Hamilton native to run The Well House Hotel in downtown

COVID brought Catherine Rentschler home, and a pair of Hamilton redevelopment projects got her to stay.

A sign of Hamilton’s economic growth is supported by the fact the city will have two boutique hotels on either side of High Street.

The Mueller Hotel LLC project is a half-year away from beginning construction.

Meanwhile, The Well House Hotel, the redevelopment of what was once the Anthony Wayne Hotel a century ago can again be one of Hamilton’s premier destinations for travelers, said newly hired Well House Managing Director Catherine Rentschler.

“I’m so excited to see Hamilton’s economic growth and to see that continue,” said the fifth-generation Hamiltonian, adding the attached hotel restaurant operated by the Cafeo Hospitality Group will be named The Lucky Well. “I’m excited for the work the city and the chamber do as they continue to bring companies into this region, either for their headquarters or for various regional offices. I want to continue building upon that for that elevated corporate traveler.”

Rentschler was hired away from Spooky Nook Sports Champion Mill, where she was hired in October 2021 as the senior sales manager. While her time there “was just such an incredible experience” and said Spooky Nook is “really building something incredibly special,” The Well House was an opportunity that appealed to her career goals as Hamilton has another historic building getting an opportunity for a new chapter.

“This is going to give me the opportunity to design my own team, to build my own culture and to take that next step in my career,” Rentschler said.

The Anthony Wayne — which was built as a hotel in the mid-1920s — was converted to an apartment building, and transitioned into affordable housing.

Work began in the interior of the building at the beginning of 2023. In June 2023, the project received $1.645 million in historic tax credits and Vision AWH LLC, the developer, was able to start on the project’s exterior work for the 54-room hotel.

There will be eight rooms on the second to seventh floors and six on the first floor.

Florida-based Lighthouse Hospitality Group announced Rentschler’s hiring last week, and owners said, “Catherine checks all the boxes when trying to find that perfect candidate.”

“Catherine’s unwavering passion for excellence and vast experience in the hotel pre-opening arena will make her an invaluable leader for our team,” said Josh Baltes, Lighthouse Hospitality Group president.

Rentschler left in the fall of 2024 to study hospitality at the College of Charleston in South Carolina, and didn’t have plans on returning to her hometown. She worked for a dozen years in Washington, D.C., 10 years of which was with Hyatt and two with Marriott.

Then the COVID pandemic happened. The hospitality industry suffered, and she was furloughed. She came home, and through a connection with a family friend, landed an interview with Spooky Nook Sports Champion Mill. In October 2021, she was hired as their senior sales manager. She said she had to be involved.

“I think what’s happening here in Hamilton is so fantastic, and being a hospitality professional, I just don’t think there’s any way I can let this happen in my hometown and not be a part of it,” she said.

But this opportunity with The Well House gives her the chance to work for a hotel brand again, and while it’s her fourth hotel opening, it’s the first time she’d be working for Hilton.

“I really love this time (of the process),” she said of opening a new hotel, “because you’re building the hotel and putting all the building blocks together and building that foundation for its future success.”

Part of those building blocks includes her team, which will be small for the 54-room hotel. She’s still fleshing out what it would look like, but one position will be “a really strong assistant general manager or front office manager to be my right hand for those operational tasks and projects that I need to delegate so I can continue to stay focused on the sales aspect.”

Though she first thought her career would not land her back into Hamilton, Rentschler said she is “so blessed to be back in my hometown being able to do what I love so much.”

“It’s really an honor to challenge myself, grow in my career and do it here in Hamilton,” she said. “It’s really special.”

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