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Four Seasons in Vancouver to close by 2020

Landlord Cadillac Fairview has made “no decisions whatsoever” on future of the site
The Four Seasons Hotel and the Rosewood Hotel Georgia are the only two Vancouver hotels that the Forbes Travel Guide gave five-star ratings in the most recent guide | Rob Kruyt

Downtown Vancouver’s Four Seasons hotel plans to close after more than 40 years in operation on January 31, 2020, the company announced May 2.

That is when the global hotel chain’s lease to operate the property at 791 West Georgia Street expires, and the lease will not be renewed, the Four Seasons told Business in Vancouver in a statement.

The closure of the hotel that connects to landlord Cadillac Fairview's Pacific Centre is expected to impact hundreds of workers.

Tom Knoepfel, who is Cadillac Fairview’s director for Western Canada, told BIV that his company has made “no decisions whatsoever” on what will replace the aging hotel. Cadillac Fairview last year sued the Four Seasons failing to keep the hotel up to standard and BIV was the first media outlet to report on that lawsuit.

Cadillac Fairview, in its notice of civil claim, said that the hotel “was tired, dated and not in keeping with typical first-class luxury hotels.”

The Four Seasons then responded in its statement of defence that it denied each and every allegation that Cadillac Fairview made.

Knoepfel said on May 2 that the lawsuit is “still ongoing.” 

The Forbes Travel Guide had a much more favourable opinion than Cadillac Fairview did of the Four Seasons hotel, when Forbes released its most recent edition. 

That guide ranks the Four Seasons Hotel and the Rosewood Hotel Georgia as the only two Vancouver hotels that have the prestigious five-star rating. In contrast, the American Automobile Association (AAA) is the other main authoritative organization that rates hotels in North America. It ranks the Shangri-La Hotel Vancouver as the city’s only five-diamond property.

Discrepancies in official ranking systems for hotels and the rise of peer-review websites highlight the ambiguity of grading the luxuriousness of hotels. BIV explored that evolving issue last year.

Marriott Canada president Don Cleary also told BIV last year that he would like to bring the Marriott luxury brands Ritz-Carlton and W Hotels and Resorts to Vancouver. The Four Seasons' looming closure now provides him with a possible site. 

Management at the Four Seasons hotel in Vancouver say that the hotel will operate as usual until it closes.

The closure would be one of several decades-old hotels that are ceasing to operate despite what has been a booming tourism business in the city.

The Empire Landmark hotel on Robson Street closed for good on September 30, while the Coast Plaza Hotel and Suites on Denman Street also closed last year.

New luxury hotels have also opened in downtown Vancouver. The Trump International Hotel and Tower opened in February 2017, while Marriott International Inc. (Nasdaq:MAR) opened two hotels – the Douglas Autograph Collection hotel and the Parq hotel – in October 2017.

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