TORONTO – Choice Hotels Canada has added three new properties to its Ascend Collection — Calabogie Peaks near Ottawa, the Fort Garry Hotel in Winnipeg and Hotel Penticton in Penticton, B.C. The fast-growing Ascend Hotel Collection is a network of upscale resorts, historic properties and boutique hotels that offer guests a uniquely local experience. Ascend now has 22 properties here in Canada and there are nearly 370 globally. The brand has been on a tear, adding seven properties in 2019 and five so far this year. The other two properties added this year include The Parlour in Stratford, Ont., and Hotel Les Suites de Laviolette in Trois Rivières, Que.
Asked why the Ascend Collection has continued to expand even during the pandemic, Rob Alldred, director of membership development, Ascend Hotel Collection at Choice Hotels Canada, says owners are seeing the value of joining a branded system with a robust loyalty program. Choice Privileges has 45 million members around the world and 2.5 million here in Canada. “They are also looking at technology and distribution. For us at Choice Hotels Canada, we are 100 per cent Canadian, and that speaks to many Canadian ownership groups.
“They also see the value of joining a system like ours for financing. Lenders are more likely to finance your hotel if there is a brand system behind you,” Alldred says. “The other advantage of the Ascend Collection is flexibility in terms of contract lengths and overall requirements — owners see value in that. We’re open to conversions, adaptive reuse or new construction.
“Guests like the distinct experiences across the country in great locations. They also like the security of a brand in terms of cleanliness and other programs implemented through the brand.”
The all-seasons Calabogie Peaks Resort, which first opened to guests in 2004 is is just 50 minutes from Ottawa.
Nestled in the Ottawa Valley, Calabogie Peaks Resort is located at the base of the tallest public ski hill in Ontario, with three lifts and 24 runs along Dickson Mountain. In the summer, guests can relax by Calabogie Lake and play a few rounds at the on-site nine hole golf course. There are two cross-country biking trail systems, the Eagle’s Nest and the Peaks, and numerous hiking trails which offer unforgettable vistas of the forest and lake. Calabogie Lake offers sun, sand, sailing, fishing and kayaking for aquatic-minded guests. After hitting the slopes or the greens, guests can enjoy delicious, locally-sourced meals from the onsite eatery, Canthooks Restaurant. The resort even has its own hives, ensuring that guests can enjoy fresh honey produced by its very own bees.
“Calabogie Peaks Resort is well known for its many four-seasons activities,” says Alldred. “We are delighted to welcome them into our growing collection of destination resort properties and we are confident that the association with Ascend will encourage more guests than ever before.”
“We are very excited to join the Ascend Hotel Collection,” says Jim Hemlin, COO at Calabogie Peaks Resort. “We felt our resort was a good fit in the collection. The fact that we could keep our identity was very important to us.”
The property includes a 25-room full service boutique hotel and 30 one- to three-bedroom condo suites, perfect for family vacations. An atmosphere of rustic charm reflects the property’s natural scenic setting and the building’s interiors are attractive and appointed with classic Canadiana furnishings. Guest rooms are well equipped, including some with fireplaces and private balconies. Other amenities include an indoor heated pool, outdoor hot tub, a fitness centre and meeting space.
The recent arrival of Hotel Penticton, a 36-room property, marks the first Ascend Hotel Collection property in the scenic Okanagan Valley.
“We’re so excited to be expanding in the Okanagan, as it’s a great place to explore outside and connect with nature,” says Alldred. “As an Ascend member, Hotel Penticton will benefit from our robust central reservation system and award-winning Choice Privileges loyalty program.”
This boutique, pet-friendly property offers amenities thoughtfully designed to suit the needs of both business and leisure travellers and includes a business centre, fitness centre, indoor heated pool, hot tub, laundry and an onsite restaurant known for serving some of the best waffles in the city. The modern guest rooms are conveniently outfitted with refrigerators, 40-inch TVs and free high-speed Wi-Fi.
“We’re thrilled to be partnering with Choice Hotels Canada on yet another wonderful property,” says Billy Coles, president and owner BCP module construction, who owns the hotel. “Hotel Penticton is conveniently located near many regional attractions and we look forward to welcoming guests this summer and beyond.”
Located at 950 Westminster Avenue West, the property is next to the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre, the South Okanagan Events Centre and just two blocks from the Okanagan waterfront. The local beaches have no shortage of activities available, from boat rentals, fishing and swimming. If hitting the links is more your style, consider exploring the famous South Okanagan Golf Trail. And wine lovers will appreciate exploring the world-class wineries like Poplar Grove and Bench 1775 – all just a short drive away.
The landmark Fort Garry Hotel, Spa and Conference Centre has joined Choice Hotels Canada’s Ascend Hotel Collection, a network of resorts, historic properties, and one-of-a-kind boutique hotels that bring together grandeur and elegance with authentic local character. For over one hundred years, the Hotel Fort Garry has been the showpiece of Western Canada’s most historic street, Broadway, and Manitoba’s marquee destination for business, conference groups, special occasions and romantic getaways.
This luxurious National Historic Site is one of the Grand Hotels built during an era when buildings represented the pinnacle of architectural achievement. Completed in 1913 by the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway, the Fort Garry Hotel is a premier example of Châteauesque design, a distinctly Canadian style of architecture combining the monumentality of the Renaissance with the ornamentation of the Gothic Revival.
“This striking hotel is absolutely a jewel in the crown of the Ascend Collection in Canada,” says Alldred. “We know our guests are going to be excited about staying here.”
The Fort Garry Hotel offers 240 guest rooms, including 19 suites. The property began an extensive renovation in 2014 with over $5.4 million spent on capital improvements in all guestrooms, including new 48″ flat-screen televisions, wireless high-speed internet, furniture updates and accessories, as well as flooring replacements, modernized decor, re-painting, and HVAC repairs. The hotel retains its elegant display of lavish materials, mouldings, and top-of-line finishes in all the guestrooms.
“We are very pleased to be joining the prestigious Ascend Hotel Collection,” says Ida Albo, owner of the Fort Garry Hotel, Spa and Conference Centre. “We are excited about the advantages, including access to an award-winning rewards program and an established centralized reservations system.”
The ground floor Palm Lounge has 20-foot vaulted ceilings, masterful arches, and a “window-wall” while the 7th-floor features the majestic Crystal and Concert Ball Rooms, complete with 18-foot ceilings, stained-glass windows and original Tiffany chandeliers. The nationally-recognized Ten Spa on the 10th floor is among the best in the country and offers a full complement of therapeutic and rejuvenating facials and body care treatments.
Situated in the heart of Winnipeg’s downtown core this beloved architectural gem is steps away from tourism hotspots including the Canadian Museum for Human Rights and The Forks.