REOPENINGS, SALES AND RENOS Oct. 13, 2020

Old Strathcona reno uncovers history

Old Strathcona Hotel before the renovation.

EDMONTON — Edmonton’s historic Old Strathcona Hotel on Whyte Ave. has been undergoing a renovation by owners Beljan Development to convert the historic hotel in to a restaurant and retail development. 

When they broke ground during renovations, they uncovered a below-ground brick exterior and entrance in the 1892 building.

Looking through the archives, Beljan realized that the door had been an original entry into the building. “Finding that entryway was again another small piece to an artefact, and one that will be reused and repurposed into a new entrance into the lower space,” Chris Dulaba of Beljan told CBC Edmonton.

Hyatt Place Moncton-Downtown now open

Rendering showing Hyatt Place Moncton-Downtown.

MONCTON, N.B. — Hyatt Place Moncton-Downtown has officially opened in New Brunswick, expanding the Hyatt Place brand’s footprint into Atlantic Canada.

The new 120-room hotel features the Hyatt Place’s intuitive design, casual atmosphere and practical amenities, such as free Wi-Fi and 24-hour food offerings.

“We’re excited to add to the momentum by welcoming the first Hyatt Place hotel to the area,” says general manager Marc Dionne. “With our smartly designed social spaces and guestrooms with separate work and sleep areas, our multitasking guests can easily accomplish what they need to do while on the road.”

The hotel also features 3,500 sq. ft. of flexible, high-tech meeting/function space and a fitness centre featuring cardio equipment with LCD touchscreens.

New Holiday Inn Express in Brandon, Man.

Lobby of new Holiday Inn Express & Suites, Brandon, Man.

BRANDON, Man. – P.R. Hotels Ltd. announces the opening of the new-build 116-room Holiday Inn Express & Suites Brandon in Brandon, Manitoba. This property marks the eighth hotel IHG brand property for P.R. hotels, with other hotels located in Kelowna and Saskatoon. The hotel is conveniently located across the street from Keystone Center, close to Brandon University, and other businesses and restaurants.  

InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), one of the world’s leading hotel companies, is the parent company of the Holiday Inn Express brand.

 “Holiday Inn Express and Suites Brandon gives both business travellers and tourists a refreshingly smart stay that delivers more where it matters most, with all the essentials available at their fingertips. The hotel’s ideal location provides guests with fast connections to Brandon and is 2.5 hours away from Winnipeg,” said Suzanne Rowley, general manager.

The Holiday Inn Express & Suites Brandon hotel features the brand’s newest design solution which was created to meet the evolving needs of the brand’s target guest. The design features an appealing combination of fresh, energetic and engaging elements, creating a distinctive style that is evident at every touch point of the Holiday Inn Express brand experience.

Additional amenities at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Brandon hotel include an indoor swimming pool, a 24-hour fitness center, a 24-hour business centre and Keurig brewers in every room.There are three meeting spaces in the hotel, two of them can accommodate 25 people and the other 12 people. 

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Hazelton Hotel Toronto completes its reno

Lobby of the Hazelton Hotel Toronto-Yorkville.

TORONTO — After months of collaboration with design firm Yabu Pushelberg, the iconic Hazelton Hotel in the heart of Toronto announced the completion of its long-awaited renovation project at the end of September. 

The hotel has now resumed most of its full operations to offer guests a transformed experience from the hotel’s brand new Spa by Valmont. The patio food and beverage experience at ONE restaurant by chef Mark McEwan, is open and the indoor seating will reopen once Ontario eases restrictions on indoor dining.

“The Hazelton was founded in 2008 with the vision of bringing international luxury to Toronto. After a challenging few months, we are delighted to unveil the evolution of our original vision and welcome back our loyal community to Yorkville” says Hani Roustom, managing director,

The Hazelton Hotel. “We look forward to sharing this exciting new chapter with all our guests and colleagues who make this hotel so remarkable.”

To preserve the hotel’s unique identity, design firm Yabu Pushelberg recreated the lobby, 77 guest rooms, including three signature suites, sleek dining space, spa and screening room with an updated aesthetic that pays homage to its original vision. These updated design elements offer a powerful reinterpretation of the hotel’s unparalleled aesthetic in the heart of Toronto.

