Jennifer Pierce
Jennifer Pierce, Member Services Specialist
 

I recently had the opportunity to tour the new hotel complex now open where the Citadel Hotel once stood. SilverBirch Hotels and Resorts owns and operates the two-hotel complex, which contains both Homewood Suites and a Hampton Inn by Hilton branded properties, as well as a SilverBirch Conference Centre.

Our tour began in the lobby of the Hampton Inn. While there is an entrance off Brunswick Street, the main entrance is tucked around the corner off the street level, to allow for more convenient entrance to both properties.

We had the opportunity to view several of the guest rooms. It’s not often I get to see the inside of a guest room at a local hotel – while the Chamber hosts plenty of events in member hotels, we usually only get to see the conference facilities rather than the actual rooms themselves.

Here, the corner rooms, available for a small extra fee, have gorgeous views of either the harbour or Citadel Hill. We were also told that all the art in the hotel is by local photographers. The artists were found through Flickr – social media at work! – and contracted to furnish the entire hotel. The photographs are printed on various materials including canvas, which makes them into gorgeous art.

The business centre facilities, near the front desk, are also jazzed up with some local art. We also toured the breakfast facilities – hot breakfast is provided daily to hotel guests. The lounge where breakfast is served converts into a regular guest lounge during the day, complete with pop-up plugs along the bar for laptop plug-in!

Next we made our way downstairs to the shared hotel amenities. These include a laundry facility, where guests can use the coin-operated washer and dryer, and a spacious gym with brand-new equipment. There is also a pool, complete with cascading water wall and little fountains that spout into the pool.

From there we crossed over into the Homewood Suites property. This brand is new to Atlantic Canada but is well known in other areas. All the rooms in this hotel are suites, ranging from bachelor to two-bedroom, and they are targeted at guests staying five days or longer. Currently the hotel even has several guests staying for three months!

These suites come with the same great view as the Hampton Inn, and include sitting areas and a kitchenette. A grocery shopping service is even offered, complete with a list magneted onto the fridge for guests to fill out their preferences.

After meeting with General Manager Trevor Morgan in the Homewood Suites dining room, we moved on to tour the SilverBirch Conference Centre facilities. These facilities are comprised of a range of meeting and common rooms, with the latest in technology. One room even contains video-conferencing equipment, which was demonstrated by having tour guests on screen as we walked into the room. The largest room can also be set up to accommodate approximately 100 people at banquet-style rounds.

The Conference Centre also boasts an outdoor terrace connected to an indoor common room. Unfortunately the day of the tour it was pouring rain, so we just peeked out the windows and imagined a beautiful sunny day with the barbecues grilling and the planter baskets basking in the sun instead of blowing in the wind.

Much has been made of the number of rooms added to the market by this new development. In reality, though, the new hotels, at a combined 316 rooms, only offer about 50 more rooms than the old Citadel Hotel, which was demolished on the same site in 2012.

The Chamber looks forward to adding SilverBirch Hotels to the group of local hotels we regularly work with, and welcome them to Halifax!

Jennifer Pierce is the Member Services Specialist at the Halifax Chamber of Commerce. If you would like to request a member visit please contact Jennifer. She can be reached at (902) 481-1227 or jenn@halifaxchamber.com