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St. Jacobs’ Best Western changes hands

After 13 years of hosting visitors at the Best Western St. Jacobs Country Inn and the Destination Inn and Suites, company founder Larry Martin is on the lookout for new opportunities following an announcement this week that a hotel development and management company with offices in Toronto, India and the United Kingdom have purchased the two Woolwich hotels.

Palm Holdings bought the Best Western St. Jacobs Country Inn and the Destination Inn and Suites in a deal that closed in October, and Martin says the timing worked out just fine for him.

“I had quite a large investor group which was aging,” he said of his reason for selling. “We received an offer that was palatable and it was an opportunity for all of us to exit together.”

The group built the Best Western St. Jacobs Country Inn in 1998 and purchased and expanded the Destination Inn, an independent hotel, in 2005. The Best Western St. Jacobs was not a franchise, but was independently owned by St.

Jacobs Country Inn, which paid a licensing fee and dues to Best Western.

Palm Holdings is described by director Anil Taneja as a family-owned business that’s been in operation for three generations. Including the two local properties, it owns three hotels in Canada, two under construction in India and two in the U.K. It also renovates and manages hotels in the three countries.

“Waterloo has been on our hit list for a very long time,” said Taneja in an interview. “It’s a smaller market in terms of population, but it’s known on a global scale now, which excited us a lot.”

The Best Western St. Jacobs hotel, which has 188 rooms, is on Benjamin Road, near the St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market.

The Destination Inn, with 104 rooms, is on King Street North near Conestoga Mall. The two hotels employ about 70 people in total.

Although plans aren’t final yet, Martin said he’s heard Palm intends to upgrade the St. Jacobs and Waterloo hotels into more luxurious establishments.

“I wish the new owners well,” said the former owner who is now looking to work in the alternative energy industry.

“It has been a good run for us and we have gotten to work with fantastic staff and guests. It’s been a privilege to be part of the community.”

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