At the Copper Kettle Guest House, patrons greet each other by name, gather for family-style dinners in the evenings, and keep returning for the hospitality. It’s a home away from home for weary travellers seeking an alternative to hotels.
The guest house, located in the Sudbury suburb of Copper Cliff, is located in the turn-of-the-century McIntosh Block, which was constructed by Inco (now Vale) to house its workers. Over the years, its lower retail spaces have hosted everything from a dentist’s office to a jewelry store to a restaurant.
Proprietor Linda Suotaila said travellers far from home find it comforting to know they have a cozy, quiet place to lay their heads, enjoy a home-cooked meal and see a friendly face at the end of the day.
“I think it’s because it’s more like being in their own homes,” Suotaila said of the allure of ‘the Kettle,’ as it’s affectionately known. “It’s more personal. You get to know everybody.”
There’s also appeal in supporting a small business that’s taken an historic building dating back to Sudbury’s early days of mining and repurposing it for modern sensibilities, she added.
Copper Kettle has three one-bedroom suites and eight two-bedroom suites each equipped with a bedroom, sitting room, bathroom and kitchen. A coffee room on the lower level is stocked with breakfast items for self-serve continental-style breakfasts. All rooms have wireless internet access, and there are laundry facilities on site.
Extra services provided by the Kettle include providing a conference room for meetings, full catering, having dinner ready for guests arriving after a day on the road, and arranging transportation from the airport or bus station. Downtown Sudbury is a five-minute drive away.
When the block came up for sale in 2003, Suotaila, who was operating a restaurant in the lower level at the time, jumped at the chance to purchase the building, with a vision of transforming the upper apartments into guest suites.
Not one to shy away from hard work, Suotaila undertook extensive renovations and within a few months was welcoming guests.
“When I first opened, it was word of mouth,” she said. “People stay from all over the world. They’re the people that really got this place going.”
Guests have hailed from Australia, Africa, Mongolia and England. Many stay for a few days at a time, either for business or to visit family, but some rent out a room for a few weeks or months while staying in the Sudbury area for work. It provides them the amenities and convenience of a hotel with the warm, friendly atmosphere of a bed and breakfast.
Suotaila started providing dinners a few years ago following a request from a frequent guest who used the facilities for business meetings. She’s a keen businesswoman, but has a mother’s heart, and frequently hosts family-style dinners for her regular clients, who appreciate the warm reception.
“They’re my regulars,” she said. “They take care of me, and I take care of them. They watch out for me, and for the building, so I return their generosity by doing little things like that.”
And though she still misses the fast-paced energy in running a restaurant, moving into the accommodations business has been an enriching experience.
“It’s a lot of work,” she said, “but meeting all kinds of nice people is special.”