Tofino’s newest resort has a decidedly retro feel.
Mandy Farmer, president and CEO of the hotel chain Accent Inns and Hotel Zed, opened Hotel Zed Tofino last month, on the former site of Jamie’s Rainforest Inn. This is the third location for the Hotel Zed brand, which currently operates properties in Kelowna and Victoria. Phase one includes 58 new guest rooms and 33 custom staff units.
Tofino mayor Josie Osborne was treated to a sneak peek of the retro-themed resort.
“Being a child of the 1970s, I definitely found myself transported back to the colours and style of our family home,” she said.
“The transformation of the Hotel Zed property reflects similar investments being made across Tofino in renovations and upgrades of hotel accommodations on a number of properties. As a new operator, they are already demonstrating a leadership role and I’m encouraged to see the company’s commitments to community groups and initiatives like the Tribal Parks Allies program. I welcome and look forward to their voice as the West Coast works to ‘build back better’ with a more resilient, sustainable and regenerative tourism economy,” she said.
In addition to being Tribal Parks Allies, Hotel Zed Tofino is a proud LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer) ally, with gender-inclusive public washrooms in the lobby.
Tofino councillor Britt Chalmers took on the role of general manager at the beginning of March, right before the pandemic closures took place.
“It’s been great having the support of a team, being able to watch the development of all the COVID procedures. There were so many working minds from all the different hotels,” Chalmers said.
Accent Inns and Hotel Zed sales and marketing vice president Trina Notman said the company was able to stay afloat during the COVID-19 closures by renting rooms out to essential services workers for a rock bottom rate.
“That kept our doors open. That kept our people employed,” Notman said, adding that about 1,600 room nights were covered by community donations.
Chalmers said she gets choked up every time she hears the story.
“That was my introduction to the company. It was so welcoming to see a company that not only cared, but that they think outside the box,” Chalmers said.
Hotel Zed Tofino features a bike path that diverts off the multi-use path and cuts through the foyer, a sunken living room with green shag carpet (free for locals to rent out for meetings), and a freshly graveled path down to the mudflats.
“I’d take the mudflats over the ocean any day. You can see the wolves,” Chalmers said from the viewing deck.
Employees of Hotel Zed Tofino have the option to live in the new, subsidized staff accommodation for $600 a month. The staff units are built to house two people, and include a kitchenette and bathroom.