The Westmark Hotel and Conference Centre, photographed in Whitehorse on April 21, will remain open with limited amenities despite other northern Westmarks closing. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)

Whitehorse Westmark stays open while others are shut down

Chain closes down hotels due to COVID-19

Holland America announced the closure of its Westmark hotel properties last week until further notice due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to an April 15 press release, the closed hotels are Westmark Fairbanks, Westmark Anchorage, Westmark Skagway, Westmark Dawson City and the McKinley Chalet Resort at Denali National Park.

The Westmarks in Whitehorse and Sitka will remain open.

The release indicated that guests would be contacted regarding the cancellation of their stay.

Felix Seiler, the chief operating officer of Holloway Lodging Management Services, spoke with the News on April 21 to explain that the Whitehorse Westmark remains open due to it being a franchise rather than being owned directly by the parent company Holland America Line.

Seiler’s company, Holloway, owns both the Westmark and the Days Inn in Whitehorse, the latter of which is closed.

Seiler explained his company has tried to consolidate business in the markets where it owns more than one hotel with the goal to have operations run as efficiently as possible. Whitehorse is one of these communities.

“That’s why we closed the Days Inn,” Seiler said. “We kept the Westmark open because it is in a more central location than the Days Inn.”

Although the Westmark remains open, some of its amenities have been shut down. The restaurant, breakfast rooms and conference halls are all closed. Seiler said all of Holloway’s hotels have only been offering rooms. Any amenities beyond that are shut down.

“Most hotels in this day and age are simply providing accommodations,” Seiler said.

He said the Whitehorse Westmark aims to provide a safe environment for both guests and staff, and that the company has very strict cleaning and check-in policies. This includes ongoing cleaning of hallway door handles and elevator buttons.

The hotel still has bookings that are coming in.

“There is still demand,” Seiler said.

He pointed out that tourism has taken a hit and with the cruise market being closed for the summer, it has impacted business. The bookings are coming from the essential or critical workers that still need to travel.

He explained there are still sales people and corporate traffic needing accommodations. He added that long-haul truck drivers are using hotel rooms as well.

“There is still travel happening, it’s just very very limited,” Seiler said.

He said he hopes that when the pandemic slows down and containment measures are relaxed that people consider coming to visit Whitehorse.

Contact Gord Fortin at gord.fortin@yukon-news.com

CoronavirusTourism

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Yukon Energy in Whitehorse on April 8. Yukon Energy faced a potential “critical” fuel shortage in January due to an avalanche blocking a shipping route from Skagway to the Yukon, according to an email obtained by the Yukon Party and questioned in the legislature on Oct. 14. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Yukon Energy faced ‘critical’ fuel shortage last January due to avalanche

An email obtained by the Yukon Party showed energy officials were concerned

Jeanie McLean (formerly Dendys), the minister responsible for the Women’s Directorate speaks during legislative assembly in Whitehorse on Nov. 27, 2017. “Our government is proud to be supporting Yukon’s grassroots organizations and First Nation governments in this critical work,” said McLean of the $175,000 from the Yukon government awarded to four community-based projects aimed at preventing violence against Indigenous women. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Yukon government gives $175k to projects aimed at preventing violence against Indigenous women

Four projects were supported via the Prevention of Violence against Aboriginal Women Fund

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: You don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone

When I was a kid, CP Air had a monopoly on flights… Continue reading

Dr. Brendan Hanley, Yukon’s chief medical officer of health, speaks to media at a press conference about COVID-19 in Whitehorse on March 30. The “probable” case of COVID-19 announced Oct. 10 has been declared a false positive. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Secondary testing rules out presumptive COVID-19 case

Testing in southern labs resulted in a negative final result

asdf
EDITORIAL: Don’t let the City of Whitehorse distract you

A little over two weeks after Whitehorse city council voted to give… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Northwestel has released the proposed prices for its unlimited plans. Unlimited internet in Whitehorse and Carcross could cost users between $160.95 and $249.95 per month depending on their choice of package. (Yukon News file)
Unlimited internet options outlined

Will require CRTC approval before Northwestel makes them available

Legislative assembly on the last day of the fall sitting in Whitehorse. Yukon’s territorial government will sit for 45 days this sitting instead of 30 days to make up for lost time caused by COVID-19 in the spring. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Legislative assembly sitting extended

Yukon’s territorial government will sit for 45 days this sitting. The extension… Continue reading

asdf
Today’s mailbox: Mad about MAD

Letters to the editor published Oct. 16, 2020

Alkan Air hangar in Whitehorse. Alkan Air has filed its response to a lawsuit over a 2019 plane crash that killed a Vancouver geologist on board, denying that there was any negligence on its part or the pilot’s. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Alkan Air responds to lawsuit over 2019 crash denying negligence, liability

Airline filed statement of defence Oct. 7 to lawsuit by spouse of geologist killed in crash

Whitehorse city council members voted Oct. 13 to decline an increase to their base salaries that was set to be made on Jan. 1. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Council declines increased wages for 2021

Members will not have wages adjusted for CPI

A vehicle is seen along Mount Sima Road in Whitehorse on May 12. At its Oct. 13 meeting, Whitehorse city council approved the third reading for two separate bylaws that will allow the land sale and transfer agreements of city-owned land — a 127-square-metre piece next to 75 Ortona Ave. and 1.02 hectares of property behind three lots on Mount Sima Road. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Whitehorse properties could soon expand

Land sale agreements approved by council

Most Read