This is a big 2-in-1 Kelowna hotel announcement.
First, Kamloops-based Mundi Hotel Enterprises just purchased the Best Western Plus Hotel in Kelowna for a hefty $41.5 million.
Second, and just as important news-wise, Mundi plans to build a highrise hotel of another brand right beside the newly acquired Best Western.
"We've had our eye on the Kelowna market for the past couple of years," said Mundi founder and president Ron Mundi.
"The Best Western is a good acquisition for us. Land is expensive in Kelowna, so our plan is to take an acre-and-a-half of the five-acre site and put in another 130-to-150-room hotel in a tower of 15-or-16-storeys."
The new highrise hotel would be a different brand than Best Western -- possibly Marriott, Sheraton, Hilton or Hyatt or one of the other brands Mundi works with.
The two hotels, although side-by-side, would be operated as two totally separate entities.
"There's still a lot to be determined," said Mundi.
"But, a mid-to-high-range hotel brand there makes sense. Our architect is working on plans and we'd need approvals from the city (of Kelowna). And, if all goes well, we could start construction on the tower at the end of next year for completion in late 2026."
The Best Western Kelowna, at the high-profile corner of Highway 97 and Leckie Road, is made up of 20 motel-style rooms and 152 rooms in a mid-rise tower of 8 storeys.
The motel-style rooms would come out and the space where there's an expansive lawn would be where the new highrise hotel would be built.
"Kelowna does have a lot of hotels and hotel rooms and in the winter not all of them are full," admitted Mundi.
"But there is room in Kelowna for a brand-new hotel, especially one with an international brand name to attract future guests and future tourists. It's definitely time to build new product."
Mundi bought Best Western Kelowna from SDP Lodging.
Ron Mundi has been in the hotel business for almost 25 years.
He emigrated from India to Vancouver in 1994 and for the first few years here "worked every job possible like immigrants do," according to Mundi.
In 2002, he saw the opportunity to get into business for himself and moved to Kamloops to buy and EcoLodge.
He sold it shortly after and bought the Ramada Kamloops.
Since, he's grown Mundi to 16 hotels with more than 1,500 rooms in the Thompson Okanagan, northern BC and Alberta, both through purchases and new builds.
Mundi's portfolio includes:
- Best Western Plus Kelowna
- Holiday Inn Express Kamloops
- DoubleTree by Hilton in Kamloops
- Coast Kamloops
- Hyatt Place Kamloops (coming in 2025)
- Riverland Inn Kamloops
- Four Points by Sheraton Penticton (coming July)
- Marriott Fairfield Inn Penticton
- Coast Oliver
- Four Points by Sheraton Prince George
- Hyatt Place Prince George
- Coast Fort St. John
- Holiday Inn & Suites Dawson Creek
- Coast Lethbridge
- Coast West Edmonton
- Best Western Cedar Park Edmonton