Kelowna has 120 more hotel rooms to offer visitors. And the city, airport officials and representatives of Kelowna Tourism could not be happier about where they are located.
A new, six-storey, $20 million Four Points by Sheraton Hotel, located across Highway 97 from the entrance to Kelowna International Airport, opens Thursday after a ceremonial ribbon-cutting and sneak peak for invited guests Wednesday.
“This is another building block that sends a message that Kelowna is a growing and prosperous area,” said Kelowna Mayor Walter Gray, who helped cut the ribbon to open the building on Wednesday.
He did so with Ted Callahan, president of Argus Properties, the local developer that built and owns the hotel building.
Kelowna Tourism president Nancy Cameron said being part of the the Four Points by Sheraton brand—part of the giant Starwood Hotels empire—will help advertise Kelowna to millions more people around the world.
Starwood’s international loyalty program alone has an estimated 12 million members.
Callahan said he felt it was important to team up with a recognized hotel brand for the new property and felt Sheraton was a perfect fit.The Kelonwa property is the first Four Points by Sheraton hotel in the Okanagan and the 63 in Canada.
The hotel includes a Ric’s Grill restaurant, as well as meeting space, a fitness centre, a waterslide and other other amenities.
Airport director Sam Samaddar said it is unusual for an airport the size of Kelowna’s to have an airport located so close. Usually, he said, airports are built close to major airports such as Toronto’s Pearson International, Montreal’s Trudeau International or Vancouver International but not medium-sized airports like Kelowna.
“It takes your airport to a whole new level,” said Samaddar.
Kelowna’s airport, known as YLW, currently handles 1.4 million passengers per year, making it Canada’s 10 busiest airport. It is preparing to handle 1.6 million passengers by 2016.
Samaddar said airport officials gave input for the design of the hotel, suggesting there be suites included for aircrews passing through Kelowna, as well as space where business meetings can take place. The hotel was built in just 15 months.
The new hotel is one of the larger ones in the city and Gray said it is located an area of the Central Okanagan recently deemed by a national publication to be an upcoming area for investment. He said his council would still like to see at least one, maybe two new hotels downtown and expects that to occur in the near future.
As well as being near the airport and the two golf courses at nearby Quail Ridge, it is also close to the UBCO’s campus and land in the area slated for future development. It is also just a 40-minute drive to the Big White Ski hill north of the city.