The capital of the province of Nova Scotia, Halifax is the economic center of Canada’s Atlantic Coast. Full of historic maritime influences, the city sits on sprawling Halifax Harbour. Demand for Halifax’ diverse hotel inventory ranges from business travelers calling on government agencies and corporate offices to leisure travelers, including families, in the area for sports and recreation.
Halifax’s hotels fall into three general categories: Canadian chains (Coastal Inns, Premiere Suites), chains of U.S.-based multibrand companies (Hilton Worldwide’s Hampton Inn, Marriott International’s Courtyard, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide’s Westin, among many others) and independents (Lord Nelson Hotel & Suites, The Halliburton Hotel).
Some Halifax hotels are located downtown (Homewood Suites by Hilton, Residence Inn by Marriott, both upscale extended-stay brands), while others are located in the Greater Halifax market. Three Wyndham Hotel Group brands (Travelodge, Days Inn and Ramada), for example, are located in the suburb of Dartmouth on the eastern shore of Halifax Harbour. Choice Hotels International’s Quality Inn & Suites brand has a hotel in the Bayers Lake sub-market, known for its large business park, shopping and entertainment venues.
Complicating things further, there are three brand sub-categories. Two primarily Canadian chains also have hotels in either the U.K. (Future Inns) or Australia (Cambridge Suites). A Canadian hotel, Bluenose Inn & Suites, is aligned with the U.S.’s Howard Johnson chain, which is also part of the Wyndham Hotel Group. Meanwhile, an established Canadian chain, Delta Hotels, which has two properties in Halifax, was acquired this year by Marriott, which plans to expand the brand in the U.S. as well to accelerate its growth in Canada.
According to Lodging Econometrics’ construction pipeline data, as of the third quarter, Halifax had a total of 34 hotels open with 4,490 rooms. No new additions to the city’s inventory were currently under construction, though two, accounting for 283 rooms, were in the early planning stage. Two hotels, however—the Hampton and the Homewood Suites—opened in 2014 in a dual-brand project, adding a combined 316 rooms to the market.
Supply versus demand
In its 2015 Canadian Hotel Valuation Index, the HVS consulting firm reported that Halifax hotels had a 4.2 percent increase in demand in 2014. Supply, however, jumped 5.4 percent, thanks, in part, to the Homewood-Hampton dual-brand development. Average daily rate increased 2.5 percent, leading to a weak 1.3 percent increase in revenue per available room. HVS is more upbeat when it comes to 2015, predicting that RevPAR will increase a stronger 3 percent this year.
Looking further out, HVS forecasts that the value per room of Halifax’s hotels ($104,553 in 2015) will jump a healthy 8 percent in 2016 before leveling off to a more modest 2.8-percent increase in 2017, followed by a 3.4-percent rise in 2018.
Best Western International’s 144-room Best Western Plus Chocolate Lake Hotel, located in the Armdale neighborhood, is typical of much of Halifax’ midmarket hotel stock. While located relatively close to the city center, its main appeal is to leisure travelers visiting the nearby Halifax Citadel, a national historic site. A hilltop fort dating to 1749, it was built to protect the city from invading armies. Giving the Citadel a run for its money, Chocolate Lake Beach—for which the Best Western is named—is a nearby man-made lake that offers swimming and other water sports. It’s named for a chocolate factory that once stood on what is now the lake’s shoreline.
Like other midmarket brands in both the U.S. and Canada, the Best Western offers family-friendly amenities like complimentary breakfast and Wi-Fi as well as a 24-hour fitness center and an indoor swimming pool.
Pictured: Best Western Plus Chocolate Lake Hotel