NORTH PALM BEACH, FL; BEDFORD, NS—Pacrim plus Driftwood equals Maplewood, and that’s the joint venture chosen by Choice Hotels International to bring Cambria Suites hotels to Canada in an agreement signed late last month.
Pacrim, a Bedford, NS-based hotel company headed by Glenn Squires, and Driftwood Hospitality Management, LLC, based in North Palm Beach, FL and represented by Carlos Rodriguez, announced their partnership in mid-2013. Each group has around 40 hotels, with Pacrim’s assets mainly in Canada and Driftwood’s mostly in the U.S.
Rodriguez had already established a relationship with Choice Hotel International and the Cambria brand, Squires explained.
“We have been working diligently for most of 2013 to put a number of deals together,” he told CLN. “This is the first of a couple more announcements.”
Both Squires and Rodriguez noted that while they will do some projects together under the Maplewood banner, each company will also pursue projects independently. For example, Driftwood is working with the Millbrook First Nation in Truro, NS to develop their first Canadian hotel.
Squires noted that the deal with Driftwood gives him access to their platform—he doesn’t want to develop one hotel at a time. And Rodriguez said that Pacrim gives him access to the Canadian market. “Plus we’ve known each other a long time,” said Squires.
Rodriguez said the 50/50 Maplewood joint venture “takes advantage of their strengths and our strengths. We each have a portfolio of about 40 hotels across all brands, we’re well-known and teaming up makes a lot of sense when going into a new country like Canada.”
Squires said he was attracted to Cambria because it is a lifestyle brand with no Canadian counterpart. “If we are first in, we get to create a standard for the brand in Canada,” he added. “We did that years ago for Super 8s. People would ask why we were doing Super 8s, but we could build them from scratch to a Canada Select 3.5-star rating—that completely changed investors’ views of Super 8.
“With Cambria, we will be top rate right out the gate.” In a cluttered playing field, the potential for Cambria Suites is wide open.
Asked about the potential for the brand in Canada, Squires anticipates 25 in the next five to seven years.
Cambria Suites is a new-build brand, though Squires can foresee a rare exception for adaptive reuse of an apartment building into a downtown property. “We’re certainly not thinking of conversions.”
Rodriguez told CLN Cambria Suites is a good product, very high quality, good value for the money and a good size. “It is easy to operate and filled with the types of services customers visiting Canada would want—a bar, nice amenities, and the rooms are beautiful.”
Depending on the season and location, rooms at a Cambria Suites would go for $100 to $150, he added.
“Choice Hotels is excited to share the Cambria Suites experience with Canadian travellers– both for business and pleasure,” said Michael Murphy, senior vice president, upscale brands, Choice Hotels International. “The unique blend of style, smart design and sophisticated technology that represent the Cambria Suites experience is sure to resonate well within this market.
“The brand continues tremendous growth in top-tier markets including New York City, Washington DC and Miami—and Canada is another ideal location. Our preliminary focus is Eastern Canada, where we have initial plans for five Cambria Suites properties.”