The completion of the new Holiday Inn Express and Suites Hotel in North Battleford has already attracted plenty of interest from visitors and local residents alike.
People are dropping by to look inside the hotel, said hotel owner Gary Brar.
“They stand in the lobby and they go ‘am I still in North Battleford?’” he said.
The hotel at 492-114th Street is now officially up and running, although at the moment it is still in a soft-opening phase.
Its official grand opening is Friday. A barbecue is planned at the location that day with live entertainment and tours of the hotel. A ribbon cutting is scheduled for 1 p.m. All members of the public are welcome to attend.
For North Battleford, it is the second new hotel to be completed in less than a year, following completion last year of the Comfort Inn and Suites further down the street.
Together the two hotels have added nearly 200 rooms to the inventory of rooms available in the Battlefords.
Brar expects this will be the last new hotel built for a while.
“I don’t see any other hotel opening up in the near future. I think this will be enough for a few years to serve the community and all their needs.”
He agrees the hotel construction has lifted spirits of people in the Battlefords. “We could tell even during the construction a lot of people were driving by, wondering what was going on,” Brar said.
“That’s why I’m sort of doing the grand opening quickly because I think the community wants to see what we have built in one year.”
Hotel managers expect the hotel will attract a lot of interest, and while they are looking to cater to everyone, they are also looking to gain business from sports teams and athletes coming to the Battlefords for events in the community.
“We’re definitely a hockey community,” said Jenni Wuttunee, sales manager. “We bring in a lot of teams from out of town with hockey.”
They also plan to cater to curling teams, and baseball and softball teams during the summer. They also hope to attract out-of-town school teams participating in basketball and volleyball.
The hotel is also interested in attracting clients coming in for weddings and for corporate overnight stays as well.
The new Holiday Inn Express has 89 rooms, including 28 suites. Among its amenities are a swimming pool and hot tub, a 24-hour fitness area, a meeting room and a breakfast area with a complementary breakfast provided every day.
All rooms will have king-sized beds for all guests and 50-inch TVs, including HD channels.
“The location can’t get better, really,” Wuttunee said. The location is not far from the amenities such as Walmart and Frontier Centre mall, with the CUPlex down the street on Carlton Trail. The much-rumoured Montana’s construction is expected to happen soon as well, close to the new hotel.
The hotel currently has 10 people on staff, but Brar said they hope to hire more as qualified candidates come forward.
Construction of the new Holiday Inn took roughly a year. While the hope had been to open in late July, there were some minor delays in getting all the supplies they needed which pushed the opening to September. That didn’t bother Brar who characterized it as normal construction delays.
“We’re pretty happy with how it turned out,” Brar said.
For Brar this was his 23rd hotel build completion, and for him completing a new hotel doesn’t get old.
“We try to build every time something new, and keep it exciting,” said Brar. “ I don’t get tired of it, I just love to build.”