STRATFORD, Ont. – The Parlour Inn, owned by Ontario’s Vintage Hotels, has joined the Ascend Hotel Collection by Choice Hotels Canada. Vintage Hotels, founded in 1997, owns iconic historic boutique hotels like The Prince of Wales, The Pillar and Post and the Millcroft Inn, to name a few. The fast-growing Ascend Hotel Collection is a network of upscale resorts, historic properties and boutique hotels that offer guests a uniquely local experience.
“Our decision to have The Parlour Inn join the Ascend Hotel Collection was based on two main factors,” said Bob Jackson, CEO of Vintage Hotels. “Choice Hotels Canada has a strong reservation system and an award-winning loyalty program, and we really appreciate the flexibility this soft brand offers, which allows us to retain our hotel identity that our guests recognize and love.
“Stratford is a unique destination,” Jackson told CLN. “It’s more seasonal than some of our properties. We bought the property as a franchise, which we removed. The property is quite successful.”
Jackson said they chose The Ascend Collection because it allowed them to keep their identity, standards, products, etc., while providing the energy that comes from Choice’s reservation platform and Choice Rewards. “We do deal with a lot of corporations and independent travellers up there. There are not a lot of brands in town, and it allows us to keep our independence while getting the strength of the system behind us.”
Stratford is world-renowned for the popular Stratford Festival, a theatre festival founded in 1952 that runs from April to October each year. The city’s rich history also makes it popular for sight-seeing whether it’s the Avon river and surrounding parks, historic homes or the Stratford-Perth museum.
Expansion of the property is in the plans, as Vintage owns the property next door. The expansion will include guestrooms and meeting rooms. “It’s a viable property and it can grow,” Jackson said. The Stratford Festival provides a lot of business in the season, and Vintage’s plans include attracting more corporate and independent travellers during the off-season.
It’s early days for the transition to The Ascend Collection, which took place just last week, but the Choice team is “fantastic to work with,” Jackson said. The transition includes a new PMS system and some staff training, integrating the Choice systems with Vintage’s systems.
“I’m quite optimistic,” said Jackson.
Located in downtown Stratford, the historic building has been a local landmark since 1871. It retains much of its charm to this day, including intricate woodwork, tin ceilings and stained glass windows. Onsite dining is available at the Parlour Steakhouse, which also provides catering and room service. There are four meeting and business rooms, well suited for corporate events and weddings. The Winston Churchill room is the largest and can accomodate groups of up to 120. Shuttle service around downtown Stratford is also available to guests.
“Vintage Hotels has an exceptional reputation and is well known for their quality offering,” said Rob Alldred, director of Membership Development, Ascend Hotel Collection at Choice Hotels Canada. “We are thrilled to welcome its Stratford property into our collection and are confident it will thrive as a member hotel.
“The Parlour speaks a lot to who Ascend is. It’s a collection of upscale, independent hotels for travellers who want a distinct experience in the areas they travel to. The Parlour supports that with its historic standing as a great, legendary property run by a great company in Stratford, which celebrates the theatre.”
The historic boutique hotel currently houses 28 well appointed and maintained guest rooms, with plans for further expansion. Each room is equipped with premium amenities, including Nespresso coffee makers, bottled water, premium bed linens, flat screen TVs and refrigerators.
Choice’s Ascend Hotel Collection currently consists of 18 Canadian properties open and three coming in the next year or so. “The growth of Ascend is fantastic, with over 315 open and operating around the world with 100 in the pipeline. I’m looking for more leads, so send them my way,” Alldred said.
Canadian Ascend properties in the pipeline include Calabogie Peaks Resort, Calabogie, Ont., and The Penticton Hotel, Penticton, B.C., slated for this year. A new build Ascend Hotel Collection property, Halifax Tower Hotel, Bayer’s Lake, Halifax, N.S., is expected to open next year.