New Holiday Inn Express opens in Kelowna

Accommodation upgrades reflect tourism growth in Okanagan

The makeover of one hotel and construction of another reflects a continuing evolution of tourism accommodation in Kelowna.

Jeff Krivoshen, chief operating officer of P.R. Hotels group of companies, said their investment to revitalize the 156-room Fairfield Inn & Suites Marriott Kelowna, originally built in 2007, and build the neighbouring new Holiday Inn Express & Suites Kelowna speaks to the tourism growth potential in both Kelowna and the region, along with the escalating passenger traffic generated from Kelowna International Airport.

“The airport continues to break records (for passenger traffic) and there are some wonderful things going on to help promote tourism across the region,” Krivoshen said.

Related: Tourism Kelowna predicting strong growth

“There is a real partnership that has formed between the airport and tourism industry here as everyone wants to foster this area as a place where people want to come, whether it be for conventions or conferences to leisure vacation travel.

“Kelowna is strategically located between Calgary and Vancouver as a stopping off point and we see people from all over the world taking advantage of that just through the traffic at our hotels. Because we live here, we tend to forget sometimes what a draw things like the Rocky Mountains are for people traveling here from other countries.”

The Holiday Inn Express officially opened on Tuesday, a 120-room hotel with a range of feature amenities including a “Formula Blue” room decore scheme, “Smart Start” breakfast bar, fitness room business centre and indoor swimming pool.

It is one of nine hotels operating under the P.R. Hotels corporate umbrella, the company headquartered out of Kelowna.

The Holiday Inn Express is the anchor tenant for a commercial plaza development that includes outlets for Booster Juice, Rogers Wireless, Red Wing Shoes and Basil Leaf Noodle House.

Krivoshen said the construction cycle this past year working between the two hotel properties has been hectic, but he said they were anxious to establish a footprint in the Central Kelowna commercial core, knowing that another hotel is in the development stages on the east side of the Highway 97-Highway 33 intersection.

“It’s been a handful to be sure as busy as we were. The Fairfield kept operating while it was undergoing renovations from top to bottom,” he said.

A Holiday Inn Express branded hotel was previously located on Highway 97 near Banks Road. When the contract between the owner-operators of the hotel and Holiday Inn’s parent company ended, Krivoshen said they stepped up to acquire the brand for their new hotel.

“We were excited to get the new location and get the branding license,” he said.

“It’s an attractive location near a major commercial area, halfway between airport and downtown, the Rutland sportsfields and great access off the highway.”

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