Huntley’s new Hampton Inn licensed to sell alcohol

Village Board approved request; concerns expressed over how much alcohol can be sold

The Village of Huntley Plan Commission filed a positive recommendation in 2020 on a petition to build a four-story, 100-room Hampton Inn hotel in the Huntley Crossings corporate park.

A couple months after opening, the first hotel in Huntley will be able to sell alcohol to its guests.

The Village Board made a change to its liquor ordinance that will allow hotels in town to sell alcohol, and approved a new license for the new Hampton Inn at its meeting on Thursday, despite some concerns over the amount of alcohol it could sell.

While the Hampton Inn is the lone hotel operating in Huntley, the change will only allow for just one license of this kind within the village.

The Hampton Inn does not have a bar, but guests will be able to purchase alcohol for their rooms, such as cans of beer or bottles of wine, general manager George Cochran said at the meeting on Thursday.

“The alcohol will be placed in our … gift shop,” Cochran said. “Small bottles of wine, some beers and mixed spirits.”

Cochran did say at special events, the hotel would serve alcohol on a portable station, but added these occasions would be “pretty rare.” The new license allows for them to pour at such events, and is limited to certain areas of the hotel.

Trustee Mary Holzkopf said she was concerned about the amount of alcohol the hotel could sell to its guests and said she wanted to place limits on sales.

City Manager David Johnson said it would be hard to enforce. Cochran said what they would sell is similar to airplane-sized bottles, and not full-sized bottles of rum or vodka, adding “we’re not a liquor store.” Both the change to the liquor ordinance and the license for Hampton Inn were approved unanimously without those restrictions.

“I just feel like if someone’s going to buy a full-sized bottle of spirit, nothing great is going to happen in a hotel,” Holzkopf said.

Holzkopf also asked what hours alcohol would be sold. Cochran said they would abide by the liquor hours of the village.

Alcohol cannot be sold between 1 to 6 a.m. Monday through Friday, or from 2 to 6 a.m. on Saturday, and from 2 to 9 a.m. on Sunday, village code states.

There is also a maximum of what each guest can have, which is typically a two or three limit per guest. To that end, staff will be trained and certified for selling alcohol, Cochran said.

“We’re fully aware of not to let guests purchase liquor if they’re fully intoxicated, or showing signs of it,” he said. “It’s the judgment of myself and my staff.”

Trustee JR Westberg said he thought allowing the hotel to sell alcohol was a good idea.

“You come driving in from [hundreds of] miles away and maybe they don’t know where the nearest store is, so you’re just adding some convenience to it,” he said. “I don’t think it’s going to get out of hand.”

The Hampton Inn opened earlier this year after a couple of delays pushed its opening back. Originally approved in 2020, the hotel was slated to open in 2021, but did not open until this year.

The hotel received two extensions on its timeline to open, mainly because of supply chain issues tied to the COVID-19 pandemic. The last extension came in June, and gave the hotel until October to open. The agreement maintained the hotel’s ability receive nearly $3 million in rebates.

Throughout the approvals, trustees have long maintained there was a need for one in town.

Cochran said at the meeting the hotel is averaging 70% occupancy, calling the demand “insane.”

The town’s only other business with rooms to let overnight is the Harmony Inn, which lists itself as a bed and breakfast on its website.

Have a Question about this article?