How do you run a successful hotel for more than half a century? It’s no big deal if you know how to juggle a million little things at once. Just ask Judy Sparkes-Giannou, the managing director of the determinedly bespoke Comfort Hotel and Conference Centre in St. John’s, NL.
“This is not a real estate play for us,” she says forthrightly. “We’ve been in the hospitality business since 1968. We’re 100 per cent family owned. We live here, raise our families here, buy our groceries here, support charities and our community here. We pay taxes here!”
What that means for travellers is exquisite attention to the details of their stay. “The hotel sector is crazy competitive right now,” Sparkes-Giannou notes. “As a result of the abundance of rooms, we’ve been busy ‘owning our space’ as a local family, as a hotel with heart.”
What visitors will find are beautifully appointed premises, replete with 144 rooms, meeting space for 200, a full-service in-house restaurant, a fitness centre, on-site parking, and an airport shuttle. Importantly, she adds, “We are truly full service. Guests enjoy a free, hot breakfast each morning served (not a buffet) at Clancy’s farm fresh Kitchen. You won’t find any boil-in-a-bag meals served here.”
In fact, she says, the excellence of the hotel’s culinary experience has led to busy meeting and banquet activity here. Comfort Hotel and Conference Centre (which Judy and her two brothers, Bruce and Steve, own through Clayton Hospitality) recently underwent a name change, from Comfort Inn, to better reflect its service offering.
“We are the hotel of choice for many local groups and organizations,” she says. “We do an excellent job of catering to our offshore clients. We have a dedicated meeting-room concierge to assist with every possible need.”
Charitable dinners, weddings, small to medium-sized conferences—a million little things. No sweat. Says Sparkes-Giannou: “They can all relax and know that they are family here.” •