How one Vancouver hotel’s “long-term perspective” led to a daring move

Historic St. Regis is reopening September 1 after shuttering operations during the COVID-19 pandemic

Credit: St. Regis Hotel on Twitter

Historic St. Regis is reopening September 1 after shuttering during the COVID-19 pandemic

While most in the hospitality business were cutting employees and costs during the COVID-19 pandemic, one of Vancouver’s oldest hotels was spending cash on improvements.

The St. Regis Hotel, which has stood at Dunsmuir and Howe streets in Vancouver since 1913, has long prided itself on perseverance.

Indeed, the establishment’s press release notes that investing nearly $2 million during the most severe tourism downturn in recent memory “requires a faith in the long-term outlook for the city, but with a history which includes two World Wars, Spanish Influenza and other crises since first opening in 1913, the St. Regis Hotel operates with a long-term perspective top of mind.”

But when hotels across the land were shuttering in mid-March, St. Regis general manager Jeremy Roncoroni had a tough call to make. The hotel was scheduled to see an air-conditioning upgrade this winter, along with renovations to the St. Regis Room—a breakfast and events space—in 2021.

So Roncoroni and his team decided to shut things down indefinitely to make those changes, adding a reno of the Bar & Grill area.

The hotel, which has 65 rooms, plans to open with three floors (39 rooms) fully operational on September 1. “[The other rooms] can be brought back into service quickly if demand and occupancy warrant,” Roncoroni said. “During peak season, the hotel will host up to 120 guests per night.”

Owned by Rob Macdonald of Vancouver-based Macdonald Development Corp., the hotel will reopen with roughly 20 staff (not including the Bar & Grill), according to Roncoroni.