The owners of a downtown pool hall have opened their newest entertainment concept next door.
Hotel Greene, which is not an actual hotel but a hotel-themed indoor mini-golf course, opened last week at 508 E. Franklin St. after nearly a year in the making.
Married owners Jim Gottier and Andrea Ball use the nearly 7,000 square feet of space — across from their Greenleaf’s Pool Room and on the bottom floor of the Residences at John Marshall, formerly the Hotel John Marshall — to tell a story while guests putt-putt their way through 13 holes:
“You’re lost in a 1930s grand hotel, just trying to find your room. Leaving the lavish lobby, you pass by a lounge and a library, wind your way through German-style bathhouses, boiler rooms and old wooden elevators along your way, and zigzag through the hallways before you finally find it. Room 208. Your room.”
Gottier said he and his wife used to frequent indoor mini-golf courses in Santa Cruz, California, when they first started dating 30 years ago and they both wanted to bring that to downtown. They got the idea for the hotel theme after reading one of their favorite authors, Joseph Roth, especially his Hotel Savoy — a novel based in the 1930s with the massive Hotel Savoy in Germany as the setting.
A round of golf at Hotel Greene costs $15 per person and the 13-hole course tends to takes groups of two, three or up to four between one or two hours to complete.
Gottier and Ball came up with the theme and designed the course with the help of designer Bob Horworth — who has designed mini-golf courses across the nation — artist Rick Araluce, and filmmaker Taryn Kosviner, who made three films for the course that play on screens disguised as windows with the occasional odd event happening on the other side. Conquest Moncure and Dunn was the general contractor and Architecture Design Office served as the architect.
The course begins in the hotel “lobby” where Hotel Greene employees, dressed as bellhops and concierges, greet the guests who are “checking in.” The lobby also serves as a bar, restaurant and lounge area where guests can grab dinner and a drink before or after their game, or relax and wait if they aren’t the mini-golf type.
And if you didn’t drink enough in the lobby before starting your round,. Hotel Greene offers another small mobile bar-cart partway through the course as well.
Gottier said nearly 100 people showed up on Wednesday night for a free-to-play soft opening and 111 golfers showed up throughout the grand opening Thursday night, along with some extras that showed up just for the restaurant and bar.
Ending the course on hole 13, or the “Hell Mouth Hole,” golfers face the nearly impossible task of putting blindly into a fireplace that leads up a narrow ramp and into a giant painted open-mouthed creature with flames shooting out of its gullet. Any golfer who makes this shot is awarded with a free Hotel Greene T-shirt.
Two people made the shot Wednesday and one made it Thursday.