Friday, August 29, 2008

Abbey ending hotel service Sept. 21
Aug 28, 2008 09:13PM
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The Abbey Hotel, a luxury boutique hotel in Bettendorf, is progressing towards its conversion into a high-end addiction treatment center, owner Joseph L. Lemon Jr. said.

The last day for the hilltop hotel and banquet facility that overlooks Bettendorf and the Interstate 74 bridge will be Sept. 21. All remaining banquet events and some functions will move to the Abbey Station in Rock Island.

Abbey Station, which currently is booking events for the Christmas season and into 2009, will host its third annual Bridal Elegance Emporium 1-4 p.m. Oct. 3.

In June, the city of Bettendorf granted the Lemon family approval to convert the former historic monastery-hotel into a high-end addiction treatment center. Mr. Lemon and Michael Shovlain, executive director of the residential treatment center, submitted applications for state approval with the Iowa Department of Public Health.

The application was tentatively approved and a site inspection made the first week in August. Mr. Lemon said The Abbey received a positive review from the state inspector, who will recommend approval to the state board in September.

Once it receives its license, The Abbey may start accepting clients with a tentative opening date of Oct. 6, Mr. Shovlain said Thursday. He currently is interviewing applicants for all positions, from therapists and counselors to chefs and kitchen assistants, receptionists and administrative support. Applicants may apply by e-mail at

A national campaign has begun to promote The Abbey as a premier addiction treatment center, Mr. Lemon said. Its website, was developed to help people suffering from alcoholism get the information and assistance they need, he said. More than 25 million Americans suffer from alcoholism or abuse of prescription medicines and other legal drugs, he said.

Mr. Shovlain said he expects the majority of The Abbey's clients to be professionals, including atorneys, physicians, and other healthcare professionals, corporate executives, government officials, pilots and clergy.

The Abbey will treat people with substance abuse addictions and related "co-occuring disorders" such as depression, grief, trauma, relationship concerns, abuse and other issues, Mr. Shovlain said. The Abbey will treat adult men and women with co-educational and gender-specific counseling, he said.

The Lemon family bought the Carmelite monastery in 1991, spending a year and more than $1.5 million converting it into a AAA Four-Diamond-rated luxury boutique hotel, one of only two hotels with this distinction in Iowa. The family ran the hotel and banquet facility for the past 16 years. Placed on the National Register of Historic Places, the hotel has won numerous local and national awards.

The family decided to seek alternate, compatible uses for the property after facing what they say was unfair, government-granted competition from the Isle of Capri on the Bettendorf banks of the Mississippi River. The Isle's hotels and convention center operate as a loss leader for the gambling business, Mr. Lemon said.

Key dates for The Abbey Center
Sept 8-9 - Final approval for state license expected.Sept. 21- Last date for The Abbey Hotel, with remaining banquet commitments moved to The Abbey Station in Rock Island.Oct. 6 - Tentative opening date for new The Abbey Center.

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