes happening at the former Regency Inn and Suites in south Hastings, and a new face behind it.

Champak Bhakta is the new manager, and part owner of Anadi Inc., the Cottage Grove corporation that bought the 50-room hotel. He has been working in the hospitality business about 30 years. Bhakta took over the hotel March 2 and is getting started on a series of transformations he hopes will reverse the site's reputation.

First is the name. The old Regency signs had been removed and replaced temporarily with a simple Motel sign, but the hotel's permanent name, Val U Stay Inn and Suites, will go on display within the next week or two, Bhakta said.

The most intensive work will be done in the rooms themselves. As a Regency hotel, the rooms were pretty basic, with few amenities, Bhakta said. He's working on getting basic comforts such as refrigerators, microwaves and hair dryers installed in every room. Some are getting fresh paint, and those in the worst shape following Regency's closing have been closed off for more extensive repairs. The whole place has been equipped with WiFi.

Besides physical improvements, Bhakta is prioritizing a high level of customer service for the new hotel.

"We are willing to talk and work and give the service at the same time," he said.

Part of ensuring good service means Bhakta will be living on site. That way, if something happens in the middle of the night, he can respond immediately, he said.

"That's the only way we can give good service and improve the relationship with the people," he said.

His goal is a simple one: provide people who visit Hastings a clean, comfortable place to stay at a rate they can afford.

"We want to work with the community and in the community to give the people comfort," he said.

Improvements to the hotel are under way, and it will take some time before they're finished. Bhakta said he expects to wrap up most of the work before summer. In the meantime, he's still doing business. The hotel is open 24 hours a day.

The Hastings Val U Stay Inn and Suites doesn't have its own website yet, but more information on the Minnesota chain can be found at www.valu To contact the Hastings Val U Stay directly, call 651-438-0061.