New Year’s Eve was a couple weeks away and the clock had only struck 4 p.m. — but the champagne was still flowing freely at one Red Deer hotel on Thursday afternoon.
Staff and guests at the Capri Hotel and Convention Centre were celebrating the transformation of the 3310 Gaetz Ave. property into the Sheraton Red Deer Hotel.
Although the changeover had been planned for years, with signage on the landmark hotel substituted several weeks ago, the official switch did not occur until yesterday.
“As of 4 o’clock this afternoon, we were taking our first reservations,” said general manager Gil Vallee. “We blew open a few cases of bubbly here in the lobby and we had some cake and hors d’oeuvres.”
A changeover team from Starwood Hotels & Resorts — Sheraton’s parent company — arrived at the hotel a few days ago to ensure the property was up to Sheraton standards, said Vallee. The final documents were signed shortly before 4, he added.
As part of the rebranding, the former Capri underwent extensive renovations. These included upgrading the existing 217 rooms and adding 24 more, and redoing the lobby, fitness room and business centre.
“We’ve remodelled 195 of the guest rooms,” said Vallee, adding that the remainder will be completed by the end of January.
Cost of the work will be more than $10 million, he said.
A major benefit of the rebranding is that the hotel is able to utilize the Starwood booking system.
“We definitely are anticipating that it’s going to draw a lot of traffic into our property,” said Vallee.
Temple Real Estate Investment Trust bought the hotel from the Pasutto family in 2008. It’s managed by Atlific Hotels.