Vancouver Island’s newest hotel set to open soon in downtown Nanaimo

Vancouver Island's newest hotel set to open soon in downtown Nanaimo

Vancouver Island’s newest hotel is about to open in downtown Nanaimo.

The City of Nanaimo says the opening of the Courtyard at Marriott marks a significant milestone because of its impact on another facility, the Vancouver Island Conference Centre.

And with the hotel opening just weeks away, there’s a push to complete final finishings.

“You can feel it with everybody. Everybody’s excited. It’s crunch time,” said Karla Silva, director of sales and marketing at Courtyard by Marriott Nanaimo.

The 172-room, nine-storey hotel, initially budgeted at $23 million, has been under construction for three years and finally got its occupancy permit Tuesday.

“This is a fantastic moment for the city,” said Bill Corsan, Nanaimo’s corporate and business development director.

“We’ve been working on this project for over 15 years and to finally see the hotel come to fruition is a huge moment.”

The hotel has long been considered a vital piece to the long-term success of the nearby conference centre, which has been operating since 2008.

“To have them opening is going to make a big difference because one of the challenges is we don’t have enough room nights in downtown Nanaimo to do larger conferences,” said Corsan.

“So suddenly, by introducing all these extra rooms in the downtown, we’re going to have more capacity for larger events which is really what the conference centre was intended for.”

None may be more excited than the Snuneymuwx First Nation. Not only have they been involved in the hotel’s art and design, but they are also investors.

“It’s right in the heart of one of our major village sites and we’re very proud that we’re able to share that with the rest of the world,” said Chief Mike Wyse.

“Xwsa’luxw’ul was a major village site for the Snuneymuwx at one time in our history, and to come and bring this to the people and to be a major partner is very exciting for Snuneymuxw.”

Even the hotel’s construction has been unique, with prefabricated Nexxi panels that have a lower carbon footprint than concrete making up the outer walls.

“It was put together like a puzzle, so it was big building blocks that came on trucks and they all fit together strategically and so we’re very environmentally friendly,” said Silva.

Silva says the hotel is almost fully booked for some nights in August already.

Marriott trainers will start coaching the hotel’s 55 staff Monday with a goal of opening on March 15.

Kendall HansonKendall Hanson

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