At the height of the oilfield boom, a hotel room was hard to come by. So hard that rooms all over the southeast were booked not just for days or months—but years in advance. This demand spurred a conversation between a groupd of brothers over a glass of rum. That conversation was the seed of the Poplar Tree Inn in Stoughton.
The town of Stoughton sits on the crossroads of a hub of cities in the southeast, 60 km East of Weyburn, 60 km North of Estevan and 56 km West of Carlyle.
The Inn, a 41 room home away from home, offers many of the amenities you would see from a standard hotel. Continental breakfast, clean rooms, business rooms and even a gym. But the Poplar Tree Inn is different. It stands for everything that Saskatchewan people are. Kind.
Danielle Hoffman, the general manager, explains, “It’s hard to share what makes us so unique; I can talk about how excellent our service is like everyone else does. But does everyone else wash the volleyball team’s jerseys for their games the next day?
Other hoteliers hardly know their guests by name, let alone sit down in the evening and play a game of crib with them. You can catch one of our night staff playing cards with a guest on any given night. We treat our customers like friends and even family.”
The Poplar Tree is not only where athletes and workers lie their heads, but travellers crossing the country coming to see what prairie lands are like stay there too.
“We had a couple from New Zealand come and stay a couple of years ago. They loved coming back each night asking about the different types of crops in the fields and sharing their discoveries throughout the day. They were fascinated by the beauty of Saskatchewan.
We suggested local places for them to go, The Happy Nun in Forget, the cute downtown in Weyburn and they even played a round of golf here at the Stoughton Golf Club.”
The team that works at the Poplar Tree Inn are long-time members. Since they opened the doors 12 years ago, the housekeeper has been working here, and the front desk staff for eight years. The team may be small, but they love their job, and it shows in their dedication and caring ways toward the guests.
“Because we aren’t a chain hotel, we have the freedom and flexibility to provide these extra services that one can only expect from a genuine Saskatchewan business. We shuttle guests to nearby towns and try to accommodate any need they might have.”
Because of the drop in the oil economy, they, like many hotels, have seen a downturn in their overnight stays, but that time didn’t leave them pondering. It put them into action. They took the time to learn, diversify, target their efforts, and really listen to their customers’ needs.
“I took the destination creation course expecting help with marketing,” concluded Hoffman. “What I got was even better. Listening to the other business owners lit a spark back into me; it ignited the passion for making my little crossroads a better place to be.”
Cheers to that glass of rum.
Writers note: Even if you are passing through Stoughton, make the Inn a place to stop. They have the same pillows in the rooms for sale at the front desk and trust me; they are like sleeping on a cloud of luxury.
Booking: (306) 457-3540