Tuesday, November 08, 2005

The Fort Garry

Hotel Fort Garry

The hotel was in financial stress five years ago. Its once gleaming marble floor in the lobby was well worn. Carpets were frayed and paint was peeling. The overall appearance? Shabby - hardly chic.

Today the hotel's lobby has been redone, the brass railings as well as doors gleam, and the marble floor is checkered black and white polished to a perfect shine. In addition, a 'bed and breakfast' has been added to the hotel.

The hotel's 240 guest rooms are going to be redone. The renovated rooms will feature hardwood floors, accent lighting, marble bathrooms, junior suites with large bathtubs, and showers with multiple jets. Presently, all of the rooms have top quality mattresses, plush towels, Aveda amenities, Starbucks in-room coffee and two line phones with data jacks.

Renovations have cost $8 million so far and another $5 to $6 million is yet to be spent. In 1996, this heritage building was awarded $150,000 by the City of Winnipeg to restore the outside limestone. The entire front of the hotel has been restored with a sense of near Hollywood grandeur to the entrance including a valet station.

Future plans include a very modern dining room to seat 150 to 200 guests and the restoration of the banquet rooms where the Crystal Casino use to be.

The hotel's good fortune has come at a time when the market has been on an upswing in Winnipeg. Manitoba's economy has enjoyed steady growth over the past five, improving hotel occupancy rates.

Future stays will be even more memorable as the full restoration returns the hotel's chateauesque ambiance to its former splendor and place in Canadian Railway history.

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