At Your Service
Early on the Friday afternoon
before Plebe Parents' Weekend at USNA, Alex Bollman, general manager
of Historic Inns of Annapolis, tightens the knot of his favorite
Nancy Hammond silk tie, straightens the lapels of his dark custom-tailored
suit jacket and pats photos of his 4-year-old son Sean and wife
Rose. Taking a deep breath, he steps out of his office and into
As he passes Peg Bednarski, the inns' longtime official "innkeeper"
busy at her computer, they give each other a nod. Further on he
waves to Patricia Miller, head of housekeeping. Bollman enters
the lobby of the Governor Calvert House, one leg of the threesome
that makes up Historic Inns of Annapolis. Parents of the Class
of 2006 midshipmen are trickling to the front desk to register.
Within an hour, Bollman knows that trickle of out-of-towners will
escalate into a flood of people all wanting their rooms at the
Historic Inns' guests check in at the Calvert House first. Many
continue on in to their rooms in the 51-room hotel at 58 State
Circle, while others go to Maryland Inn, fronting on Church Circle,
which boasts 44 guest rooms. The 29-room Robert Johnson House
at 23 State Circle overlooks the Maryland State House.
A member of the Historic Inns' "family" of 127 associates and
22 managers since 1997, Bollman spends little time behind his
desk. He stops at each inn as well as the restaurants several
times a day to ensure everything is flowing smoothly. A native
of Maryland, he worked full-time as an accountant in the hotel
and food and beverage industries while taking courses at the University
of Maryland in College Park, graduating with a degree in accounting.
By then, he'd caught the hotel bug. Bollman worked for Sheraton
Hotels for several years and, on the verge of accepting a promotion
in Washington, D.C., he spotted an ad for a food and beverage
manager at Historic Inns.
The previous general manager, Russ Finch, mentored Bollman and,
when Finch retired three years ago, Bollman was promoted to the
GM spot. Looking back, he notes his most distinctive accomplishments,
to date, have occurred in the restaurants. In the Treaty of Paris
restaurant, for example, patrons now dine on fine gilt-edged bone
china on tables set with heavy flatware, crisp linens and sparkling
stemware. Diners are served coffee in delicate demitasse cups,
which are quickly, and quietly, refilled. In the wintertime, a
crackling woodfire in the antique fireplace warms those nearby.
Bollman notes: "Most hotels receive 80 percent of their income
from guest rooms and 20 percent from their food services. Historic
Inns derives 50 percent of its income from our restaurants and
our top-rated banquet and catering services, headed by banquet
chef Derus Crowner. Still, of the 400 top hotels nationwide, ranked
by the trade magazine Lodging & Hospitality in 1999,
we came in 48th for revenue per room. I was so proud of our team
here. More than that, I'm proud of our role in Annapolis. Each
year we sponsor a blood drive on premises. We contribute to the
display of flowers around town and we participate in special events
held by town associations and charities. Historic Inns is an integral
part of the community. Our roots as a warm, hospitable place to
stay go back more than 225 years."