It was the family-style approach to hospitality during his first hotel job at Montreal’s Hotel Auberge Universel that left a lasting impression on Eric Quesnel. “I was able to perform different task —from busboy, helping in the kitchen and serving customers.”

The Montreal native attended LaSalle College in Montreal and University of Quebec in Montreal’s Hotel Management Program. After stints at Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, Hilton Hotels and Loews Hotels, Quesnel recently landed in Niagara-on the Lake to helm the 124 on Queen Hotel and Spa in the heart of Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont.

The married father of three (aged 10, 12 and 14) has been enjoying the past year at the quaint hotel despite the vagaries of the lingering pandemic. “We’ve added 39 luxurious guestrooms and suites to the existing 33. The existing part is located on the second floor of a historical building that has been well kept. The new guestrooms are spacious with amazing features to ensure our guests’ comfort.” The hotel also boasts a brand new 11,000 sq ft. state-of-the-art spa, which features 10 treatment rooms, a mani-pedi area and a hydrotherapy circuit. “The wellness trend and the addition of our hydrotherapy circuit will be key,” says Quesnel, adding that “weddings, incentive groups and special events will be our main focus for the upcoming years.”

On the F&B side, the hotel houses the eminently popular Treadwell Farm to Table Restaurant; a new lobby bar and lounge is set to open soon; and a pop-up concept comes to life whenever there are no weddings or events.

“As part of our team and family, we place high expectations on all the people that contribute. We know with the right combination we can continue to grow and provide our guests with exceptional value during their stay.” The hotelier is a big believer that you “Never say no without an alternative and do it with a smile and have fun doing it.”

To keep the team motivated and ensure they remain safe, Quesnel promotes a philosophy of “Stay close to your team and take care of them, keep communication top of mind as always, even with the people not working at the hotel.” He says it’s important to ensure that Total Revenue Management is always top of mind. “It’s been a bumpy two years and now we are in recovery mode with hopefully no more lockdowns and travel restrictions.”

By Rosanna Caira

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