As someone who grew up in the hotel industry, David Curell’s love affair with hotels dates back to working alongside his siblings at his father’s motor inn in Kelowna, B.C. After graduating from the BCIT, the Edmonton-born hotelier spent 13 years at Vancouver’s Pan Pacific Hotel, where he worked with “a dream team and learned so much about delivering a luxury experience to guests and clients,” before heading to the U.S., where he worked with several boutique hotels.
Today, the hotelier is translating those lessons to the 106-room Josie Hotel in Rossland, B.C. — now part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection — his first ski-resort experience.
“The Josie feeds your soul, no matter what activity — skiing untracked powder, foraging for huckleberries, re-charging in the outdoor saunas or listening to stories gathered around the bar. My mission is for every guest to experience soul exhilaration.”
Curell guides a team of 80 associates, many of whom were laid off at the onset of the pandemic. “COVID-19 has had a significant impact on business over the last two years. The current Omicron variant has proven challenging from a staffing perspective,” and border closures have presented obstacles to the hotel’s primary guest base (U.S.).
“The well-being of our guests and associates is of paramount importance,” stresses Curell, who’s learned to be “be nimble, proactive, [and] cross-train associates so they can step in and help in multiple departments. “The team has been extremely creative in finding ways to connect with the locals and work with the community — whether providing special stay-and-dine packages for residents or finding new ways to work with local businesses and our onsite eatery, The Velvet Restaurant & Lounge.”
Curell is looking to roll out new guest experiences and programming to reflect “our brand pillars, which are deeply embedded in Red Mountain and Rossland.” Next on his to-do list is a pool, hot tubs, and expanded spa offerings. And, with competition set to intensify in the new normal, the team is focused on creative packaging, programming and experiences. “We’re developing The Mark — the personality of the Josie, our spirit and namesake. Josie’s touch is felt throughout the hotel, cheekily inspiring adventure and ensuring guests get the most out of every day.”