A New Era A New Coast
An Old Meeting Place Gets a Brand New Look – Not to Mention a New Name
If you haven’t been by the former Kamloops Towne Lodge recently, you may be surprised to see some impressive new changes to the hotel on Rogers Way. Most immediately noticeable is the name change to “Coast Kamloops Hotel & Conference Centre” and the color, which is no longer brick red but an elegant, two-tone taupe with rich brown trim.
But there’s more to come! Just wait until you step inside. Upon entering the hotel lobby it’s hard to imagine what it once looked like. The floors have been completely retiled and the ceiling seems higher, although hotel owner Ron Mundi insists it is an illusion created by the three walls of 16 ft. x 12 ft. back-lit lattice screens. The heavy enclosed, front desk has been replaced with a freestanding, marble top counter which also adds to the openness of the space. Topping off the luxury of the lobby will be a $3,500 chandelier, due to be installed in February. A new addition is a gift shop that will provide newspapers, snacks and Kamloops souvenirs.
Successful hotelier, Ron Mundi, who purchased the property in May of 2011, has big plans to inject new life and possibilities into the hotel and conference centre by investing between $7 to $8 million in a three-phase makeover. With the addition of the Coast Hotels and Resorts flag Mundi is confident of the hotel’s future success in Kamloops.
Coast Hotels has a 30-year history in Kamloops, beginning in 1982 when the Canadian Inn on St. Paul Street became the Coast Canadian Inn. Sherry Baumgardner, Director of Marketing for Coast Hotels & Resorts confirmed the reason for the move to the new location; “Coast Hotels & Resorts base our decision on needs for success and what our customers want. Our product offering needs to match with the partner hotel. When the franchise agreement came up for renewal with Canadian Inn we sat down with the hotel owners, whom we have an excellent relationship with and everyone agreed it was not in anyone’s best interest to renew.”
When Coast Hotels started to look for another location that would best suit their market they were looking for something with more property and amenities which drew them to Mundi. In turn, Mundi has worked with Coast Hotels in the past as he invested $5.5 million in the Coast Lethbridge Hotel & Conference Centre in Alberta. “We are looking forward to another long standing relationship with the new owner and new hotel in Kamloops,” states Baumgardner.
Ron Mundi, who came to Kamloops in 1999, has a very definite vision for the hotel which includes ensuring everything is top of the line. “Once the renovations are complete we will be a 4 star hotel,” Mundi enthusiastically states. He has not cut corners in any aspect of the renovations. This is evident from the quality of the sheets on the beds, the $950 drapes on the windows and the locally-crafted, custom cabinetry in each room. In fact Mundi has insisted that wherever possible, local contractors and suppliers are used. Of the 40 companies involved most are from Kamloops and those that aren’t are at least from within the province.
Although encouraged to buy from China to cut costs, Mundi refused. He has a wonderful, community-minded philosophy which undoubtedly has contributed to his success as a hotelier; that buying from local suppliers and using local contractors ensures the best quality, saves money in the long run and contributes to strengthening the local economy.
The first phase of renovations which began in October 2011 focused on the exterior as new turf and stonework were laid and 40 new trees planted around the perimeter of the hotel. In addition to a fresh paint job and outdoor colored lighting the front entry has been expanded to three lanes and a grand 18 ft. high Porte Cochere entrance installed. “If all goes well with the City permits, the plan is to install a lighted waterfall between the two pillars of the entrance,” Mundi says with obvious excitement.
In the newly renovated south tower which is scheduled to open January 15, you will find housekeeping staff rushing around, opening boxes, making beds, setting out brightly colored throw pillows and putting on final touches. “They are excited,” Mundi says with a big smile. The 105 rooms have been completely made-over with smart and stylish design, updated décor and neutral earth tones at an average cost of $18,000 per unit.
Phase two will get underway early this year and will include extensive enhancements to the pool, courtyard and convention centre. Details of the convention centre renovations are currently being negotiated with the convention centre and Ora Restaurant owner. The final phase which will involve upgrading the remaining 98 guest rooms in the north tower, is scheduled for completion for the fall/winter of 2012/2013.
The hotel on the hill has been a fixture in Kamloops since it was first constructed 22 years ago in 1989 as a 62-room Best Western. It saw the addition of 60-rooms, the courtyard and the restaurant in 1992. The 30,000 square foot convention centre which can accommodate up to 800 people and includes a 475 seat theatre, was added in 2001. Since then the hotel has been a hub for meetings and conventions. Now with the impressive makeover the hotel is receiving, Mundi’s and Coast’s vision for the hotel is to build on that success and attract an even greater piece of the meetings and conventions market to the city, which in turn is a benefit for surrounding hotels and the community overall.