Condo marketer Bob Rennie had been coming to the restaurant in Vancouver’s Four Seasons Hotel regularly for 40 years. The restaurant, he says, was great.
The problem was what happened above the restaurant.
“The Yew restaurant is wonderful, but when someone goes up to the hotel rooms it isn’t what they expected,” he said. “The second time they come back, do they stay at the Four Seasons in Vancouver? No. They may go across the street and stay at the Rosewood, the Fairmont or the Shangri-La.“
The Four Seasons ceased operations on Monday.
The hotel in the heart of Vancouver’s downtown announced in 2018 it would close, in the wake of a lawsuit launched by its landlord, Cadillac Fairview Corp., accusing it of running a “tired, dated” operation that fell below the standards of first-class luxury.
Lawyers for Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts disputed the allegations in a response to the claim, noting it was one of only two hotels in the city to be awarded a five-star rating by Forbes magazine. But the company also said it did not want to finance expensive renovations to the property so close to the end of its lease in 2020.
“It’s a sad story. The outdatedness of the rooms is what hurt their business,” Mr. Rennie said.
The Four Seasons in Vancouver was one of only three Canadian locations for the chain. It was attached to the Pacific Centre mall and had been operating for 44 years. The question now is what will replace it.
Cadillac Fairview released a statement last week announcing that a “world-leading, luxury life-style hotel brand” will take the Four Seasons place.
Tom Knoepfel, senior vice-president in charge of Cadillac Fairview’s Western Canada portfolio, said the company is in conversation with a number of different brands, but a decision isn’t expected until the end of the year.
He also wouldn’t comment on plans for changes to the current space.
“We expect to have to make extensive renovations to the space, but it’ll really depend on the brand’s expectations.”
However, Cadillac Fairview is cognizant of the shortage of hotel rooms in the city, especially during peak tourist seasons.
Andrew Petrozzi, a principal at commercial real estate firm Avison Young, said the “overall number of rooms is dropping” in the city, which does not help in meeting the strong demand.
He added that building more hotels will take a lot of time. “Vancouver is a challenging city to get stuff built.”
Mr. Petrozzi says that, from a business standpoint, it makes sense for Cadillac Fairview to keep the space as a hotel. And he expects the Four Seasons will return to the city.
“This is a key market. I don’t think they will be leaving Vancouver. I’m sure this is just temporary until they are able to secure another location.”
A spokesman for the Four Seasons did not respond to a request for comment.
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