Downtown’s grande dame gets a facelift
After closing for more than six months of renovations, a downtown landmark is celebrating a new look.
The Plaza Hotel shut its doors in mid-October 2011 for what general manager Shatha Al-Reihani describes as a complete overhaul.
“It’s a brand new hotel, from the entrance to the lobby to the restaurant to the guest rooms,” she said.
Al-Reihani said the multi-million-dollar project was a much-needed update for the hotel, which got its last refresh more than a decade ago.
“It was time for it,” she said. “The last renovations were done in the year 2000, so it was nearly 11 years and, for a hotel, that as way too long.”
Because the 1920s hotel is recognized as a heritage site by the Kamloops Heritage Society, designers tried to stay close to the Plaza’s roots — using deep-hued browns in the colour scheme and darker stone finishes on tabletops and counters.
“Because of the heritage status, we kept the design more traditional, as opposed to the funky and trendy stuff,” said Al-Reihani. “So, you won’t find any funky chairs or funky lights or something. It’s very traditional.”
However, the hotel has tweaked its services in more modern ways.
It’s now pet-friendly and its business centre and conference facilities have been updated.
As part of the change, the hotel’s old Rocksalt Lounge has become the Fireside Steakhouse and Bar, which Al-Reihani hopes will become “the premier steakhouse” in the city.
“We’re serving beef that is milk-fed and wine-finished — no hormones, no antibiotics,” she said. “It is the best meat that you can ever get in Kamloops.”
The hotel had its soft reopening on May 5, while the steakhouse swung into gear in mid-June.
“If you go to Trip Advisor, you will see everyone’s been raving about the new look and the renovations,” she said. “Especially local people because they’ve seen the before and the after.”
The Plaza’s rooftop — once home to a tea garden that hosted the Queen of England during a Kamloops visit — wasn’t part of the project, though Al-Reihani said the hotel does get plenty of questions about it from locals and guests.