Trendsetting in competitive Winnipeg

Holiday Inn Winnipeg South lobby.

Holiday Inn Winnipeg South lobby.

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Newly branded 120-seat EnoBAR

Newly branded 120-seat EnoBAR

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By Don Douloff

WINNIPEG — A $4.5 million renovation has breathed new life into the Holiday Inn Winnipeg South, modernizing and brightening the property’s guestrooms, function rooms, public spaces and restaurant.

“It’s been a complete transformation,” said Mike Gore, general manager and area director. Spurring the renovation, he said, was the need to keep pace in a competitive Winnipeg hotel market, where a number of new properties have recently launched. Holiday Inn Winnipeg South opened in 1980 on Pembina Highway, near McGillivray Boulevard, close to downtown and a 20-minute drive from the airport.

Taking place over a 20-month period, the three-stage refurbishment, completed in early April, sought to “make the hotel look more contemporary, open it up, and make the spaces more inviting,” said Gore.

A top-to-bottom refurbishment of the 170 guestrooms added new carpet and wall vinyl in a bold, contemporary palette of grey, orange and earth tones; brought in new softgoods and casegoods; and outfitted rooms with today’s must-have amenities — microwave ovens, fridges, free Wi-Fi, 42-inch flat-screen HDTVs and, in desks and bedside tables, extra outlets. Large, grey-fabric padded headboards and artwork adorn feature walls.

Renovated guestroom bathrooms now sport tub surrounds and new vanities and mirrors, and white-marble countertops and floors. The guestroom lineup now includes eight accessible rooms (with queen beds), including one room with roll-in shower.

New carpets and wallcoverings in revamped corridors also reflect the shift to contemporary colours. Modernized fixtures such as wall sconces and pot lights add visual pizzazz, as the hotel has transitioned to energy efficient LED halogen lights.

The project’s phase two substantially refurbished the second-floor function spaces — seven meeting rooms plus a conference theatre seating 65, classroom-style — installing new carpeting, lighting, seating and audiovisual technology, and upgraded the lobby-level ballroom and pre-function area.

Also receiving a makeover was the fitness room (new equipment), pool area (Jacuzzi and furniture upgrades) and second-floor public washrooms.
But perhaps the most dramatic change occurred in the lobby/restaurant/lounge area that has been reconfigured to provide a communal zone for weekday business travellers that encourages interaction, said Gore.

Functionality meets design in the lobby, which has been reimagined as a series of smaller, more purposeful areas that include two check-in pods, a communal-table business centre and a 24/7 market area selling sundries, beverages and microwaveable meals. Lobby design accents include marble floors, creative lighting, resurfaced fireplace, and seating pods (chaise lounges, padded benches, ottomans). Neon green, red and gold rule.

Newly branded 120-seat EnoBAR
+Kitchen boasts a fresh look (carpet and wood floors; a striking palette of red, gold, orange, grey), logo and menu (burgers, sandwiches and a fresh board of apps, pizza and main courses).

Lounge chairs, round booths and divisible private dining spaces accommodating 40 people provide stylishly varied seating options, while up-to-the-minute lighting (in a circular metal design, and white acrylic lamp shades) changes according to the time of day. The lounge features a 20-seat marble bar, wood floors, moveable tub chairs and eight TVs. “The lounge and restaurant flow together, and are used interchangeably,” said Gore.

Already, the hotel’s renovation investment is reaping rewards. “The guests have had an absolutely ‘wow’ reaction,” said Gore. “This renovation is such a massive departure from anything we’d done before. We wanted it to look like a brand new hotel — and it is.”