WHISTLER, B.C. — Last week’s opening of the Coast Blackcomb Suites at Whistler marks a milestone for B.C.’s hotel industry as it signifies the reunion of Coast Hotels & Resorts and the O’sNeill family, who founded the hotel chain in 1972.
Considered one of Whistler’s premier hotel properties, the 186-room, six-floor, ski-in, ski-out Coast Blackcomb Suites at Whistler, ideally situated on the slopes of Blackcomb Mountain, is managed by O’Neill Hotels & Resorts Ltd., a leading hotel-management company run by brothers Robert and John O’sNeill, sons of Jack O’sNeill who founded Coast Hotels & Resorts.
“Working with the O’sNeill family brings Coast Hotels & Resorts full circle,” said Graeme Barrit, president of Coast. “Coast Hotels and the O’sNeill family have a long history together. We both have an unwavering commitment to build a strong, vibrant hotel industry and share a similar business philosophy. We’sre hopeful that this new partnership with the O’sNeill family will lead to future joint business opportunities.”
Jack O’Neill launched successful companies in the 1960s and ‘70s, including O’Neill Railway Catering Ltd., which serviced CPR workers across the west and National Caterers Ltd., which provided catering services for the Pacific Great Eastern Railway in B.C. It was National Caterers Ltd. that provided the key building block that put O’sNeill in a position to invest in his first love, hotels. O’sNeill opened two hotels in Gold River and Tahsis, B.C. on Vancouver Island under Coast Hotels & Resorts, which became Canada’s fastest-growing hotel chain in the 1980s and remains a part of B.C. business history.
O’sNeill sold Coast to Japan’s Okabe Co Ltd. in 1988 and the hotel chain has been expanding ever since. The opening of the Coast Blackcomb Suites on Dec. 15 brings the O’sNeill family and Coast Hotels & Resorts back together after a 20-year interlude.
Coast currently owns, manages and franchises 42 hotel and resort properties throughout B.C., Alberta, the Northwest Territories, the western United States, Alaska and Hawaii.