Hilton hotel aims for spring opening in Victoria

Hilton Hotels plans to open its first property in Victoria in the spring after a $20-million renovation of the former Executive House Hotel.

The 19-storey, 181-room property on Humboldt Street downtown is being flagged a DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel and Suites, considered a mid-level, full-service brand by the global hotel giant catering to business and leisure travellers.

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“Hilton is always looking for the right properties in specific locations and this was a good one,” said Francis Mairet, principal of Mairet Consulting and Management, which is overseeing the renovation and will manage of the hotel.

He said the DoubleTree brand is a fast-growing segment in the Hilton portfolio as it chooses existing properties that are being repurposed, as opposed to new construction.

There are 400 DoubleTree hotels around the world and Victoria is the seventh location in Canada and second in B.C., after Kamloops. Hilton has 4,200 hotels in 93 countries under 12 brands.

The Executive House was built in 1964 as a hotel and apartment complex by local entrepreneur Derryck Jackson. His daughter, Andrea Phillips, took over operations in 1985 and remains involved as owner.

The massive renovation has been underway for more than a year as construction crews work from the ground up gutting the entire building. The project has created 150 construction jobs, said Mairet.

Bartholomew’s English-Style Pub and Doubles Cocktail Lounge have been completed and re-opened while Belmiro’s Restaurant and Lounge is expected to open with the hotel in the spring.

Guestrooms are being furnished with refrigerators and microwaves. Mairet said the design is suited to families and corporate travelers as 89 of the suites have a kitchen, living room, dining area and separate bedroom.

“This is a massive undertaking and terrific news for the Executive House and the Victoria tourism industry,” said Mairet. “We feel privileged to have been selected to manage the renovation, branding and subsequent hotel operations. The property ownership remains local, as it has for over 50 years, and Victoria and Vancouver Island will welcome a reputable, dynamic and global-reaching brand known for its commitment to the highest quality of guest service.”

He said Victoria will get an industry-leading brand and be a part of the Hilton Worldwide portfolio, allowing Hilton HHonors members to earn and redeem points for stays.

The renovation is spearheaded by Michael Levin of Praxis Architects, Sharon Bortolotto and Jennifer Brown of BBA Designers, general contractor Terry Goodman of T & T Construction Management Ltd., and sub-contractors Craig White Homebuilders, Thetis Cove Joinery, Tri-City Finishing, West Bay Mechanical and Gorge Electrical.

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