The reopening of Ramada is a game changer for those visiting Cochrane and staging community events.

General manager Sebastien Laskow is thrilled to be back in the hotel that was his baby for seven years before it was destroyed by fire two years ago.

It was slow during their soft opening on Feb. 23, but bookings are increasing as word spreads. Cochrane was left with an acute room shortage when fire claimed it two years ago this month.

"We're excited to come back at the tail end of youth sports seasons, and then moving forward will be tourism," says Laskow. "So, we're ready to welcome people." 

It offers 89 rooms, 19 more than before, plus many enhancements in a fresh new environment.

sebastien 2General manager Sebastien Laskow at the check-in desk of the main lobby.

"I think the biggest changes that people will notice is just that it's been completely modernized from the tech in the rooms to the general appearance of the hotel itself," says Laskow.

"We have two small board rooms now that we didn't have in the past and those accommodate 15 guests. And then the games room, which we had previously, has been expanded. We were able to lay it out differently, so it's a lot bigger than it was before. And we have our same breakfast room, but again, more seating with more space."

The games adjacent to the main lobby is truly special. It offers foosball, pinball and virtual arcade games for their guests.

"And we've got the old classic Pac-Man and all those different kinds of games over there," he says. "And then the board games are nice, too, for families to sit and enjoy."

The pool area, that includes a giant slide and hot tub, was the only part of the hotel that survived the fire. It's being renovated from top to bottom and isn't expected to be open until late May, early June. Other finishing touches continues to be added, and all rooms will be open by March.

Watching the hotel burn down was especially hard for Laskow.

"I've been here for seven years, so it had become my baby, so to speak. When everything transpired two years ago in February, it was really hard to see. My team and I had put so much work into this building, and just watch it all go away was difficult."

Besides providing accommodations, the Ramada was commonly used for meetings and community events. He says they'll pick up right where they left off.

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"We're really excited to reopen and get involved with the community again."

A grand reopening celebration is in the works.