The recent makeover of a dated, basic blue and white Blue Ridge Inn into a vibrant, show stopping funky boutique motel in Victoria, BC, called Hotel Zed, has travellers and the hospitality world taking notice.
It is rare that a hotel redesign gets this much buzz and attention, unless it is over the top luxury or showcasing state of the art eco technology. Instead, Accent Inns' president and CEO Mandy Farmer decided with this new brand to put her entire marketing budget into the actual product, creating a radical and remarkable hotel. The result? Hotel Zed is a completely unordinary, interactive, lively and unique space that brings guests together to share the fun. âOur chain of Accent Inns hotels across BC are well respected within the leisure and business travel community for providing solid value and a great night's stay,â says Farmer. âBut, with Hotel Zed we wanted to do something revolutionary. Something that would make people stop and go âwhoaâŠ how fun is this?!' Of course, the service has to live up to the design, and I think we have created a hotel property that is exciting guests to the point where they are sharing it with friends and family before they arrive, during their stay and then after their stay! It's so awesome to see guests so entirely stoked to be staying hereâ Building a buzz-worthy hotel is every hotelier's dream. However, standing out is not that easy within a very competitive marketplace. To help make Farmer's dream become a reality, she chose local designer Kimberly Williams. Williams and her team member, designer Lindsay Smart, collaborated with Farmer throughout the Hotel Zed project. (Williams is well known for residential and commercial interior design and her first hotel project, Tofino's Long Beach Lodge Resort, landed her in the pages of Architectural Digest. (www.kimberlywilliams.ca) âMandy asked us to design a hotel that had something for everyone â families on vacation, guests looking for a boutique feel, business travellers wanting value and more personality in the hotel than just the basics,â says Williams. âWe loved the fact that Mandy also wanted to pay homage to the building's pre-existing hidden mid-century modern gems. So, we rolled up our sleeves and got to work.â The hidden gems were the inspiration that helped create the open lobby and refresh the guest rooms. Designing rooms, which were comfortable, fun and functional was a priority. Hotel Zed's mega-watt colour palette â vibrant greens, eye-popping blues, delicious oranges, pinks, purples, layers of pattern and colour- inside and out â has created the bold statement that Hotel Zed is unlike any other hotel around. Elements of white are also used to soften the visual feast. While the rooms were being deconstructed, unordinary ideas sprang from the ZED staff, many of them long-time Accent Inns' employees. They were all adamant that design could not get in the way of providing a great guest experience. The resulting fun interiors and creativity, including discovering design elements that make people smile and appreciate the care and attention to detail, has resulted in a huge increase in social sharing. Careful not to divulge the many secrets of where Williams and Farmer discovered some of their most talked about design amenities (rotary dial phones, graffiti art, retro alarm clocks and vintage lamps, bulletin boards instead of room directories, comic books for the ultimate in relaxing reading material), the demand has been growing for the vision behind the redesign of the hotel. âOur shared goal was to find all the fun of the last century's gadgets, bring them up-to-date and useful in engaging ways, while maintaining a firm future-forward grip on reality and the needs of today's guests,â says Williams. âThe media hubs and large LCD screens in every room ensure the free Wi-Fi is fast and the sharp visuals continue onto your TV screen. The refurbished Tanker steel desks are large and functional for getting work done. There are even QR codes for downloading instructions for the rotary dial phones. The colour palette and designs were chosen to say â something different is going on here.â While the rooms are designed with comfort and utility in mind, Farmer's vision was to also create gathering spaces that encourage socializing. Multiple seating groups were incorporated into the lobby to create different zones for interacting. A lobby coffee bar is free for all guests and a central table invites guests to sit down, ready the paper and meet some new friends. A vinyl record playing station, board games and business centre with type writers and free post cards turns Hotel Zed's lobby into a living room, with fun things to see and do. The Hotel Zed restaurant will open in 2015, matching the âgathering room' feel of the lobby. The downstairs Ping-Pong lounge incorporates stripes and colours to a whole new playful level, encouraging guests to turn up the music (iPod stations and state of the art speaker system included) while playing a game or enjoying the side-by-side Wii stations. Hotel Zed's exterior is also stopping traffic. A once ordinary blank wall now has big, beautiful bold blocks of colour. An equally colourful waterslide â the Zedinator â signals the included amenity of an indoor/outdoor pool, with glass rolling garage doors, and an outdoor hot tub with surrounding patio gardens. Vintage bicycles are lined up ready to be taken for a ride (free of charge) and the lovingly maintained classic '67 Volkswagen hotel shuttle bus brings the vibrancy of Hotel Zed across downtown Victoria. âWe have had many guests ask us where we found all of our beautifully refurbished designer pieces, and we are keeping those secrets to ourselves,â says Farmer. âHotel Zed is definitely a property that has to be seen to be believed, and we have worked hard to make it warm, welcoming and above all fun to experience.â About Hotel ZedWe're a ridiculously fun and eclectic hotel in Victoria, BC, Canada that is so awesome your mind will be blown. We've got bold colours, retro-style and modern technology. Plus, typewriters, record players, comic books, ping-pong lounge, Wii and the coolest '67 VW shuttle bus. Our laid-back lobby lets you make friends with others or your own inner Zed. We are rebels against the ordinary! Doors were thrown open in May 2014 by Mandy Farmer, one of Profit's Top100 Canadian Women Entrepreneurs, aka President/CEO of Accent Inns â Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce's 2014 Employer-of-the-Year, BC Business Magazine's 5th Best Company To Work For in 2011.-30-Media contacts:Deirdre Campbell, Tartan Group: 250-592-3838 or 250-882-9199 (cell) or firstname.lastname@example.org John Espley, Accent Inns & Hotel Zed: 250-213-9605 or email@example.com