Daughter of legendary Vancouver hotelier Dennis Forristal and former manager of the Bayshore Hotel, has been named general manager of the Loden luxury boutique hotel in downtown Vancouver.
Like father, like daughter.
Edel Forristal, daughter of legendary Vancouver hotelier Dennis Forristal and former manager of the Bayshore Hotel, has been named general manager of the Loden luxury boutique hotel in downtown Vancouver.
She is one of a small band of women who have managed to rise to the top in Vancouver's luxury hotel industry. The 43-year-old did it the old-fashioned way: working her way up from the bottom.
"I started as a pantry girl at the Bayshore, much against my father's wishes. The chef hired me behind my father's back and cleared the way for me," she said yesterday.
It was the start of an enduring romance with wine and food and, finally, the opportunity to run her own hotel.
"And, yes, I really did peel spuds. That is what pantry girls did. But my real forte was carving radish roses. It's what we did on a Sunday afternoon. You took your paring knife and sat down at a table with others and carved up a 25 pound bag of radishes," she said.
She also learned how to guarantee that no one claimed the bus seat beside her as she returned to the North Shore after work. "Shortly before I left work each day I would peel the garlic for the next."
While the food and beverage side consumed her early days in the business, Forristal showed a flair for getting new properties up and running. The Loden will be her third hotel launch and this time she gets to do it on her own.
Forristal vows it will open its doors in late October to early November.
She was active in opening the Pan Pacific Hotel Vancouver and the Four Seasons Whistler.
Other senior roles saw her working at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, the Ramada Renaissance Hotel, the Vancouver Convention and Exhibition Centre and as director of operations at Vancouver's Terminal City Club & Hotel.
It was at the Pan Pacific where she crossed paths with Susan Gomez, who broke new ground in becoming the first female general manager of a major Vancouver hotel.
Forristal learned a great deal from the skilled and respected Gomez, regarding her as a mentor.
Behind the glitz and glamour of luxury hotels the work can be long, grinding and frenetic.
Forristal knows she will be putting in 18-hour days over the next few weeks to bring her new charge to the market. She is more than up for the challenge. After all, it's her bread and butter.
"You never clock-watch in this business, because you don't have time to," she said. "The one thing about this industry is it is never boring. You never know what or who is going to walk through the door.
"We get that chance every day. It is a vibrant exciting industry and it is a rare day I get everything done I think I will," she said.
"Getting the chance to build something is simply an amazing opportunity," she said.
The $35 million, 77-room, 14-storey property includes seven suites, a 1,600-square-foot penthouse suite and lobby restaurant and bar. It's the first Canadian venture for California-based Kor Hotel Group and is being developed by the Amacon Group of Vancouver.
And does her father offer any advice? "Not much, but he is very proud of me."