January 30, 2014 --
Live Oak Lodge sits peacefully along Matthews Boulevard on Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany.
The lodge is designated as transient billeting for all personnel on temporary additional duty orders.
However, it is a great option if space is available as a hotel for others, according to Ghana Paige, housing program assistant, MCLB Albany.
The least expensive two-room suite cost $34 a night and is compared to a three-star hotel, according to Randall Kennedy, housing officer, MCLB Albany.
At first glance, the exterior is unassuming on these rooms. However, once inside, guests are often very impressed with the layout and décor. Equally matched is the customer service provided by the staff at Live Oak Lodge.
“I really like the staff,” Cpl. Nate Williams, Marine Expeditionary Force, LCMC, said. “They really go out of their way to make us comfortable. If we need extra towels or anything, they are just so willing to help us out.”
Williams added he loved having separate living and sleeping areas. Williams and his wife Kristen are temporarily staying at Live Oak Lodge while securing permanent housing.
“If we were out in town, it would be much more expensive with a lot less space,” Williams said. “This was just the best option for us.”
While visiting her daughter for a week, Janice Biggs, opted to stay at Live Oak Lodge.
“I really enjoyed being able to stay on the base,” Biggs said. “The rate was less expensive than what I would have paid at a hotel, and the staff was outstanding.
“They went above and beyond in every possible way,” she said. “I felt like they really cared about my comfort, rather than people just doing a job. Everything was meticulously cleaned and the room was completely updated.
“In a hotel, you are surrounded by businesses and the staff is at times so busy doing their job, they have no time to really cater to the customer,” she continued. “At the lodge, it felt more like a little community. I would definitely stay there again.”
The living area offers a 32-inch flat screen television, a sofa, loveseat sleeper, desk, stovetop, mini refrigerator, microwave and a coffee maker. It is fully stocked with plates, forks, knives, and cookware. Phone service and Wi-Fi are also available in the suites.
The sleeping area also has a 32-inch flat screen television along with the bed, a dresser and an above average sized closet. In the bathroom, a variety of toiletries, are neatly displayed for convenience. The building also has a washer and dryer available, which patrons can use at no additional cost.
Live Oak Lodge offers daily cleaning service. Located near the lodge area is a tennis court, a basketball court, a gazebo and numerous outdoor tables and chairs for the guests.
When compared to a similar establishment in town, the difference is vast. If washer and dryers are offered, that is at an additional cost. The rate is taxed and a refundable deposit is required. Additionally, the living areas are much smaller and only have loft style layouts as opposed to having a separate living and sleeping area.
Live Oak Lodge also offers accommodations for distinguished guests. For those ranked O-6 and above, E-9 or GS-15 and above, a two bedroom, two bathroom fully furnished home is available. For those ranked O-4 and above, there are two VIP suites. There are also 4 family transient quarters three bedroom homes fully furnished with washer and dryer.
“Feedback from patrons is overwhelmingly positive, but we do have some areas we are attempting to improve,” Kennedy said. “One area the staff is addressing is the limited hours of operation. The hours of operation are Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. - 4 p.m. If someone checks in on the weekend, they must go to the duty office (in Building 3500) to get a key.”
“We understand that it is inconvenient to go to the duty office to check in on the weekends. However, we had to make smart business decisions to keep costs down. It is not economically smart to pay someone to sit at the desk all night long and there is no one, or maybe just one or two people checking in.”
To overcome that inconvenience, Live Oak Lodge is currently testing a kiosk that will allow patrons to check in after hours and not have to go to the duty office.
“We are using the kiosk, but only while we are on duty right now,” Paige said. “It is still in a testing phase. When it becomes fully operational, guests will be able to check in on site rather than going to the duty office after hours and on the weekends. The kiosk will also allow patrons to pay their bill, and get directions to their room.”
Anyone interested in learning more about Live Oak Lodge or would like to reserve a room or house, call 229-639-5614. Check in is at 3 p.m. Once a reservation is made, it must be cancelled before 1 p.m. on check-in day in order to avoid being charged for one night's stay.
Also, space available reservations may be cancelled by Live Oak Lodge if a room is needed to accommodate personnel on official travel.