Continuing to chart its Southeastern expansion beyond its native Florida and into major destinations, B Hotels & Resorts recently revealed the lifestyle brand would be entering the ‘Big Easy’ through the conversion of a historic downtown property.
The brand’s fourth hotel, B on Canal in New Orleans—which will join B Resort & Spa in Disney Springs, Orlando, FL; B Historic in Savannah, GA; and the recently launched B Ocean Resort in Fort Lauderdale, FL—is expected to be open for business in the first quarter of 2018.
B Hotels & Resorts CEO Ayelet Weinstein talked about the company’s latest project and broader expansion strategy. “We are targeting all the major destinations in the U.S. and this was definitely on our map. Being such a vibrant city it’s a destination that is very much in line with our playfulness, and in terms of the demand generators it’s right there,” she said.
Weinstein noted the 1920’s building was secured for the brand as part of an “off-market transaction” for B’s sister company and is surrounded by a number of historical buildings. The extensive revitalization will include all 157 guestrooms and suites, a reconfigured lobby, as well as over 1,600 sq. ft. of banquet and meeting space with city views. International design firm IDDI, which is leading the redesign of the interior, is looking to evoke the charm and culture of the city, with a French colonial twist.
According to the company, the full-service food and beverage offerings will include event catering, room service and the addition of a signature restaurant and bar with 95 seats, including a private dining room.
The hotel is in the central business and theater district near the Mercedes Benz Superdome; Tulane Medical Center; the Bio District; and within walking distance to the French Quarter.
Weinstein, who described the project as “New Orleans with a modern twist,” touted the site on Canal Street. “It’s a prime location with lots of history. Our plan is to simply modify its design by incorporating many of the old elements and touches this destination has been known for,” she noted, later adding “it’s very inspiring.”
Weinstein pointed out that the property is expected to offer a four-star or four-diamond experience. However, from a pricing standpoint, B on Canal will be positioned slightly below other four-star competitors in the area as is customary for the brand, according to Weinstein. She added there will be a wide range in rate, depending on the season and ongoing events, such as Mardi Gras, for example.
Weinstein, meanwhile, maintained the performance of the properties in the portfolio has been solid as well as she noted the company continues to invest heavily in its hotels. “Almost every property we take on is going through a very intensive renovation, but we are in different ramping stages with different properties. Those that are fully stabilized our doing very well,” she said, specifically citing Orlando as a prime example.
Weinstein acknowledged that the company will continue to seek conversion opportunities to grow its portfolio and reiterated its approach. “We are identifying properties that are in great locations in major destinations and we give them this lift and bring them back to life. We are changing different use of the space within the hotel; putting in all the design applications, activating the F&B, and bringing all this energy and vibe,” she said.
Weinstein was asked to comment on the brand’s growth pace and progress since its inception in 2011. “I’m sure we’re making progress, we’re very ambitious. If you ask me if it’s where we’d like to be, I’m sure we are on the right trend. The more we are growing the more people are experiencing our hospitality and our properties. We’re always looking for new destinations and growing steadily growing; strategically and selectively picking where we want to be… We are still in our first few years of existence but we are getting there,” she concluded.