SUMMERSIDE – The rejuvenation process of a major downtown property will get underway in the coming weeks so Islanders and tourists can expect a whole new Loyalist Country Inn by next summer.
Paul Murphy, the new owner of the inn with his partner and fiancée Darla Brown, purchased the property in late March and plan to renovate the interior and exterior of the building, returning it to its former prestige.
He was granted a loan of $4 million from Finance P.E.I., a provincial government entity, with $2.9 million used to purchase the building and the remaining $1.1 million earmarked for renovations.
Murphy is not affiliated with the D.P. Murphy Inc. or the Murphy Hospitality Group.
“We’ll begin making some changes in the coming weeks, like revamping the menu, installing new mattresses in the guest rooms, implementing a new linen program and upgrading the Wi-Fi. There will be new signage and upgrades to the landscaping,” explained Murphy.
In October, major renovations will get underway installing new flooring in bedrooms, renovating public rooms and the exterior of the building, and updating the lounge and dining areas.
“The building itself is an iconic Summerside property…We’re hoping it can be restored to its former glory. There is a business revival in Summerside and we’re excited to be a small part of the revival.”
In addition, the Loyalist Country Inn will be affiliated with Best Western Signature Collection.
“It will still be known as the Loyalist Country Inn, but it will be part of the Best Western loyalty programs. “Best Western is one of the largest hotel companies with many locations in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. They used to have a presence on P.E.I., but in recent years, they haven’t had a location. We’re excited to join their affiliation.”
The Loyalist employs 40 to 45 staff members, from management to kitchen and restaurant staff, cleaning services to maintenance. Murphy doesn’t plan on making changes to staff except the possibility of adding more during peak seasons.
The hotel was built in 1991 and received renovations in 1997. Since then there have been other upgrades, but not as significant as what Murphy has planned.
Changes coming to the hotel won’t impact the 11 condominiums owners who occupy the east wing of the building.
“They own their own unit and will continue to own them. The only impact could be the revamped public rooms that they have access to.”
Murphy isn’t sure on the total cost of the renovations but estimates it could cost from $1 million to $2 million.
“The things we can’t change about the building, like the architecture or location, are the things we love about the property. And the things we can change are things that aren’t so great.
“It’s been a vital piece of property in the city and I think residents were sad to see it decline. I hope they’ll be happy about our plans.”
Murphy also wants to revitalize the property to become more environmentally friendly.
Valerie Heer, the hotel’s front desk receptionist, has worked at the establishment for nearly 10 years.
“There’s so much to look forward to. I don’t know where to begin, but I’m sure it’s going to be amazing when they finish with it.”
Jim Martell, general manager of the Loyalist, says the entire staffing team is exciting about the changes.
“It’s a great opportunity to reposition the property back to where it belongs. There is no question that it needs upgrades to bring it back to where it needs to be. When it was built, the loyalist enjoyed a very prestigious presence and we’re hoping to regain that.”
Features of the Loyalist Country Inn:
– 82 rooms
– Built in 1991, renovated in 1997
– 45 staffers
– Pool and exercise room
– Four meeting rooms totalling 6,000 square feet
– Building is 87,000 square feet
– Original section is three storeys
– Expanded portion is four storeys