The Coast Hotel in downtown Prince Rupert will be undergoing a major remodel that hotel management hope will get underway this spring.
The hotel building will be undergoing a major overhaul expected to cost $3-million and 12 to 16 months of construction work while keeping the hotel open for business the entire time. After all the work is completed the hotel will be renamed The Prince Rupert Hotel.
The redesign of the building represents a shift in the hotel’s business plan according to Prince Rupert Hotel president Craig Briere.
“The hope and the intent is to make the property stable, so that we have longevity. The current model does not give us either. The current model is antiquated, we’ve been dependent on liquor sales, and that is the way of the past,” says Briere.
Briere says that for the past several years the hotel has depended on the beer and wine store and nightclub that the hotel owns for survival. The plan is not close either of them but to refocus on making money from providing rooms to guests.
“You have all these things that line up against you: smoking bans, HST, drinking and driving laws – which are all good things, don’t get me wrong – but at the end of the day you can’t then base your business around [the bar and liquor store]. You have to look at them as ancillary revenue sources and the primary one needs to be hotel rooms,” says Briere.”
Even though the hotel’s new emphasis is about selling hotel rooms they are actually planning to have less of them, with many being remodelled and some converted into themed suites. Some rooms are also going to have kitchenettes put in them for attracting longer-term stays by tourists and business people.
The main floor of the hotel will be radically altered with the reception moved into a new place and an expanded lounge with a fireplace for lodgers. This is bad news for regulars the Charlie’s restaurant since the diner will be closed to make way for the new ground floor plan and will be replaced with a breakfast lounge meant for guests.
“Due to unfortunate circumstances, the restaurant is not profitable. The second problem with it is that it is not an attraction for the property. Although it has a great following locally, that doesn’t translate into additional revenue for the property,” says Briere.
The interior of the hotel is getting a complete makeover, besides a new colour scheme for things like the carpet and drapes, the hotel will be incorporating lots of natural wood elements into its new design which throws together the soft lines of modern design with more rustic elements like natural wood and fireplaces.
The outside of the building will be very different too. Briere says that the designers of the new hotel went back to the original designs of the hotel that was built on the site in 1914 but burned down in the 1970’s. The new designs have taken features from the original that incorporated them.
The hotel is also hoping to make the entrance to the mall more inviting by also redoing the part of the building where the beer and wine star are. The store will remain but they are also planning to build some modern retail space for small boutiques or a coffee shop.