Local couple offers unique ‘Escape Room’ experience
Locking people in a room, for a living?
–In 2015, SLO County Natives Mariah and Patrick Eaves opened a new form of entertainment on the Central Coast. Their business is The Locked Inn, a live escape room experience.
The concept is fairly simple. You and your team are locked in a themed room, and you have 60 minutes to search for clues and solve puzzles, while ultimately trying to escape from the room.
Though the concept may be simple, the experience is surprisingly complex. Your team may find a key, that leads to a secret locked box, which contains a riddle, and so on as the experience unfolds. There are many twists and turns along the way. Time counts down as the pressure mounts to solve the mysteries of the room within the allotted time. Every person on your team must work together if you have any hope of escaping the room.
If you have not yet played an escape room game, chances are you will soon. They are popping up all over. Major cities now support several escape rooms, all with various themes and concepts.
Patrick recalls the earliest days of their business, “It was a concept that was already blowing up around the world, but was still very new to the U.S. When we decided to create an escape room here, we were a little nervous. It was unclear at the time whether an escape room would be a viable business in this area. But we’re from SLO county, we love it here, and we wanted to share the concept with our community. It was a leap of faith, I kept hearing Kevin Costner in my head, ‘If you build it, they will come!’”
The Locked Inn is the only escape room In SLO county that is open to the public. While many escape rooms around the world are franchises or pre-designed packages, the Eaves are excited to share their own rooms and puzzles with the Central Coast. “We design, and build all of the elements ourselves, we truly want to provide a unique experience.”
The Locked Inn is a hotel themed escape room. When having to quickly explain the theme, the Eaves reply, “Checking in is easy, checking out is an adventure!” Beyond that, the Eaves share very few details about their game.
“We cannot give away too much. Especially if it is your first time, you will not know what to expect. That is part of what makes it so exciting. We see that even the most skeptical guests become completely engrossed once they starting uncovering clues, finding hidden keys, and progressing through the game. It’s thrilling to be immersed in the game, not just entertained, but part of the entertainment. It’s really something that you just have to experience for yourself to understand” explains Patrick.
Once a banker, and a skydiving instructor respectively; Mariah and Patrick now lock guests in full time.
“We are overwhelmed by the support we have received so far. We’ve hosted bachelor/bachelorette parties, birthdays, reunions, and even corporate team building groups. Everyone has been very receptive to the concept. Word of mouth has really been key for us to be able to continue offering this experience. It’s very rewarding to see guests returning, and telling their friends to give it a try! ” says Mariah.
“Guests often ask if it’s scary, or if they’ll feel claustrophobic. There are many escape rooms that have horror themes. But our current room is not scary! And even guests that express extreme claustrophobia before entering, have had an incredible time.” Patrick adds.
When not locking guests in, The Eaves are busy offering consulting to would-be escape room owners around the country. “We’ve learned a lot, and it’s equally rewarding to share the experience with both our guests and potential escape room owners.”
The Locked Inn currently has one room. The Eaves are working on an additional room that is scheduled to open later this summer. Both center around The Locked Inn hotel theme, each exploring different parts of the Inn. The current room is designed for 4-8 guests, though the Eaves report the highest success with groups of 6-8 guests. Each experience is private, so grab a group of your smartest friends and go get Locked Inn!
The Locked Inn is open by reservation only, you can find more information and book on their website at www.TheLockedInn.com.