Only in the hotel industry could you get away with comparing someone to Donald Trump, one of the most controversial leaders in modern history.
That's because – whether you love him or hate him – the U.S. president has managed to forge a successful real estate career in the hotel industry, much like a group of Ottawa business people who celebrated the opening of their fourth hotel in Ottawa on Friday.
“You’re turning into the Donald Trump of Ottawa,” joked Mayor Jim Watson, causing an uproar of laughter from the crowd during the official ribbon-cutting ceremony held outside of the new Homewood Suites by Hilton. It's located near the Ottawa airport, at 3605 Paul Anka Dr.
The mayor was joined by Councillors Diane Deans (Gloucester-Southgate Ward) and Riley Brockington (River Ward), as well as Conservative MPP Lisa MacLeod (Nepean-Carleton).
On hand were the hotel owners: Anand Aggarwal and his wife Saroj, and Harry Sohal and sons TJ Sohal and his wife, Anu Sohal, Sonny Sohal and his wife, Kiran Sohal, and Gary Sohal.
The partners own three other hotels in the vicinity of the airport: the Hampton Inn by Hilton, the Holiday Inn Express & Suites, and the Residence Inn by Marriott. As well, they own one of Ottawa’s newest venues, the nearby Infinity Convention Centre (that's where everyone headed after the ceremony for a celebratory lunch).
The group is also opening a 180-room Holiday Inn Express on King Edward Avenue and St. Patrick Street in downtown Ottawa. The building is currently under construction and is scheduled to open next year.
The 98-room Homewood Suites has been operating since the end of March. It’s the nearest extended-stay hotel to the airport and offers suites with fully equipped kitchens, living areas, dining tables and work desks, 50-inch TVs and free WiFi.
"We’re already seeing success,” Aggarwal, who’s also owner of Manor Park Management, told OBJ. “We are very pleased, especially when we see in the first week that we have 70 per cent occupancy.”