QUEBEC — Choice Hotels Canada now has a presence on Quebec City’s main drag since Le Grande-Allée Hotel & Suites has become the 13th property in The Ascend Collection.
“It’s a 100-plus-year-old real historic gem, right in the heart of Old Quebec, just outside the wall,” said Brian Leon, managing director of CHC. He added that owner Jean-François Côté, president of Hôtels Nouvelle France, has done a good job updating the hotel and that it is in great shape. Hôtels Nouvelle France is a group of four hotels and two restaurants, located in and around Old Quebec.
“We’ve had a great run with Ascend. Two years ago, there were six and now there are 13 and more in discussion,” Leon noted.
“It’s a reflection of owners seeing the value of the Ascend program, because it offers global presence but with a local identity.”
“There is no Comfort Inn in downtown Quebec. It’s hard for us to establish a presence in that market and hard for an independent to compete with today’s technology. This offers them a global company where they can retain their identity,” Leon said.
Ascend rounds out the Choice portfolio by offering an upscale dimension that has strong reward night appeal for loyal customers. It also drives improvements to guest satisfaction scores.
“The whole portfolio of Ascend properties is leading the system with extraordinarily high levels of guest satisfaction. The hotels are making a positive impression on people and helping the way people think of Choice generally,” he said.
Aurele Schink, general manager of the property, says the hotel dates from 1893, when it was built as a bourgeois home on what was billed as Quebec’s Champs Elysées. It has been a hotel for about 110 years; every room has its own cachet with wood floors or brick walls, with most rooms facing Grande Allée.
“It was a no-brainer to become part of Choice,” Schink, who has worked for Choice before, said of the decision to join the Ascend Collection. “They let us keep our discreet signage and all of our cachet.” The hotel had tried working with a local banner before, but Schink was “thrilled” when the hotel owners decided to go ahead with Choice.
“We could keep our soul,” said Schink, “and we’ve had a very good pickup in business.”