New $70 million casino in Delta, B.C. 

DELTA, B.C. — News emerged this past spring that the town of Delta in British Columbia will be getting a new hotel and casino. It will be a $70 million project, described as a “mid-size gaming and entertainment facility” and called Cascades Casino Delta. There won’t need to be a fresh lot cleared for the development, as it will instead be taking over the 11-acre space that has been occupied by the Delta Town & Country Inn. But it’s still a fairly significant undertaking, expected to be completed sometime in 2020. 

One can expect that the 124-room hotel facility will be very comfortable, and the exterior, judging by early renderings, will be beautiful in an understated sort of way. The casino will be the main attraction, however, and is expected to consist of a 42,000-square-foot-plus gaming area, with some 500 slot machines and 24 table games. There will also be multiple 5,000-square-foot restaurants with indoor-outdoor seating. It all sounds quite nice in a vacuum, but it also figures to be a good addition to the lower-B.C. area for a few different reasons. For one thing, the announcement of Cascades Casino Delta will serve as refreshing news for Canadians who enjoy casino facilities and have concerns about such places’ online competition. At this point, Canada has a plethora of casino sites that are widely available thanks to lax online gambling restrictions around the country. The lazy prediction for years has been that these sites and their endless variety of games would put “real” casinos out of business. News like the coming Delta casino counters this narrative, however, and will give people around British Columbia who might enjoy this sort of entertainment one more brand new place to enjoy it. For another thing, Cascades Casino Delta will actually have an opportunity to build on the success of existing casinos that aren’t too far away. While there is a bit more focus on the online industry throughout Canada, British Columbia appears to be positioning itself as something of a hub for brick-and-mortar gaming facilities. The River Rock Casino Resort, located along the Fraser River in Richmond, has a stellar reputation and is really quite close to where Cascades will be. And a bit farther north, in Vancouver, the Hard Rock is another major attraction. This is just to say that on top of there being some demand for more live casinos, there are also some that have proven that such places can succeed specifically in this part of Canada. Finally, Cascades Casino Delta will also be ideally positioned to do business with American tourists. Most gambling activity is still prohibited in the U.S., save for in a few cities and states and on certain Native American reservations, and for this reason it’s not entirely uncommon for Americans to cross the border to visit casinos. Cascades will be the closest legitimate casino hotel to the border, at least in western Canada, and should thus have some fairly reliable tourist business. All things considered, this looks to be a very interesting development for the Delta area, and for British Columbia as a whole.

Home2 Suites Ajax among Hilton announcements

Home2 Suites by Hilton Chicago River North was the brand's 300th property.
Home2 Suites by Hilton Chicago River North was the brand’s 300th property.

MCLEAN, Va.Hilton’s All Suites Brands started strong in a year to be filled with milestones, anniversaries and global expansion. Home2 Suites by Hilton opened its milestone 300th property, Home2 Suites by Hilton Chicago River North. Embassy Suites by Hilton inked a deal for its first property in Aruba. And, here in Canada, Hilton announced that it had signed a deal for a Home2 Suites in Ajax, Ont.

Embassy Suites by Hilton, Homewood Suites by Hilton, and Home2 Suites by Hilton, collectively making up the All Suites brands by Hilton, had a strong start to 2019, opening 21 properties in the first quarter and remaining on pace to open 130 by the end of the year. Together, the All Suites brands by Hilton have nearly 1,050 open properties and a pipeline of close to 600.

This year will also be noteworthy for each brand individually, with Home2 Suites by Hilton having just hit its 300th property milestone and continuing its legacy of strong growth. 

At the same time, Homewood Suites by Hilton, which has increased in brand value by 99 percent year over year according to Brand Finance’s Hotels 50 2019 annual report, is preparing to celebrate its 30th anniversary while nearing its milestone 500th property. 

Embassy Suites by Hilton is also getting set for an anniversary, and its 35th year has already been marked by expansion, with new signed deals for properties in the Caribbean and EMEA countries.

“We’re excited to celebrate these milestones and anniversaries in a year that’s already been filled with so much achievement, from soaring brand values to growth of our international footprint to making a positive global impact through the expansion of our soap recycling program,” said Dianna Vaughan, global head and senior vice president, All Suites brands by Hilton.

“Not only are we delivering for our owners and guests, we’re also championing Hilton’s goal of sending zero soap to landfills and cutting the organization’s environmental footprint in half by 2030 with our recent launch of the Clean The World Challenge.”

The All Suites brands by Hilton grew its pipeline with 37 new signed deals in the first quarter of 2019, bringing the total combined pipeline to nearly 600 pending hotels. Notable signed deals, reflecting the category’s growth both internationally and in key destinations domestically, include the Embassy Suites by Hilton Dubai Business Bay, Homewood Suites by Hilton Myrtle Beach Oceanfront Resort, and the Home2 Suites by Hilton Ajax, Ont. in Canada.

Centre de Congrès opens in Mont-Sainte-Anne, Que.

MONT-SAINTE-ANNE, Que. — Closed entirely since January 1st, 2019, the Mont-Sainte-Anne Conference Centre is now ready to welcome its first visitors just in time for the start of the holidays after completing the first phase of its expansion project and renovations.Investments of more than $4M have been used to extend the Conference Centre to more than 23,000 square feet, for a total of more than 40,000 square feet.

The upper-floor expansion now offers a new meeting room or banquet hall of over 5,600 square feet, highlighting the mountain’s attractions. The completed work also includes renovations to the main floor, the installation of an elevator and the complete and modern reroofing of the exterior building.

