BATHURST, N.B. – When Vinayak Seth bought the former Lakeview Lodge in Bathurst, N.B., he immediately set about renovating the property to include features not seen elsewhere in the region. Last fall, he and his family were on hand to receive the Choice Hotels Canada APEX Award for Best New Entry — Midscale Conversion.
Bathurst is a community of 13,500 people located in northern New Brunswick at the mouth of the Nepisiguit River on Chaleur Bay. The main industries are mining, fishing and forestry. Other sectors include: tourism, phone call centres, manufacturing, and provincial and federal government. The service sector is the city's largest employer.
When Seth came to Canada from India 12 years ago, he had no idea that he would end up as a hotel owner. He went to Alberta, and got a job in a motel in Edmonton, working on night audit.
“I liked the experience and decided I would like to have my own hotel,” Seth told CLN. He came across an opportunity to own a Canadas Best Value Inn in Woodstock, N.B., and ran that hotel until he came across the opportunity to acquire the former Lakeview Lodge in Bathurst.
Seth purchased the property in 2017, and started renovating almost immediately. It opened as a Quality Inn in November 2017, after extensive top-to-bottom renovations including the elevators, floors and bathrooms.
“Everything is brand new,” he said. “The lobby is bigger as we sacrificed four rooms for the expansion. Now we have 74 rooms.”
The renovations included the exterior as well, with new siding and a new carport. The rooms and baths have all been redone, with false marble slabs for the bathrooms. Instead of a pullout, the rooms have an actual double bed, and all rooms have a sofa chair.
“All year round, we get corporate business and the rest is tourists including skiers. We're almost 50/50 corporate and leisure,” Seth said.
The guest response has been very positive, with the Bathurst property among the top Quality Inns in Canada, scoring 1.29 or 1.39 against their comp set.