A History of Hospitality
In 1978, two years after moving his family to Florida, Bertrand Rioux bought a motel on the Gulf of Mexico, at Treasure Island, to occupy himself during U.S. visits. The following year he acquired a second motel, this time on Boca Ciega Bay, a few minutes from Treasure Island.
In 1984 he became the owner, along with other investors, of a hotel franchise in Matane, Quebec.From 1987 on, the owners undertook major expansion and renovation work, including the addition of a convention centre with a capacity of 400, the largest in Gaspésie at the time.
In 1987, Bertrand Rioux acquired the Monaco des Monts Hotel in Sainte-Anne-des-Monts with the aim of developing a hotel chain in Gaspésie. The same year, he asked his son François to join him on an occasional basis on the hotel division’s board of directors. In July 1989, he invited his son to take over the management of the hotel at Matane and find ways of making it profitable. In 1990, Bertrand Rioux bought out all the other investors, being the sole owner interested in developing the Gaspésie chain further, a move he considered necessary to better position the Gaspésie against various target markets, both domestic and international. His son then took over the management of the hotel group.
In the Spring of 1994, the restaurant La Table du Capitaine, specializing in seafood, was built alongside the Matane hotel. A few weeks later, the Rioux family became owners of the Hotel Le Château Blanc in Bonaventure, one of the jewels of the hotel industry in Gaspésie, where wealthy families from Quebec City, Montréal and even the United States came to fish for salmon on the popular Bonaventure River. An expensive renovation program was launched to restore the lustre to this establishment, with great success. The following Fall, the company bought a small 12-room inn at Percé called the Auberge de la Montagne.
Towards the end of 1996, an important decision was taken by Bertrand and François: to continue running two of the hotels as franchises or set up their own brand. The stakes were considerable, but they opted for freedom and thus Riôtel was born, in January 1997. The name – a blend of “Rioux” and “hotel” – was an immediate success, as was the chain of the same name. An ambitious 5-year renovation project was begun in all the hotels aimed at achieving an additional rating star throughout the chain.
In 1998, it was the turn of the hotel in Florida to join the Riôtel group following significant renovation; it became the Riôtel Island Resort. Bertrand’s other son, Frederic, took over the management.
In Spring 2003, the Riôtel Hospitality Group acquired the most important hotel complex in Percé, the Hotel La Bonaventure sur Mer. This 90-room establishment, located beside the sea and across from the famous Percé Rock, quickly formed a synergy with the other hotels of the group. Following the acquisition, a major renovation program was undertaken and continued to the end of 2005.
Today, the Riôtel Hospitality Group manages nearly 300 rooms and employs some 200 people.