By Stephen Dafoe
Morinville – Morinville has had a long history of hotels. The Alberta Hotel, demolished in the early 1970s, gave way to the Frontiersman which was built at the same location. But over the past decade, the hotel had been given over to low cost monthly accommodations, the rest of the building all but abandoned. The restaurant vacant, the banquet room empty but to the memories of gallant evenings that had long since passed.
But there is a new owner in town and a new desire to restore the facility to the prominence and usage the owners feel Morinville deserves. The Morinville Plaza Hotel and Suites houses an Albert’s Family Restaurant, an event centre, a 30-room hotel and two successful Main Street businesses: Carries Hair Design and Chef’s Pizza, the latter voted the top pizza place in town by Monday Morning News readers.
“We’re open for business,” said general manager James Radchenko, noting a half million dollars has been spent already on bringing the Morinville Plaza Hotel and Suites into the type of facility Morinvillians will be proud of.
“Ideally, we wanted to bring a service to Morinville where people could stay in Morinville – they wouldn’t have to go into St. Albert all the time,” Radchenko said. “There are no other hotels in Morinville where people or a family can stay. We wanted to bring that into town.”
The completely renovated hotel portion of the facility offers double, queen- and even king-sized beds in rooms that offer colour televisions, telephones and wireless Internet – everything one would find in a St. Albert hotel without the commute or cost. Eight of the hotel’s 30 rooms are smoking rooms.
Radchenko said the goal is to have the hotel flagged and he is currently in discussions with a major hotel chain to make that happen.
But when the decision was made to buy the all-but-abandoned building and turn the facility back into a first class hotel, Radchenko’s company also made arrangements to bring an Albert’s Family Restaurant to town. A year after opening the doors, Radchenko said the restaurant has tapered off some from the boom it saw after it first opened. He is hoping people will come back and give the restaurant, now under new management, another look.
To help encourage people to come in, Albert’s will be offering free pancakes from June 13 – 17. “We really want to take it to the next level and have Albert’s be a household name,” he said. “What better way to do that than to give away free food to the entire town with no limit. You can come in ten times a day, bring ten of your friends, bring your whole family, and you can sit here all day and eat pancakes if you want.”
Radchenko is hoping the bold move will give those who never visit downtown Morinville a reason to do so, and in the process find out what his restaurant has to offer as well as the other businesses on Main Street.
But Albert’s isn’t the only place people can dine at the Morinville Plaza Hotel and Suites. The facility boasts a two-story banquet room that seats 250 and, like the other parts of the facility, is open for business. Radchenko said the facility offers an affordable venue for everything from wedding banquets to entertainment events, complete with food services prepared on the premises. In recent months the events centre has hosted a Rotary awards night, comedy show, talent show and even professional wrestling.
The facility is also actively involved with Morinville’s big event of the summer – The St. Jean Baptiste Festival. The local business is a gold sponsor of the event and will be providing all the pancake mix for the community breakfast through Albert’s and will be donating the use of the banquet facility for the annual breakfast in the event of rain. The company is looking forwarded to becoming an integral part of the community.
“We want to do business locally – We want to have people come here all the time” Radchenko said, noting he is happy to work with the community and community groups.
Morinville Plaza and Suites is located on 100 Avenue, directly across from Canada Post.