By Michelle Wagner | Outer Banks Voice on April 20, 2021
After sitting empty and derelict for more than a decade, the Duke of Dare Motel on U.S. 64 in Manteo is undergoing a facelift and is expected to open by the end of May under a new name – the Heart of Manteo Motor Lodge.
According to the new owner of the property, Rajesh Lakhani of MKL Hotels of Richmond, VA., the 57 rooms of the hotel will be completely refurbished and the interior and exterior will be renovated, offering a “nice curb appeal.” The dilapidated swimming pool along the highway will be removed.
The exterior of the building will receive a fresh coat of paint and get some landscaping, the new owner told the Voice. New carpeting, paint and furniture is in store for the interior of the building. Rooms will be equipped each with a 60-inch television and a mini-fridge.
Lakhani, who also owns the Colonial Inn and Blue Heron Motel in Nags Head, the Outer Banks Motor Inn in Kill Devil Hills and the Hatteras Island Inn in Buxton, purchased the property on March 31 for $1.5 million from Elizabeth Creef.
“My whole idea on the Outer Banks is to keep these old-style, old-fashioned hotels, keep them running as a motel and motor lodge as the market demands,” Lakhani asserted. “I am not a developer. Basically, I prefer to keep all the hotels as is, renovate them to give them new touches, and just take it forward.”
Lakhani said that Manteo, as well as the Outer Banks as a whole, has a lot of demand for more hotel rooms for tourists as well as people staying on the Outer Banks for work-related trips. “I have been in constant touch with the demand in the area, and even Manteo has a lot of demand throughout the year,” he said