Before, during and after:
VANCOUVER—SilverBirch Hotels & Resorts has just completed three Marriotts, and now has five Hilton hotels in its construction pipeline.
The three Marriotts are the Residence Inn by Marriott in downtown Vancouver, the TownePlace Suites by Marriott near Toronto Airport, and the Fairfield Inn & Suites St. John’s, NL.
“The Fairfield just opened on June 11,” said Steve Giblin, president and CEO. “Seamus O’Regan (former CTV TV host and Newfoundland native) gave a great speech, partly because we are naming the ballroom after him. He said he fell in love with the hotel from the moment he arrived, not only because of the fresh lobby, but also because he opened his laptop and was immediately on the Internet. His room was quiet, with blackout curtains and a comfortable bed. He arrived at 3 a.m. after a delay, and was very happy to have six hours of sleep before delivering his presentation.”
The hotel also features a waterslide, free breakfast, and five meeting rooms, and 42-inch televisions that have plug-ins for laptops.
Construction costs came in at just one per cent over budget. “Our design and construction team did a good job. We anticipated the [potential] escalation of costs due to the location.”
Responsible teardown of Citadel
The site of the old Citadel Hotel in Halifax has been totally cleared, and two new hotels and a residential tower are rising on the site. Watch a five-month time lapse video of the construction below. (Courtesy of Nova Scotia Webcams.)
Giblin noted that 80 per cent of the materials from the old hotel were recycled, including the bricks. The method of tearing down the hotel minimized the impact on the environment and the surrounding downtown area. A front-end loader started on top of the roof, and dropped materials down the elevator shaft, meaning a minimum of dust and debris. When one floor was demolished, building materials were used to build a ramp down to the next floor, and the process was repeated.
At press time, the two hotels, a Hampton Inn by Hilton and Homewood Suites by Hilton, were almost topped out. The site also includes a SilverBirch Conference Centre and a residential tower. The combined hotels have 315 rooms.
SilverBirch Conference Centres
The Doubletree Hotel (formerly the Regina Inn) will also include a SilverBirch Conference Centre. “A SilverBirch Conference centre is one that includes everything in the room for one price. If we sell a space for 10 people, it includes audio-visual, free WiFi, all coffee breaks and lunch, usually for less than $100 per person,” Giblin explained.
“It makes life simple and easy. There’s none of this $400 for audio visual and $2.50 for an extra soda. There’s a centralized coffee break area called Connections Café. It’s all free—small plates, small portions, healthy food, espresso, cappuccino and lattés—and pastries too. Also included is a lunch buffet in the dining room. Anytime between 11:30 a.m. and 2:00 p.m., you can break for lunch and have guests out and back within an hour.
“It makes things simple, and allows the meeting planner to concentrate on the meeting.”
SilverBirch already has these conference centres in the Radisson Saskatoon and Radisson Edmonton South, and there are three under construction in the Doubletree Regina, Doubletree West Edmonton and Hampton/Homewood in Halifax.
Regina Doubletree open for Grey Cup
Regina will host this year’s Grey Cup at the end of November, and the Doubletree Regina should be set to welcome guests in time for the celebrations, with a Nov. 1, 2013 completion date.
The Doubletree West Edmonton will follow on Feb. 1, 2014. SilverBirch will keep the Mayfield Dinner Theatre, which was part of the former Mayfield Suites hotel. They will also be building Canada’s first Home2 Suites on the site, with an anticipated opening date of June 2014.
Home2 Suites is an extended stay hotel designed to appeal to millennials. “But I think it has a more general appeal,” said Giblin.
“This will allow us to accommodate extended stay customers, and attract business, transient, group and dinner theatre guests.”
Residence Inn GM of the Year
Suzanne Allemeier, general manager of the Residence Inn by Marriott, which opened in Vancouver in September, 2012, was honoured as Residence Inn General Manager of the Year last month. Rob Walker, president of operations and Steve Vallevand, VP of operations for SilverBirch were on hand to present Allemeier with her award.
In other SilverBirch news, nine of the company’s 14 operating hotels received the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence this year.