What began as an international romance at Purdue two decades ago has come home to the heartland as an alumni couple’s labor of love—The Whittaker Inn.
For owners Elizabeth and Andrew Whittaker, their first joint hotel venture is a dream-in-progress and will open later this spring.
The couple met as students in the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management (HTM). After earning his degree in Hotel and Catering Management from the University of Dundee in Scotland, Andrew discovered Purdue’s leadership in the field during an exchange program and went on to earn his master’s in the school’s acclaimed hospitality management education program in 1999.
At the same time, Elizabeth, a native of Crown Point, Indiana, was earning her bachelor’s degree with honors in Restaurant, Hotel, Institutional and Tourism Management.
After graduation and working in different fields of the hotel/hospitality industry together—both around the country and abroad—they dreamed of bringing their combined expertise and experience back to where their lives together began.
“The Whittaker”—an upscale boutique hotel with a bed and breakfast vibe—sits on 25 secluded wooded acres just minutes from Purdue’s West Lafayette campus.
The inn will have 13 bedrooms, two suites, and a catering kitchen for a 50-plus-person dining room and event space. Each room employs “purposeful design” reflecting different locales and countries. Two rooms pay homage to the couple’s journey during their distinguished hospitality and hotel management careers. One of those rooms has an Indiana theme, paying tribute to where they got their start and the home of the inn. The other theme highlights New York, where they both worked and learned to dream big.
“We’re coming back to our roots, but we’re also bringing something new and unique with us,” Elizabeth says. “Obviously, Purdue played a big part in our adult lives, and the Purdue family is a big part of our target audience, and as President’s Council members, we recognize the importance of giving back to the University.” To that end, the Whittakers plan to provide Purdue Hospitality and Tourism Management students internship opportunities.
The Whittakers intend for the inn to be not only a place for out-of-town visitors, but a value-added venue for people and businesses in the community and—as Andrew says—a relaxing respite and retreat in which to “celebrate, educate, and collaborate.” To learn more about The Whittaker Inn, visit thewhittakerinn.com.