It’s most noticeable feature will become its name.
The Best Western Plus Vernon Lodge will change its name – and end its association with Best Western – on Tuesday, becoming the independent Vernon Atrium Hotel and Conference Centre.
“It’s because of the atrium; it’s who we are, that’s what people associate us with – the hotel with the big atrium and swimming pool,” said Claus Larsen, Vernon Atrium Hotel general manager, at a news conference Friday announcing the change.
The independent hotel will be owned by the RPB group, which likely means changes to some of the guest room decor which had previously been restricted.
The hotel opened as the Vernon Lodge, was associated with Best Western for a year, became an independent hotel again before being acquired by the Coast hotel group.
The building that will forever be known as “The Lodge” in North Okanagan circles has been part of the Best Western chain for the last 20 years.
“We’ll never get rid of people knowing us as ‘The Lodge,’” said Larsen. “It’s just not going to be our name anymore.”
The hotel is known for its large atrium which features BX-Swan Lake Creek running directly through the middle of it, plus hundreds and hundreds of green plants that surround restaurants and the swimming pool.
Larsen said the hotel is working with the ownership group to return the atrium to its past glory.
“We have hired a tropical expert team, and they will come and replant as soon as we get rid of everything and the season is right,” he said. “We’re replanting the atrium to its former glory, adding some colourful atrium plants so it’s not just all green.”
The hotel had a great relationship with Best Western, which operates 4,200 hotels globally under specific rules and regulations, but Larsen said the time was right for the Atrium Hotel to go on its own.
“We want to do some things with the rooms and some extra things that we were not allowed to do with Best Western,” he said.
Customers will receive a warm cookie (or two) upon check-in, and each room will have two fresh bottles of free water.
A select number of rooms have already been experimented with certain wall coverings, and the hotel is replacing the fleece blankets.
More than $2 million in renovations have been made to the hotel over the past couple of years.
There are 125 staff, the longest-serving member is 35 years. Staff will not be affected by the name change.
The hotel’s new sign is expected to be erected by Dec. 10.
Larsen said the hotel will remain a model corporate citizen.
“We have always been a pillar in the community in terms of charity and fundraising, and we’ll continue down that road,” he said.