When Best Western Belleville opened in February 1988, offering complimentary coffee and a donut in the morning was innovative for its day. The 88-room hotel, which now offers a full hot breakfast in the morning including eggs, bacon, and waffles, and an indoor-pool and hot tub, has changed immensely over the past 30 years, but one thing that remains the same is the service and even some of the staff.
Cheryl Engle, a fixture in linen, has been with the company for 27 years, and Gordon Northrop, who works night audit, 29. They join a great group of 24 employees who make up front desk, housekeeping, breakfast, maintenance, linen, and night audit and accounting duties.
The hotel was built by Bell Con Engineering in 1987, by then Williams Hotels Founders, Don Williams, and John Williams who owned at the time the Ramada (now Travelodge) in Belleville, Ont., and the Ramada in Trenton, Ont. Don Williams had started in the car business with Stirling Motors in Stirling, and Williams Hotels built the Wandlyn Inn (now Ramada) in Trenton in 1979 and had purchased the Four Seasons (Travelodge) in 1984. Williams Hotels has operated in the region for 39 years and will turn 40 years old in 2019.
“We chose the Best Western Brand because it was a little more contemporary to our other full-service hotels at the time,” states Williams Hotels President, John Williams. “It worked for the location and for Belleville, and it continues to work for the region.”
Ryan Williams has been the GM of the Best Western since 2004, taking over for Georgia Maclean who is currently the GM of Williams Hotel’s Towneplace Suites by Marriott on Bell Blvd. Ryan was 9 years old when the Best Western opened.
“The hotel industry is a dynamic, interesting business, due to the incredible staff that work here and the guests who make us our home away from home. How many businesses can say they have been open 24 hours a day for 30 years?” mused Williams. “The success of Best Western Belleville continues to be its staff, and innovations that Best Western has provided to the brand over the past 30 years.”
These innovations include high-speed wifi, popcorn in the lobby in the evenings, and text-based messaging to all guests before, during, and after their stay. Best Western Belleville also completed $1.5 million in renovations to the building last year, replacing all exterior room windows with floor-to-ceiling, a new porte cochère, and adding entirely new carpet, artwork, bedding, furniture, and bathrooms to the entire building.
There is a contest running all month on Facebook and Instagram for its 30-year anniversary, which includes giveaways at some of Best Western’s great partners including Shoeless Joes, and Black Bear Ridge. Contestants can enter online all month.
“Best Western has always been good to us.” states John Williams, “We have been fortunate to have been operating in the Bay of Quinte Region now for 39 years, and we can’t say enough about our staff and guests.”