KEARNEY — With a passion for the hotel business and an appreciation for Kearney, the Patel family welcomes visitors to the city they have called home for nearly a decade with their new hotel, Holiday Inn Express, located in the Shoppes at Kearney development off Watson Drive and near Interstate 35.

Due to a harsh winter last year, the hotel’s construction was slowed by a couple of months, taking roughly 14 months to complete.

The Patel family welcomed members of the business community to tour the city’s newest hotel, during a chamber of commerce ribbon cutting Nov. 1.

“It has always been our passion to be in the hotel business. It was our passion since we got into the states,” said Harry Patel, who owns the hotel with his wife Parul Patel and their family.

The Holiday Inn Express has four floors and 80 rooms, 15 of which are suites. There are also Americans with Disabilities Act-accessible rooms that include specialty bathrooms and others with hearing assistance technology. The property also boasts an indoor pool, fitness center, conference rooms and free breakfasts for guests. The property will soon be adding a fire pit as well.

“I came from another hotel and worked for 10 years and the size of those rooms are about half the size of the ones here,” hotel General Manager Heather Belben said of the Kearney Holiday Inn Express.

The Patel family is an American success story, having immigrated from India and now owns about a dozen hotel properties. Parul immigrated to the U.S. in 1998 and Harry came over in 2003. In addition to the Holiday Inn Express, the couple owns the Sure Stay in Kearney, a Hilton being constructed in Liberty and another Holiday Inn Express being constructed in Oak Grove.

The couple moved to Kearney in 2010, when Harry bought the former Super 8, now a Sure Stay.

“I came and made a deal and next thing you know, I told them we were moving. They didn’t have anybody here. I didn’t have anybody here, no friends or family, but we said we would build up and that’s the how it is and that’s what we did,” Harry said, adding now the family is happy to call the city home.

“We live in Kearney. It was my dream to build a new hotel in Kearney,” he said.

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