Despite suspended operations due to COVID-19, the Yorkville hotel’s renovation project proceeded. To ensure the health and safety of guests and employees, the hotel has developed an eight-point safety plan aligned with the Canadian public health authorities’ guidelines. 

The Hazelton Hotel is Toronto’s first boutique luxury hotel situated in the heart of Yorkville – the epicenter of fashion, food, art and lifestyle in Canada. The hotel is an iconic landmark and the only member of The Leading Hotels of The World in the city. 

The Hazelton offers 77 opulent hotel rooms and suites designed by internationally renowned design firm – Yabu Pushelberg. It is home to an intimate private Silver Screening Room and to the Spa by Valmont, one of the most exclusive spa sanctuaries in Toronto. The hotel’s ONE Restaurant is celebrity chef Mark McEwan’s signature dining experience that offers world-class cuisine and boasts one of Toronto’s finest patios.

Empty Red Deer hotels could provide affordable housing

Pool at the Black Knight Inn, which went into receivership in August.

RED DEER, Alta. — City of Red Deer officials will be approaching their community partners to see if empty hotels can be purchased with federal dollars to create more affordable housing, according to an article in the Red Deer Advocate by Lana Michelin.

Ryan Veldkamp, social planning supervisor for the city, said all avenues are being explored since the federal government announced $1 billion will be provided to create rapid housing programs across Canada.

Among the options the city and its community partners (Red Deer Housing Authority and Bridges Community Living) will consider are buying up hotels that are for sale and renovating them into suites.

Since the federal Liberals want to create 3,000 new affordable housing units across Canada within the next six months — all funds must be spent by March 31 — the fast turn-around precludes building from scratch, Veldkamp added.

While Red Deer has not experienced the tent cities found in Edmonton and Victoria, they still have large gaps in accessible housing. Veldcamp said a 2019 community housing plan found the city needed some 2,300 affordable housing units, including  1,300 “deep subsidy” units (1,170 of them for single people and the rest for families) and 1,000 units that would rent for 10 per cent below market rates.

Like many communities, the City of Red Deer plans to approach community partners to see if there’s interest in turning some unused hotel space into affordable housing, said Veldkamp.

Red Deer’s Black Knight Inn is in receivership, shutting its doors Aug. 19 after 40 years of operation. Half of the Baymont Inn is being turned by its owners into monthly rental suites that would sell at market rates.

Drake Hotel Properties’ Artist Loft now open

Drake Hotel Artist Loft.

TORONTO — Drake Hotel Properties is thrilled to announce the opening of the Artist Loft, a first of its kind apartment right next door to the brand’s flagship location, The Drake Hotel in West Queen West (1150 Queen Street West), on Oct. 1. 

The 800 sq. ft. space, which is designed as a home base for touring artists playing Drake Underground and to house The Drake’s Artist in Residency program, also gives up to 8 guests an opportunity to share the same four walls enjoyed by some of the world’s most exciting up and coming talent.

The expansive space adds a 20th room to The Drake Hotel, recently selected by Travel + Leisure as one of the top city hotels in Canada, in advance of the additional upcoming 32-room expansion project slated to open in 2021. Reservations for the Artist Loft are now available for overnight stays starting October 1, 2020.

“The Drake Hotel and Drake Underground have been a staple in the Toronto creative scene for 17 years, with artists like Billie Eilish, Leon Bridges, M.I.A. and more performing their first shows in Toronto on our stages,” said Chris Wilson, director of programming and brand partnerships, Drake Hotel Properties. 

“We wanted to give all the incredible artists that play our stages a unique space that shows our appreciation for their craft and that continues to foster the creative vibes that spark in the Drake Underground, the Sky Yard, and other spaces of The Drake Hotel, so the Artist Loft was born. You can really feel the energy as soon as you walk into the room, and we can’t wait for our guests to be able to experience it for themselves.”

The Artist Loft is now available for overnight stays and is perfect for families and groups looking to explore one of Canada’s most exciting urban communities, West Queen West. 

The area is filled with galleries, shops, restaurants and more, and is easily accessible to popular tourist draws like the Art Gallery of Ontario, Museum of Contemporary Art, Royal Ontario Museum, CN Tower, Air Canada Centre and more. The space will also be available for small-scale private events like listening parties, product previews, meet and greets, and more.