HUNTSVILLE, ON—Sequel Hotels and Resorts has been on the move this summer, with two big announcements.
In May, the company announced that it had hired Robert McLaughlin as the new president and chief operating officer of Sequel Hospitality Investments Inc. He was brought in to enhance the company’s growth and profitability for investments in hotel and resort acquisitions, and mixed use developments. Sequel Hospitality Investments is a private equity company that will grow through acquisitions. He will also guide the expansion of Sequel Hotels and Resorts, a hotel management company that was founded in 2005.
While hotels and resorts are a new industry for him, McLaughlin brings extensive creative, financial and executive experience to this new position. He is an entrepreneur and 25-year broadcast industry executive who specializes in start-up and rebuilding operations, particularly growing emerging brands. In addition to his success at executive levels, he is an award-winning journalist and proven investor.
As senior vice president of production for CTV, McLaughlin was responsible for all production at CTVglobemedia (2009-2011), overseeing the business development and strategic plan for production units of its networks. He was appointed executive producer of the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Winter Games for CTV (Olympic Morning). He has also been VP and GM of Toronto’s CP24.
McLaughlin had been on the job less than two months when Sequel announced that it had purchased Touchstone on Lake Muskoka, a $35 million boutique Muskoka resort and condominium development in Bracebridge, Ontario.
Set on 22 waterfront acres, Touchstone on Lake Muskoka represents one of the most significant pieces of development property in the Canadian resort real estate market, the company said in a release. Touchstone is also one of the few Muskoka resorts that features entirely new build accommodation and amenities.
“Touchstone will compete internationally as a top-tier resort project,” said McLaughlin. “Sequel Hospitality secured Touchstone Resort at well below replacement value which fits nicely with our investment criteria.”
Sequel’s expansion plans for Touchstone will focus on condominium development, presenting new layouts for an additional 56 lakeside, whole ownership condominiums priced from $229,000. Owners will have the option of placing their unit in the resort rental pool.
“Touchstone was originally developed as a fractional ownership project,” said Anne Larcade, president & CEO, Sequel Hotels and Resorts and CEO of Sequel Hospitality Investments, who compares the resort to Deerhurst, Ritz-Carlton and Four Seasons.
“We’re selling out,” Larcade told CLN, adding that they can’t keep up with the demand for leisure travel, small group meetings and weddings. “Going forward, we are in a unique position to build out this resort.”
Prices at Touchstone range from $150 up to more than $1,000 per night.
Community, art and music
“One of our goals is to weave in the local community, local artists, unique events, so that guests can experience what Muskoka has to offer in terms of art, music, wine and food,” said Larcade.
Sequel also focuses on these core values in its management of the Gladstone Hotel in Toronto, a boutique art hotel. “We’re very proud of the Gladstone,” said Larcade. “Year to date, we led our competitive set in the boutique luxury section of downtown Toronto in terms of RevPAR.”
Larcade notes that Sequel is looking at three other acquisition and development projects, in Ontario, outside the province and outside Canada.
“Given our strategic locations, growing collection of hotel assets, existing pipeline and hospitality expertise, Sequel Hospitality Investments is ideally positioned to develop truly unique hotels and resorts,” noted McLaughlin. “We look forward to introducing several more developments over the coming months.”