When the Muir Hotel in Halifax opens its doors this month, it will be the culmination of many months of preparation for Eugénie Jason. And as challenging as opening a hotel invariably is, doing so through a lingering pandemic, has added an entirely new layer of complexity.
Jason joined the Muir team in June, though given the pandemic, she had to work remotely until the Atlantic bubble opened and interprovincial travel resumed. “I can say that experience certainly made it stand out amongst those of my past,” says the hotelier, who has a solid background, having worked in such pre-eminent locations as London’s Fortnum and Mason retail shop, and Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, where she spent 12 years, first at the resort in Bora Bora, then at the iconic Beverly Wilshire and finally as part of the opening team at Four Seasons Montreal.
She believes the pandemic has caused her to “fall in love with the Muir without being able to stand on the ground where it sits, but rather to get to know it from the inside out – through the energy and drive of the team behind the hotel. I immediately connected with the Muir’s mission, its purpose, the importance to the local community and commitment to providing and preserving a sense of place.”
A newly minted team of 80 is ready to welcome locals and visitors seeking a refined, distinctly Nova Scotian hospitality experience. “Our mission is to offer guests a hospitality experience that could not exist anywhere else.”
Sitting directly on the Halifax harbour, the 109-room hotel offers intimate and immediate ocean views from virtually all of its rooms. “Each room is designed with honest materiality, quality craftsmanship and thoughtful amenities and spaces. Bespoke furniture and lighting, designed and crafted in Canada, reflect a modern interpretation of East Coast design while offering comfort, productivity and a distinct sense of place.”
Not surprisingly, the pandemic has caused various delays and structural challenges, but Jason says, “We’re fortunate to benefit from Autograph Collection Hotels and Marriott’s support and their extensive and thoughtful “Commitment to clean” program. This will define our cleanliness standards.”
As the industry continues to navigate COVID-19, the dedicated hotelier says “one of the largest challenges for hotels and restaurants is attracting and retaining talent. “It’s our responsibility to care for our people. Companies with a strong and sincere people culture will be the ones to recover the fastest.”
By Rosanna Caira