The launch of Prestige in Prince Rupert

Rupert residents and visitors got their first look at the brand new Prestige Prince Rupert re-branded and revamped hotel.

The vice-president of operations for West Coast Hospitality

Rupert residents and visitors got their first look at the brand new Prestige Prince Rupert re-branded and revamped hotel last Thursday afternoon.

What’s become the third Prestige location in northern B.C. after Smithers’ Prestige Hudson’s Bay Lodge and Prince George’s Prestige Treasure Cove. The hotel has a new look, new feel and new experience planned for guests and visitors.

“All the upgrades that we put into the property are about improving guest experience ­— something that you’d see across other parts of the province and bringing it to the north,” said Rebecca Monsen, vice-president of operations for West Coast Hospitality — the ownership group for Prestige and the former Prince Rupert Hotel.

“We owned this property previously, so we were searching for a brand that had similar community values and guest customer service and we found Prestige is a local B.C. micro-brand and it was a great fit,” she said.

An all new main lobby floor was showcased last Thursday, including new carpeting, all new beds, TVs, a refresh of the guest rooms and suite rooms, and the company is currently working on the bathrooms. The building also features a fitness area. The exterior of the building has gone to tender and a new roof has been implemented.

A press release distributed last week by the company billed the Prestige Hotels & Resorts brand as “a young and progressive, family-owned and operated chain of hotels and resorts with a dedication to the true spirit of hospitality.”

Overall, $1.2 million was reinvested back into the property during the rebranding and upgrades.

On hand for the launch were three general managers representing the Prince Rupert location, the Smithers location and the Prince George Prestige. No new staff were added to the existing 40 employed by the company during the renovations, other than seasonal influxes of ups and downs.

Additionally, the company has leased the old Johnny B’s pub space to a lease partner who has agreed to bring in a Mr. Mike’s Steakhouse Casual to the adjoining restaurant space.

“We’ve been looking at that for over a year since we closed Johnny B’s in March and we knew that we needed a food service for our guests, so we’ve been trying to lease that space for awhile,” said Monsen.

“It’s super exciting. [Mr. Mike’s] is a branded restaurant, so there’s some familiarity with the menu. Visitors coming to this community don’t always know other restaurants or what they’re about, so there’s an identity with a Mr. Mike’s, and also the fact that it’s a casual steakhouse, I think that will fit really well in the community.”

Throughout B.C., Prestige Hotels & Resorts has 13 properties found in the Thompson Okanagan, Kootenay Rockies, Greater Victoria and northern B.C. The brand was established in 1963.