East Island Reserve Hotel, Middletown, RI.

The Power of Empowerment

Aug 27, 2018

At just twenty-one, Chris Bicho purchased his first investment rental property on Thames Street in Newport, Rhode Island through a loan from Savings Institute Bank & Trust, then Newport Federal Savings Bank. Through dedication, innovation and eye for empowering his team members, he has expanded from that first location to a diverse portfolio of properties which include: eight apartment communities throughout the Eastern United States, seven bed and breakfasts along with 30 vacation rentals in Newport, RI and the newly completed East Island Reserve Hotel in Middletown, RI.

Owner Chris Bicho in front of the East Island Reserve Hotel in Middletown, RI

East Island Reserve Hotel Owner Chris Bicho on the porch of one of the rental cottages.

Decades of Dedication

That sole property on Thames Street in Newport, Rhode Island was just the beginning of what is now a successful real estate business. After his first achievements in the apartment rental business, Chris began looking at other options for properties. Chris purchased what is now The Newport Inn located on the corner of Howard and Sprint Streets in Newport, RI. He and his team renovated the historic building and created a unique experience that appealed to both transient guests and wedding parties.


“We’ve tried different models for our business, from the original year round apartment rentals to the destination experience with The Newport Inn and subsequent vacation rental properties,” Chris says when asked about how the business expanded. “In 2011, we decided to take the next step and utilize websites like HomeAway.com, VRBO.com and AirB&B.com. We had such great success that we took that model and replicated it.”

As Chris expanded his operations, he formed the brand Vacation Newport, a unique collection of vacation properties that range from bed and breakfasts to vacation rentals and most recently, the East Island Reserve Hotel, a former cottage rental property turned into a hotel.

East Island Reserve Hotel, Middletown, RI.

Rental cottages at the East Island Reserve Hotel in Middletown, RI.

Mind for Innovation

“We’re always looking for new opportunities to develop our business. The East Island Reserve Hotel offers more than your typical hotel with cottages, suites, and rooms all available on the same property along with amenities.”

With 37 rooms, the East Island Reserve Hotel offers an unbeatable value in a convenient location. The hotel is comprised of 24 two-story clapboard cottages along with a 10 room Lodge and two separate buildings that house 2 suites and guesthouse. Amenities include spa services, heated salt water pool, clubhouse serving contiental breakfast daily and a meeting room with kitchenette. The hotel also offers extended stay packages which are a great temporary housing solution for business travelers, military members, prolonged vacationers or people relocating to the area.

It’s clear Chris and his team have out of the box thinking when it comes to investment properties. While each of his properties are beautiful examples of the classic New England look, they all include robust offerings and have the needs of different clientele in mind.

East Island Reserve Hotel, Middletown, RI.
Patio and pool at the East Island Reserve Hotel in Middletown, RI.

Empowerment is Key

When asked what the driver of his success is, Chris gives credit to his team. “We have a fabulous group of dedicated and loyal people working for us that are both marketing and financially savvy. Delegating tasks to your team members is important. It not only allows them to grow but also allows your business to grow with them.”

Each member of Chris’ team is committed to not only the success of Vacation Newport but also to the Aquidneck Island community in which they work. Chris empowers his team members not only through delegation of responsibilities but in giving them the opportunity to give back to the causes that they are passionate about. This means they support many smaller charities, often those that are athletically oriented for children with monetary donations.

The community is important to the success of Chris’ businesses, and that was a cornerstone to his decision to continue building his relationship with Savings Institute Bank & Trust. When the business needed funding for the East Island Reserve Hotel, Chris turned to his Business Relationship Manager, Cristina Feden.

“Savings Institute is community-oriented just like my team and I,” Chris explains. “Cristina is willing to be your champion each step of the way, and the whole team at the Bank is dedicated to you and your business. That’s just not something you get with a larger bank.”  

East Island Reserve Hotel, Middletown, RI.
Chris Bicho and Savings Institute Bank & Trust Commercial Lender Cristina Feden in front of the East Island Reserve Hotel office.

Savings Institute Bank & Trust is proud to have supported Chris as his business and needs have changed over time. Just as Vacation Newport offers a diverse collection of accommodations, Savings Institute strives to provide robust business solutions beyond just lending, including cash management and checking account solutions.

To learn more about how we can help your business, please give us a call, or visit one of our conveniently located branches.