Corner Brook hotel reopening after spring fire

Gary Kean
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Faustina Easton, a housekeeper at the Greenwood Inn and Suites in Corner Brook, prepares one of the guest rooms that will reopen Monday, nearly six months after a kitchen fire shut down the hotel. — Photo by Gary Kean/The Western Star

Nearly six months after a fire shut the place down, the Greenwood Inn and Suites in Corner Brook will begin welcoming guests back Monday.

The fire, discovered in the kitchen early on the morning of May 3, resulted in smoke damage throughout the hotel in the downtown area of the west coast city.

The restoration effort has been long and drawn out and is still not finished, but general manager Peter Antle said all of the guest rooms are finally ready for occupancy.

“We brought back 75 per cent of our housekeepers this week and they have been busy doing all the finishing touches like making the beds and doing some final dust-overs,” Antle said Wednesday.

The hotel began accepting bookings about two weeks ago, but initially had only been accepting dates in December. Since realizing the rooms and the main lobby would be ready for Monday, the Greenwood began taking bookings for November.

“We had lost some of the business we had for the (Municipalities Newfoundland and Labrador) conference coming up next week, but some of them have come back to us since they heard we will be back open,” said Antle. “There are a couple of days next week where we will be half-full, which is good for this time of the year.”

While the rooms will be ready, there is still work ongoing in the hotel’s ballroom, kitchen and the Crown and Moose pub. Because guests will not have access to the kitchen service until mid- to late November, Antle said they will be treated to a complimentary continental breakfast service that will be set up in the Viking Room on the ground-level floor every morning.

The main area of activity now is in the kitchen, where new range hoods — the most significant component of the rebuild — have been installed and duct work is being set up.

In the ballroom, Antle is waiting on the delivery of vinyl material for the walls and the finishing touches on the room’s new look, which will feature oak wood in the decor. The pillars that were a highlight of the room have been redesigned and will have better lighting.

Downstairs in the Crown and Moose, some modifications will allow more natural light into the room.

A portion of the ceiling near the wall facing West Street has been raised to expose more of the tall windows, the upper portions of which had previously been obscured by the lower ceiling. In addition, three new windows have been cut out along the wall facing Chestnut Street.

“The delays won’t impact the Christmas party season,” said Antle. “We will have everything done well in advance of preparing for those groups.”

The ongoing exterior facelift of the building was planned before the fire and had been scheduled to go into November, but will not hamper the reopening in any way. In fact, said Antle, the contractor doing that job was able to progress a bit more aggressively because of the lack of activity at the hotel in the past few months.

The full parking lot, portions of which have been barricaded since the fire, will be accessible come Monday morning.

“The scaffolding that’s there now will be moving soon down (towards the Chestnut Street end of the building),” said Antle. “That will mean we will have to close off the ramp to our underground parking, but the rest of the lot will be open.”

The hotel’s pool and fitness area, which was not affected by the fire at all, will be open to guests.

It’s been a long haul and a lot of peak-time revenues were lost, but Antle said he and his staff are looking forward to getting the hotel back in full swing.

“It was hard, but that’s one of those things that is part of when something like this happens,” he said.

The Western Star

Organizations: Greenwood Inn, Corner Brook hotel, Wednesday.The hotel

Geographic location: Corner Brook, Newfoundland and Labrador, Chestnut Street West Street Western Star

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