THUNDER BAY — Sam Mushtaq needs an operator for the restaurant and bar in his newly renovated hotel on Cumberland Street North.
The 66-room boutique hotel, known for decades as the Shoreline Motor Hotel, reopened in mid-May after millions of dollars worth of upgrades, but Mushtaq has been frustrated in his efforts to find someone from Thunder Bay to run the restaurant.
Until that happens, the president of GTA-based Skylight Hotels Group said he can rent rooms but can't operate the facility under the Aiden by Best Western brand.
Instead, he's had to cover the Best Western signage with a tarp, and market the property temporarily as Superior Shores Hotel.
"Aiden is a unique brand. In order to open Aiden, you need to have the restaurant and bar ready... We are looking for a good operator. So once we lease the restaurant and bar, we will be Aiden by Best Western," Mushtaq told TBnewswatch. "In the meantime, Best Western allowed us to open as unbranded, as the Superior Shores Hotel."
He added, "We've made a high-end hotel... we've got a few applications. If I don't find an operator within the next few weeks we are designing a menu ourselves and we may run the restaurant ourselves. That way we are back into the Best Western family. We still have the franchise agreement with Best Western."
Mushtaq feels some prospective restaurant operators are hesitant because there are so many newer restaurants already in the north core.
"We have a negotiation going on with somebody. If he doesn't take over, then we are going to run it ourselves."
He said that while he continues to work toward opening the restaurant and bar, the hotel is getting good reviews from its guests.
"The response has been super... Whoever comes here says this is one of the best hotels in Thunder Bay. It has a local flair to it. People are loving it. Our occupancy has been 50 to 60 per cent. The corporate people who come here, once they come they always stay here."