Living the suite life at 97-year-old Admiral Beatty Hotel

Posted on August 12, 2022 | By Alexander Chafe | 0 Comments


A postcard of the Admiral Beatty Hotel dated 1947 (photo credit: W. Tremaine Gard & Son)


Once a social hot spot, the Admiral Beatty Hotel was THE place to stay. As the first luxury hotel in New Brunswick, it hosted political dignitaries, the Queen and other notable guests. Still standing after almost 100 years, the historic building had been transformed into an apartment complex.


Luxurious stay

Plans to build the Admiral Beatty Hotel began in 1923. The hotel was named after Sir David Beatty, a former admiral and British fighting hero. On June 23, 1925, a banquet with over 400 Canadians in attendance marked the opening day.

Standing eight stories tall with 250 rooms, the building was made entirely of stone and brick and designed by well-known architects Ross and Macdonald. The hotel was managed by the United Hotels of America, with investment from Canadian businesses like the Canadian Pacific Railway company.

In response to the booming tourism industry, the Beatty was built in the centre of Saint John on King Square South and Charlotte Street. With restaurants, shopping, theatre and pool halls nearby, the popular area attracted the wealthy. So, the hotel was built with luxury in mind. Each room had its own private bathroom, and the second floor included a ballroom, private dining rooms and a suite specially reserved for royalty.


Advertisements for the Admiral Beatty Hotel (photo credit: The Admiral Beatty Hotel Facebook Page)


Check out time

After operating for 57 years, the Admiral Beatty Hotel went into receivership. To avoid having the historic building demolished, the Rotary Club of Saint John collaborated with the City of Saint John to renovate the hotel into an apartment complex with affordable housing for seniors.

Former Rotary Club President, JC Robert Lockhart spoke of the project: “The Rotary has always been interested in helping youth and seniors, and had a connection with the Beatty since 1925 when we’d have meetings at the hotel. So, it was a natural fit.”

The Rotary got to work fundraising, with initiatives led by William H. Teed, QC, Rotary Club general campaign chairman, and Ross Coates, fundraising campaign chair. Working towards a goal of $350,000 to cover their portion of the project, the club ended up raising $500,000 through community fundraising.


The original mailbox of Admiral Beatty Hotel, which is still in the building and in operation today (photo credit: Narinder P. Singh, Saint John Non-Profit Inc.)


Extended stay

The renovated hotel opened as the Rotary Admiral Beatty Complex in 1986. Hotel rooms were converted into 112 apartments, 20 per cent of which are rented in proportion to tenants’ income (for fixed-income seniors). The remaining apartments are rented on the lower end of market value rates, so living in the building remains relatively affordable.

Narinder Singh, general manager of Saint John Non-Profit Housing commented: “It’s a great example of mixed-income housing where people of all backgrounds can live together.”

The ground floor remains commercial space, which is currently occupied by a podiatrist office, an activewear and sporting goods store, the Church of St. Andrew and St. David and other businesses.


The Admiral Beatty Hotel building in 2005 (photo credit: Canada’s Historic Places)


Upgrading amenities

Managed by Saint John Non-Profit Housing Inc. today, there are plans to update the exterior of the Rotary Admiral Beatty Complex and common areas on the ground floor in the near future.

With solid foundations, the Admiral Beatty Hotel remains after 97 years.


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