GRANDE PRAIRIE, Alta. — Ryan Pomeroy talked to CLN last week about the newly built Pomeroy Inn & Suites in Prince George and Pomeroy Hotel in Fort McMurray; and their amazing new destination, Alyeska Resort, which includes a world-class ski hill. The total number of Pomeroy properties now stands at 21.
Pomeroy Inn & Suites in Prince George opened in December, 2018 and features 1,600 square feet of meeting space, a fitness centre and a 12,000 sq. ft. state-of-the-art water park with a pool, hot tub, waterslides and children’s splash pad. The company's newest extended stay property has 126 premium guest rooms and suites and is situated in a prime location on the corner of Highway 16 and 97, backing onto a golf course and close to both restaurants and shopping.
“This is a project we started working on 15 years ago,” Ryan Pomeroy, CEO of Pomeroy Lodging told CLN. “We were going to purchase a golf course property, and then they decided not to move. In the end, they sold off the driving range, which is where the hotel has been built.”
Pomeroy noted that Prince George is a diverse, steady market, with some new hotel product, but no extended stay properties. “We're the only one,” he said.
The Pomeroy Hotel in Fort McMurray opened this month. It has 100 rooms located in a desirable and accessible downtown location. Close to many restaurants and amenities, the hotel features king suites with full kitchens and balconies to comfortable queen rooms. The property has heated underground parking, a hot tub, a steam room, a business centre and generous complimentary hot breakfast.
This project includes apartments as well as hotel rooms, and Pomeroy were brought in as hotel experts. “It gives us an opportunity to raise the standard for quality in the market,” said Ryan Pomeroy, noting that Fort McMurray has seen busier and brighter days, but as the market recovers the hotel will do better and better.
The Alyeska Resort, situated about 44 km southwest of Anchorage, Alaska, is Pomeroy's first venture into the U.S., and its largest property to date with 301 rooms. Offering 1,610 skiable acres, 76 named trails and over 669″ of snow annually, Alyeska lives up to its reputation as steep and deep. Alyeska Resort hosts seven total lifts which take skiers to a vertical rise of 2,500 ft: two high speed detachable quads, two fixed quads, two magic carpets and a 60-passenger Aerial Tram.
Asked if the Alyeska property was part of a plan for more U.S. ventures, Pomeroy said that most of their transactions are opportunistic. They look for a framework in which they can be successful. They found just such an opportunity with Alyeska, which has 170,000 skier visits per year and is one of the top 50 U.S. ski resorts.
“The hotel is a wonderful building built in the mid-1990s by Japanese investors. It's a first class facility,” Ryan Pomeroy said. Alyeska was bought out of bankruptcy in December 2006 by John Byrne III, who was a hands-on owner who did some work on the ski hill and refreshing the resort.
Pomeroy can offer a more corporate, professionalized management system, Ryan Pomeroy noted. The resort has a large staff, and Pomeroy sees it as a good training ground for up and coming managers.
“Globally the middle class is growing. There will be increased tourism and the mountains are becoming increasingly desirable. The property's advantage and disadvantage is its distance. It's unbelievable — it's a five-minute drive to the ocean, and a five-minute flight and you're on a glacier. I slowly fell in love with the place. The mountains are an integral part of the opportunities there.”
Pomeroy's other resort property is The Pomeroy Kananaskis Mountain Lodge, A Marriott Autograph Collection property with 247 rooms and suites. This is the first year everything has been completed: the golf course, which was damaged by flooding, reopened last year; the years of Pomeroy renovations have put Kananaskis back on the map; and the hotel is doing better than it ever has since it's been open, Ryan Pomeroy said.