“We are excited and delighted to present our new facilities, with spacious, renovated and highly functional meeting rooms, which offer a spectacular view at the foot of Mont-Sainte-Anne,” said Château Mont-Sainte-Anne general manager, Sébastien Roy.

The project was made possible thanks to the financial support of the Ville de Beaupré, the Côte-de-Beaupré RCM, the Fonds Résolu, the Quebec Tourism Office, the Ministère du Tourisme, Investissement Québec as well as from Château Mont-Sainte-Anne.The Conference Centre is a non-profit organization and is run by Château Mont-Sainte-Anne. It includes the hotel’s meeting areas, for a total of 43,000 square feet available for meetings and events, thus remaining the largest convention resort centre in Quebec.

Château Mont-Sainte-Anne is a leading holiday resort hotel complex with 211 accommodation units. Built in 1979, Château Mont-Sainte-Anne has been offering an incomparable customer experience for nearly 40 years. Surrounded by bountiful nature, it is located in the heart of outdoor activities, while offering a wide array of amenities, leisure activities and fine cuisine.

This latest major project is part of the more than $45 million development plan, of which the first $25 million phase in renovations has already been completed.

Fairmont Hot Springs renovates thermal pools

FAIRMONT HOT SPRINGS, B.C. —Fairmont Hot Springs Resort has completed its extensive natural mineral hot springs pool renovation, which began in January 2019. This is the first major renovation to the pool in its 60-year history and made possible by an investment from the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC).

“These pool upgrades reflect the incredible mountain vistas that surround the property,” said Fairmont Hot Springs Resort CEO Vivek Sharma. “Our pools are sourced directly from the largest natural mineral hot springs in Canada, and I look forward to welcoming guests of all ages to the one-of-a-kind rejuvenating experience. We are grateful for the financing from BDC that has made the impressive transformation of our pools possible.”

“Access to capital is vital for growing Canadian companies,” said Michael Selci, senior vice president, Prairies Region, BDC. “We are pleased to have provided financing to Fairmont Hot Springs Resort for this valuable project as they expand their service offering and generate economic returns for their community.”

The resort worked closely with highly sought-after specialist Evolution Pools and Spas to plan and execute the major renovation, resulting in an inspiring and relaxing hot springs paradise. Guests will immediately appreciate the new natural rock poolscape that seamlessly blends into the Resort’s stunning Columbia Valley surroundings, reminding visitors of the mineral-rich water’s source deep in the mountains.

“This was an incredible project and I am thrilled to see our shared vision come to life and be enjoyed by guests from across Canada and around the world,” said Danny Tarasewich, owner of Osoyoos-based Evolution Pools and Spas. “It’s a beautiful new space and I am proud to have taken part in its transformation.”

Upgrades completed this year in addition to the new poolscape include: a zipline over the lap pool; expanded pool decks, naturally heated by the hot springs water; two new diving boards; a mountain-inspired water feature; new piping and infrastructure; and new sustainable lighting.

Marriott opens Four Points by Sheraton Downtown Windsor

WINDSOR, Ont. — Marriott International, Inc. has opened the Four Points by Sheraton Windsor Downtown. Catering to the needs of today’s everyday traveller, the hotel offers approachable design, stylish comfort and all the brand’s popular extras including a 24-hour fitness center, indoor pool, fast and free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel, and the Best Brews & BBQ program.

The hotel is managed by Sunray Group. Four Points by Sheraton Windsor Downtown, which previously operated under the names Sunbridge Hotel and Holiday Inn, offers 147 spacious guest rooms, over 1,900 sq. ft. of meeting and event space, a 24-hour fitness centre, indoor pool and sun deck, guest laundry, lobby pantry, business center and fast and free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel. 

Guests will enjoy full-service dining at the lobby level Fionn MacCool’s restaurant pub and the brand’s iconic Best Brews and BBQ program, which serves guests refreshing, curated local beers and seasonal appetizers. A customized Four Points Pale Ale from Frank Brewing Company is the inaugural Best Brew at Four Points by Sheraton Windsor Downtown. 

Four Points by Sheraton Windsor Downtown is just a short walk from Caesars Windsor Casino, Festival Plaza and scenic waterfront trails. Access to the tunnel to Detroit is nearby and the Windsor-Essex region boasts many beaches, wineries, golf courses and other attractions. The hotel is roughly 11 kilometres from Windsor International Airport, 35 kilometres from Detroit Metropolitan Airport, and just a five minute drive from the Via Rail Walkerville station for a convenient trip.

“Designed with the everyday traveller in mind, Four Points by Sheraton Windsor Downtown will be a convenient stay for anyone looking to enjoy the world-class attractions of Windsor-Detroit,” said Callette Nielsen, vice president and global brand manager of Courtyard, Fairfield, Four Points, and SpringHill Suites. “Accessible to business travellers and fun seekers alike, the friendly and modern design of the hotel will make everyone’s stay comfortable.”

“We are honoured to be an exciting addition to the Marriott International Family by being the first Four Points in the city of Windsor,” said Michelle Falconio, general manager of the Four Points by Sheraton Windsor Downtown. “We can’t wait to show off our beautiful new hotel to guests, and are confident it will be the destination of choice for leisure and business travellers.”

Four Points is the most globally distributed brand in Marriott’s Classic Select category, boasting more than 275 hotels in more than 40 countries and territories. The brand has nearly 100 signed hotels in the pipeline through 2021, with over 40 per cent of Four Points’ current portfolio of rooms located outside of North America, and 50 per cent of its signed pipeline through 2021 expected to open outside of North America.