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Charlottetown Inn manager apologizes for staff member rejecting Western P.E.I. guests

SilverBirch Hotels & Resorts have renamed the Best Western Charlottetown hotel the “Charlottetown Inn & Conference Centre”. During the transition, the hotel will remain fully open.
The Charlottetown Inn and Conference Centre. - File

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. - A hotel in Charlottetown is in damage control after several people were told they were not welcome to stay solely because they are from Western P.E.I.

Jasmine Myers, 19, of Tignish says she was “dumbfounded’’ when the Charlottetown Inn and Conference Centre blatantly discriminated against her and her boyfriend because of where they live.

Myers went to check in New Year's Eve around 4 p.m. after booking a room at the hotel.

The female associate working the front desk, after learning Myers is from Tignish, said the hotel is not allowed to check people in who live in West Prince, specifically Tignish, Alberton, O’Leary and Tyne Valley.

“She said ‘I’m sorry but I can’t get you in the room,’’’ recalls Myers.

Myers says four of her friends, who are also from Western P.E.I., were told by the same woman they were not welcome because of where they are from.

A parent of one of the young adults who was turned away from the hotel contacted Hal Perry, MLA for Tignish-Palmer Road, on New Years Eve.

Perry told The Guardian that he called the Charlottetown Inn that night and a female associate confirmed that due to instances in the past, the hotel is banning people from certain communities in West Prince.

“At first I was in shock…anybody that refuses business to a customer based on where they live is wrong,’’ he says.

However, Perry feels “a little better’’ about the situation after speaking with Wayne Cotton, general manager of the Charlottetown Inn.

“It’s not the way we run our business and just a terrible, terrible message…certainly not a company directive.’’
-Wayne Cotton

Cotton told Perry the associate made a mistake.

“I’m hoping that it is a lesson learned and that other businesses don’t make the same decisions or mistakes,’’ says Perry.

“The people up here in Western P.E.I. are generous and they spend their money in Charlottetown.’’

Cotton told The Guardian the associate was in the wrong and “actions were taken.’’ He would not elaborate on how he dealt with the employee.

“We certainly do not target areas, by no means,’’ he stresses, noting roughly 40 people from Western P.E.I. stayed at the hotel over the past week.

“It’s not the way we run our business and just a terrible, terrible message…certainly not a company directive.’’

Poll: Do you think West Prince residents are unfairly stereotyped? 

Cotton says he is trying to reach out, including through an apology posted on the hotel’s Facebook site, that this geographical-based ban is not how the hotel is run.

“I would certainly have an open conversation with anyone who felt slighted,’’ he adds.

Myers says she would never stay at the Charlottetown Inn following the negative experience.

“It’s hard to say what I want done,’’ she adds about her decision to speak publicly about the incident.

“People have to realize that this kind of behaviour is unacceptable. I felt very disrespected.’’

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