Muskogee Inn closes after 30-plus years

From left, Muskogee Inn employees Angel Caraway, Rochel Martin and Brenda Jay on September 30, the last day of operations for the landmark hotel.

Muskogee Inn, a fixture on the local business scene for more than 30 years, ceased operations on September 30.

The inn, first purchased by the Poarch Band of Creek Indians in 1986 under the name of Best Western of Atmore, was one of the few area hotels at that time.
“When we took over the Best Western, the Tribe had just secured federal recognition the year before, and the gaming operations were just starting. Atmore was only beginning to emerge as a place to go for entertainment,” said General Manager Rochel Martin, who admitted that the closing was “like losing my home.”

The hotel was the flagship business for Creek Indian Enterprises Development Authority.

“Back then we were actively seeking ways to diversify our holdings and to ensure we had jobs for our tribal members,” said CIEDA President and CEO James T. Martin. “The Best Western brand had national recognition, and this particular property already had a solid track record.”

In 2009, it was decided to move to a private brand. Thus the Best Western was rebranded to be the Muskogee Inn. Moving away from a franchised national chain allowed more flexibility with the hotel’s operation, and management was able to begin incorporating more native elements into the design aspects of the hotel.
During the following years, exit 57 off Interstate 65 exploded with a growth wave created from the building and successful expansion of Wind Creek Atmore. The area experienced an exponential increase in hotel rooms beginning with the addition of three additional hotel properties over the past seven years.

After much thought and consideration, the PBCI Tribal Council and the CIEDA Board of Directors decided to close the property. No specifics were provided as the planned future use of the land and facility.

“The Muskogee Inn has had quite a run,” said the CIEDA president. “It’s now time to take that property to the next level.”