A family finds their American dream at the Litchfield Inn
By John Torsiello
The holidays are a special time around the Litchfield Inn. The hotel is decked in its seasonal finery; a large Christmas tree sits in the lobby adorned with colorful lights and ornaments. It all conspires to create a warm glow for staff and guests.
But the real glow is inside those that work at the Inn, including general manager Syed Bokhari. “The inn is more than just a place of work for myself and my staff—we’re a family. We extend this same sentiment to all of our guests as well and hope they feel right at home when they stay with us.”
Syed Bokhari took over management of the Inn from his father and owner, Syed I. Bokhari, in 2018. The elder Bokhari bought the Inn in 2011. And it’s not just the employees and their families who receive kindness and good will. The Bokharis donate to various hospitals, mainly children’s facilities, around the state. This year, they plan to donate to Charlotte Hungerford Hospital.
“I had an injury about ten years ago,” said the 30-year-old Bokhari, “and was in a hospital in Boston. Next door was a children’s hospital and I would see children whose big excitement for the day was having their parents take them outside for a walk. That stuck with me.”
Bokhari also feels personally blessed to be making a living in a country his family moved to from Pakistan. “You can make it here if you work hard. I got a college education, and was working in the financial sector in Boston before I made the decision to take over management of the Inn.”
Upon taking over, the younger Bokhari believed it was time the popular hotel received a much needed makeover. Without sacrificing the traditional colonial character of the hotel, Bokhari with the aid of his wife, Pari, was able to merge timeless architecture with modern amenities and décor to make it what it is today. Currently, they are working on refreshing several of the themed guest rooms and aim to have them completed by the start of the new year. In addition to the cosmetic upgrades, operational changes were also undertaken in order to revitalize the guest experience.
Bokhari adds, “I’m a hands-on manager, working the desk, helping the housekeepers, and will do anything that needs to get done. I want my employees to see me involved with hopes that it will rub off, and it has. We are around 72 percent occupancy this fall, which is quite remarkable considering the pandemic.”
Like many other local businesses, the hotel was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. As a community outreach effort, Bokhari invited doctors and nurses working at Charlotte Hungerford and other health care facilities during the height of the pandemic to stay at the Inn at a considerably discounted rate.
Bokhari addressed divesting himself for the most part of his previous successful career and coming to Litchfield to manage the Inn. “It was a risk worth taking. I’m doing this for my family. We came to the United States in 2000 looking for the American dream. I’m pleased to be able to reinvigorate the Inn and bring it to where our guests, and the townspeople of Litchfield, expect it to be plus more.”
432 Bantam Rd, Litchfield