Business travellers and conferencegoers to Fort Frances can get a taste of the lakeside life in northwestern Ontario’s Boundary Waters with a stay at La Place Rendez-Vous Hotel and Convention Centre.
Located on the shores of Sand Bay on Rainy Lake, the 67-room establishment has been a family-run business since 1972 when Leo Noonan, a former Safeway grocery store manager, became a partner in a local lakefront restaurant and bar.
“One of the partners was leaving and they knew my dad my interested so they invited him in,” said hotel owner Paul Noonan, Leo’s son. “Within a couple of years, he bought them out and was running it himself.”
What followed was an expansion into a full-service hotel in 1985 with three subsequent additions of guestrooms.
“It was always a dream of his to have a banquet-conference facility here on Rainy Lake,” said Noonan. “His dream was to eventually have a full-service hotel on this property.”
Banquet facilities were added onto a second floor above the restaurant and lounge in 1992.
“When we first started in business, we were only open in the wintertime. In the evenings and in the summertime we’d open at noon,” said Noonan. “After the guestrooms and lobby were added, it became more a 24/7 operation.”
Through land acquisition, the original 100 feet of lake frontage has been extended to 400 feet.
The independent hotel has grown into the premier venue in the Rainy River district for weddings, retirement parties, meetings and conferences.
“We’re probably the only banquet and conference facility in town,” said Noonan.
The establishment has become a popular spot for First Nation and municipal association conferences, a hub for weekend hockey tournaments, and there’s a steady flow of government and business clientele.
Government ministries use the venue for public meetings, and new entries to the area like New Gold (formerly Rainy River Resources) use Place Rendez-Vous as a base to conduct meetings.
“We’re seeing more opportunity with the mining sector increasingly becoming more important in this area,” said Noonan.
“We do a lot of business with First Nation groups and the NOMA (Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association) conferences and when you have meetings of that nature that provides a lot of spinoffs in guestrooms, food and beverage.”
The hotel’s largest space is the 3,280-square-foot main banquet hall, the Voyageur Room, which can accommodate 300 for a meeting or 250 for dinner. The naturally-lit room offers a panoramic view of Rainy Lake.
The space is flexible and can be subdivided into three separate rooms.
“Often times we’ll have a couple of meetings going on simultaneously, using the middle room as a buffer,” said Noonan.
“We also have a full balcony that runs the length of the facility.”
Audio-visual capabilities are available for PowerPoint presentations and the facility is completely Wi- Fi accessible.
Place Rendez-Vous has a small boardroom for a group of nine and a larger meeting room off the main dining room that accommodates 30.
Two chefs on staff can customize menus for a conference, banquet or wine and cheese party.