By Colleen Isherwood
HALIFAX — Manga Hotels has almost completed a $17 million renovation of the 238-room Atlantica Hotel in downtown Halifax. “The hotel was an older property that needed work. It was an extensive renovation — not just lipstick here and there,” Sukhdev Toor, president and CEO of Manga Hotels told CLN.
The hotel was built in the 1970s by Atlantic provinces entrepreneur Ken Rowe, who also owned Canjet at one point. It was originally a Holiday Inn Select, but Rowe changed it to an independent about 12 years ago. Manga purchased the hotel in July 2017.
The property has 238 rooms, 12,000 square feet of meeting space, a pool, a fitness centre and a sauna. It is located close to Halifax’s largest hospital and Dalhousie University.
“The property had never been fully renovated in its 40-year history and was in need of a modernization,” said David Clark, general manager of the hotel. “Mr. Toor understands that a property needs to keep up and exceed the infrastructure requirements to stay competitive in today’s hotel environment. He has been known to take a property down to the studs and rebuild older properties to position them to compete with the new builds we see today.”
Manga had been planning a multimillion dollar renovation for a couple of years. They hired Jolanta Lukus of Royal Design to do the hotel interior, Navigator DT to redo the restaurant, and Artan Mataj of Mataj Architects to design what has become a stunning new look on the outside.
“The inside looked very nice, and we wanted the exterior to look that way too,” said Toor.
“The exterior look will ensure the hotel shows as a modern structure,” added Clark. “The original look was typical for a structure in the ’70s. We see the new design as an iconic look for the city.”
The renovations began in November 2019 and are expected to finish later this month.
The building was upgraded to reflect current fire and safety standards — sprinkler systems and smoke detectors were installed; the washrooms contained asbestos materials and were taken totally down to the studs. The new washrooms all have Kohler fixtures, and frameless doors. While some rooms still have tubs, many of the tubs were replaced with showers. The fitness room was expanded, and all the public areas and meeting space was redone.
“The lobby and restaurant have been completely reconstructed,” said Clark. “The front desk was moved to another area in the lobby to make way for our new Lobby Bar. The restaurant continues to enjoy the panoramic views of the Halifax Common with a modern look and a new restaurant concept. We have also added two private dining areas in the back of the restaurant. These will be used for private functions and working lunch or dinner meetings.”
“The bar looks inviting, and makes the lobby more friendly when guests walk in,” said Toor.
The convention space has also been completely renovated. The footprint is essentially the same except for a new boardroom located off of the pre function area. The convention space was taken back to the studs and rebuilt with modern lighting, technology and air handling units.
All of the lights are now LED; the Kohler toilets are much more efficient than their predecessors; and HVAC systems were replaced on the ground floor and in the common areas. The hotel now has modern, efficient windows, and the kitchen was changed from electricity to natural gas. Modern air handling units provide isolated controls so that they are not heating or cooling space that is not in use. They have also installed motion sensor lighting in some areas to reduce energy consumption.
“When the hotel was built in the ’70s, sprinkler systems were not required on the guest floors,” said Clark. “The hotel has been completely modernized with a new life safety system that includes sprinklers, modern detectors, annunciation system and a new generator for power outages. We have also installed a new air handling system that covers the public areas.”
“Our guests are showing some excitement as they see the public areas come together. They are really enjoying the new look of our rooms and the corridors,” said Clark.
The summer was disappointing as expected, Clark noted. “The Atlantic Bubble produced a slight bump in business but revenues were down in the city by 70 or 80 per cent and in some cases worse compared to last year. Mr. Toor continues to have confidence in the Halifax region and his hotels will be ready when things begin to get back to some sort of normal.”