A flexible new look for Novotel Hotels in Canada
TORONTO—Flexibility is the key to Novotel’s new look, showcased at the Novotel North York in Toronto.
Working from bed
The bed head with its innovative lighting package is striking. “The bed is a desk these days—people like to work there with a laptop or iPad,” said GM Michael Singer, on a recent tour of the renovated hotel. “There’s a great reading light for those who enjoy working right from the bed.” Electrical outlets in the headboard, phone outlets close to the bed and iPod docking beside the bed accommodate this trend as well.
The flat screen TV is laptop compatible, and the hotel has upgraded from high speed Internet to fibre optic Internet, greatly increasing the speed of uploading and downloading. And this service is provided free of charge to guests. The lamp is an Italian-designed piece.
There’s a mini bar with free water. “This old concept still works in some downtown locations, but most people use it as a fridge,” said Eric Buitenhuis, vice president Novotel Canada at Accor North America. The refrigerator is absolutely silent, since there is no compressor, and the unit is CFC-free.
The whole room is designed in colours that give a sense of space.
A glass door for the bathroom allows sunlight to enter directly into the bathroom, which gives a sensation of being connected to the outside world. The mirror in the bathroom mimics the look of the bed.
King rooms are equipped with showers, while family rooms have traditional tubs with showers. They’re big showers with waterfall or rainforest showerheads. The built-in sinks have a square design.
Amenities in the new rooms have an eco-certification label, which means they have met stringent international standards. All the plastic used in these products is recycled.
“The rooms have a European touch, because we are a European chain. The European flavour comes through in the design, our human resources and our values,” said Buitenhuis.
“It puts us out of the cookie-cutter mode,” added Janak Bhawnani, GM of Novotel Toronto Centre and former GM of Novotel North York.
“We worked with a designer from Europe —Isabelle Maffre, who works for Accor. Accor has a whole design department based in Paris. The initial model room had direct input from Paris and then the local designer worked with us,” said Buitenhuis.
While the rooms are a standard design, and renovations will be consistent throughout the network, lobbies will have a defined sensation but localized touches.
The sensation is definitely modern, with pod-like front desk, iMac stations, and X-Box stations specially designed for Novotel.
Expansion plans on horizon
Left to right: Michael Singer, GM Novotel North York, Janak Bhawnani, GM Novotel Toronto Centre and Eric Buitenhuis, vice president Novotel Canada at Accor North America
Right now, there are seven Novotels in Canada—five in Ontario and two in Montreal.
“We plan to expand both east and west—Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Halifax and many places in between, Buitenhuis told CLN. “We would like to have 20 to 30 hotels in Canada.”
Award winning Canadian hotels
In related news, Canadian Novotel hotels did well at the chain’s top awards ceremony earlier this year.
Novotel Montréal Aéroport claimed the title of Hotel of the Year, while the award for General Manager of the Year went to Thomas Deegan of the Novotel Montréal Centre.
The Novotel Toronto Vaughan took the award for Excellence in Guest Services, while the Novotel Montréal Centre was named Employeur de Choix.
Novotel Ottawa was recognized for Sales team of the Year, and the hotel’s Kimberly Wilson won Director of Sales of the Year.
Novotel team members voted Novotel as a Best Employer in Canada in Aeon Hewitt’s Best Employers studies for the third consecutive year.