The Prestige Rocky Mountain Resort first opened in Cranbrook on Dec. 7, 1998, and renovations, that started nine months later, have been ongoing essentially ever since. The latest renovations, underway now, are quite extensive, according to general manager David Kroeker.
“This latest renovation that we’re doing right now is fairly comprehensive,” Kroeker said. “It’s a big renovation in the sense that it’s not just cosmetic, well it is cosmetic, definitely, but it’s more than a slap of paint on the walls. It’s fairly major.”
Kroeker opened the Prestige back in ’98 and has been with the company for 27 years, working his way up to the position of general manager in Golden before coming here.
“There’s always been growth and there’s always been change and we’re always moving forward, definitely,” he said. “It’s a very progressive company.”
These renovations include work on all the public areas of the hotel; the restaurant, the ballroom, the foyer, the boardrooms and the lobby. The renovations on the restaurant are probably the most major.
The West Coast Grill, as it’s been known previously, has been completely demolished. The big brick wall is gone and it will be replaced by 18 foot glass doors that open up to the outside. The kitchen is being completely redone, with a forno oven for pizzas, a grill for steaks, and pasta pots for fresh pasta being made. The new restaurant will be known as Fire and Oak.
“It was a concept that was worked on late last year, quickly sprung into action,” Kroeker said. “Our corporate office has their own design team, has their own renovation team, using local subcontractors and that started I would say February, beginning of February and continues.”
Fire and Oak’s opening will also entail the hiring of an entirely new staff, including a new executive chef. Food and Beverage is leased to Noir Food and Beverage with their onside manager being Robert Brandsetter, who is new to the Kootenays and looking forward to getting involved in the community. Noir, which will also operate Don Cherry’s Sports Grill and banquets, is owned by restauranteur Sascha Hillebrand, who has a proven track record of operating restaurants throughout B.C. for over 20 years.
Renovations have been moving along smoothly and on schedule. The ballroom is virtually complete other than the carpeting on the floor, which will be installed this month, and the foyer and the second boardroom are well underway. The boardrooms have served as meeting places for years, but their capacity to do so will now be even greater, with the addition of new audio visual equipment.
The target date for completion of the restaurant is around May 1. Don Cherry’s Sports Grill will be open to guests and the public throughout renovations.
The patrons and visitors of the hotel have been supportive throughout the renovation process.
“Everybody likes to see change, they like to see it brought up to date and it’s been very positive,” Kroeker said.
“The rest of the hotel, the accommodations end of it has been done, several years ago with virtually every room being redone,” he continued. “From the carpet, to the washrooms to entrances, complete new furniture packages, complete new TVs, etcetera, that’s ongoing. We keep that ongoing as well. It was just time for the public areas.”