New hotel busy from the get-go

Less than a year after the official groundbreaking, the Suburban Extended Stay Hotel on Moak Crescent is open for business and the owners couldn't be happier.

"We've been open since Sunday [May 22] and it's been very busy," said Angelo Paletta of Accommodations North, a management company that includes partner from around Manitoba. "People are very happy with the hotel. We're getting a very good response from our guests."

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Thompson's newest hotel is the first Suburban Hotel to open in Canada, though another is scheduled to be open soon in Estevan, Sask. and plans for more are in the works.

"The chain is going to open up franchises across Canada," says Paletta.

The hotel has 70 rooms and is equipped with amenities including a full fitness centre, a self-serve laundromat and free wireless Internet access. In contrast to traditional hotels, it has kitchen facilities in each of its rooms, including a refrigerator, a microwave and a two-burner stove.

"The rooms are very comfortable," said Paletta and designed to accommodate guests who are staying a short time as well as those who plan to stick around longer, with daily, weekly and monthly rates available. "They can feel at home when they're on the road."

Construction of the hotel finished a little behind schedule, as Accommodations North originally hoped it would open by March.

"We were about two months behind," says Paletta, noting that this is not a long delay under the current conditions of Manitoba's construction industry.

Further work is planned for the site.

"We're going to finish up the parking lot in the next couple of weeks," said Paletta. "We have plans to build a restaurant on our piece of land next door."

Construction on that project is anticipated to start sometime this summer.

Being near the City Centre Mall is a bonus convenience for Suburban Extended Stay Hotel guests.

"We like the location being right back-to-back with the mall," Paletta says. "We like the street."

Since the opening, the hotel has been at about 50 per cent capacity according to general manager Jiten Jattan, without the opening being advertised.

"We've had reservations right from the beginning," says Paletta, with much of the business being generated by word of mouth. Usually, things start off a little slower.

"There's usually a bit of a ramp-up period," said Paletta.

But finishing the building is just the start for a hotel. After that, it's the people that make it go.

"The staff is just fantastic," said Paletta. "When people see the hotel and how nice it is they really like working there. It's important that they feel proud of the hotel and enjoy hosting guests at your property. They're our ambassadors. You have to build the business and build the relationships, that's the most important."

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