TILTON — The Shalimar Resort, which had been operated by the Spanos family for 31 years, has been sold to a couple from Vermont, Mike and Ragi Patel.
The sale was finalized on April 30 and was announced by Peter and Sharon Spanos, who said that the Patels own two hotels in in Bellows Falls, Vermont, the Yankee Hotel and a Rodeway Inn, and plan on opening an Indian-American restaurant at the Shalimar. The sale price was not disclosed.
''It's kind of ironic. The name Shalimar came from a combination of family names and we didn't know until recently that in the Indian language Shalimar means ''jewel'' said Peter Spanos, who says that the addition of an Indian restaurant to the Lakes Region dining scene is an exciting prospect.
He said that he came to work at the Shalimar when the property was bought by his aunt and uncle, Mary and George Spanos, in 1983. The couple had previously owned the Shangri-La Resort at the Weirs for many years and his family owned the Indian Head Resort in Lincoln.
The Spanos' sold the resort and restaurant to the Patels but retain ownership of waterfront property and cabins on Lake Winnisquam which are located on a parcel of land just across Rte. 3 from the Shalimar.
The resort is built on the site of the former Winnisquam House, which was owned by the Contiagiani family until sold to Sam Reddy, a New Hampshire businessman and state legislator from Hopkinton. It burned in the early 1970s and was rebuilt by Reddy in its current configuration.
Over the years the Shalimar became a popular destination for both tourists and locals and in recent years has been noted for its Sunday brunch, which was voted the most popular in the Lakes Region, and its Wednesday night all-you-can eat pasta events.
The Sapnos's said they are thankful for the local support the restaurant has always enjoyed. ''They became friends and family to us. We've always worked hard to give back to the local community,'' said Spanos.
They also are grateful to the loyal staff that has worked with them for many years.
''It was very touching when I spoke individually with each of our staff members to tell them that the Shalimar was being sold. They all cried and that touched me deeply,'' said Peter Spanos.
Sharon Spanos said that the couple are talking with their friends in the hospitality business to help find jobs for those who have decided to move on while many of the workers have been offered positions by the new owners.
She said the couple are planning to ''relax, play some golf and spend lots of time with our family'. It's a whole new lifestyle for us.''
They have a son who worked as bartender at the restaurant last summer and a daughter who worked in the dining room and said they will continue to live in Laconia and be a part of the community while working on plans to develop the waterfront property they still own on Lake Winnisquam.