TORONTO — Sheraton Hotels & Resorts is rolling out a new, modern look for its Canadian properties, starting with its flagships in Toronto and Montreal.
As part of the company’s global strategy that will transform nearly 50 hotels around the world by year’s end, Sheraton Gateway Hotel in Toronto International Airport, Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel, and Le Centre Sheraton Montreal Hotel have all unveiled massive, multi-million-dollar makeovers that focus on seamless technology integration, elevated food and beverage, and a modern feel that aims to put guests at ease, whether working, meeting or relaxing.
In total, Sheraton has nearly 20 hotels in Canada, with six slated to complete transformations by end of 2023.
Speaking with Travelweek, Amanda Nichols, Global Brand Leader, Sheraton Hotels & Resorts, says that the hotel transformations were a necessity, and come at the right time for the brand.
“When we look at the Sheraton brand, we felt it wasn’t living up to its potential, simply because it needed to have that new energy around it. We needed to be clearer about what this brand stood for, and we needed to be more decisive in our design strategy and renovations moving forward,” she says.
Noting how the past 24 months have been “very challenging,” Nichols adds that when coupled with Canada’s newly eased travel restrictions, the refreshed hotels will hopefully result in increased bookings.
“We do hope to drive more business to our hotels and to bring the brand back to a place where people know and recognize,” says Nichols. “Sheraton is among the top three hotel brands that people recognize. This is part of our ability to create this consistent narrative that guests can come to expect from a brand like Sheraton. So yes, we do hope that it drives business and I know it will.”
Though Nichols is quick to note that the hotels’ previous look was still lovely, with dark wood and brass accents and oversized furniture, the new vision for Canada required a “very big shift” to a more streamlined, modern look that encourages interaction and functionality.
“Everything from the furniture selection, materiality, the colour, lighting and music work together and create this new energy that you want to be part of,” she says. “What we set out to do is create a ‘world’s gathering place.’ That’s what we’re striving for and design plays a big part in that.”
SHERATON GATEWAY HOTEL IN TORONTO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
Following nearly two years of renovation work, the 484-room hotel, considered one of Canada’s busiest, has completed a $30 million makeover. As part of an emerging generation of airport hotels that are intended to function as destinations, where guests might reasonably stay longer than a single night, the hotel features a contemporary aesthetic and a refreshed lobby with such brand signatures as the Community Table, The Studios, sound-proof Booths and &More by Sheraton, the brand’s signature bar, coffee and market concept. Additional amenities include a sophisticated Sheraton Club lounge, a swimming pool and whirlpool, 24-hour fitness room and Peloton studio, updated meeting spaces and completely remodelled guestrooms and suites.
SHERATON CENTRE TORONTO HOTEL
In its 50th anniversary year, Toronto’s iconic Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel has been completely reimagined with top-to-bottom enhancements that will roll out throughout 2022, marking the property’s most extensive renovation in its history. Phase One included a revamped Sheraton Club, an exclusive, 15,000 square-foot gathering space for Marriott Bonvoy Elite members and guests who upgrade their stay, now featuring updated food and beverage offerings, premium offerings, enhanced connectivity and 24/7 access.
Phase Two introduces two new food and beverage outlets including the recently opened Dual Citizen, a coffeehouse-style grab-and-go during the day and a lobby bar at night. Opening this spring will be 43 Down, a departure from the traditional hotel restaurant that will focus on mixology as an art form.
The final phases are expected to roll out this spring with the unveiling of public spaces and amenities, including the brand’s signature Community Tables, tech-enabled Studios and soundproofed Booths and purpose-built workspaces in the lobby. Additionally, the indoor/outdoor heated pool experience is scheduled to reopen in summer 2022.
LE CENTRE SHERATON MONTREAL HOTEL
Located in the heart of downtown Montreal, the newly renovated Le Centre Sheraton Montreal Hotel has unveiled 825 newly renovated guestrooms and suites featuring new tools for productivity, such as a height-adjustable work table, integrated power and charging and layered lighting.
The Sheraton Club, located on the 37th floor, is expected to reopen in May 2022 with a bold new look, complimentary breakfast, evening appetizers and a selection of refreshments.
GROUPS & RECOVERY
According to Nichols, Groups has been recovering faster than the business travel segment, which she says is “on the horizon,” particularly in light of Canada’s eased travel measures. The federal government downgraded the travel advisory from Level 3 to Level 2 on Feb. 28, 2022, and eliminated pre-arrival COVID-19 testing on April 1.
“There was definitely a bit of a boost and I think that will continue,” she says. “Especially understanding how important urban leisure is to Canada in markets like Montreal, Vancouver and Toronto, I think that is what has seen more of a resurgence as of late.”
As for the all-important business travel segment, Nichols says its recovery is “on the horizon,” and is lagging slightly behind Groups, which has been seeing an uptick in recent months.
“Broadly speaking for Marriot in North America and I think the same for Canada, when we look at group business, we’re starting to see it getting back on par with what we saw in 2019,” says Nichols. “It’s the business and corporate travel that we’re looking for and there are green shoots, especially in cities like Toronto and Montreal, and that’s what’s really exciting.”
THE ROLE OF TRAVEL AGENTS
When asked how travel agents fit into Sheraton’s new vision for Canada, Nichols says they play a “huge” part in bringing in trusted guests who they have relationships with. As such, Sheraton is focusing on agent outreach through fam trips and industry trade shows hosted by Toronto’s four Sheraton hotels.
“All of our hotels are working together to try to elevate the new vision for Sheraton, and travel agents play a huge role in that,” says Nichols. “It’s definitely much more at the local hotel level because of those trusted relationships that they have.”
For more information on the new Sheraton experience go to www.sheraton.marriott.com/experience/new-sheraton/.