Former Jamie’s Rainforest Inn staffers Andrew Corrigan, left, and Kenneth David are now Hotel Zed Tofino employees. Pending District of Tofino permit approval, the funky hotel chain hopes to open their Tofino doors in spring 2020. (Nora O’Malley / Westerly News)

Goodbye Rainforest Inn, Aloha Hotel Zed Tofino

“Tofino means a lot to Mandy.”

Jamie’s Rainforest Inn is closed for good.

Effective Jan. 10, 2019, Jamie’s Rainforest Inn, known for its delicious breakfast menu and family-friendly accommodations, forever closed as new owner Mandy Farmer of Accent Inns prepares to transform the property into Hotel Zed Tofino.

About 20 Rainforest employees were let go to accommodate the resort takeover. To ease the transition, Farmer paid the staff two additional months wages and provided free staff accommodations until March 31, notes a press release.

“We really want to do the best we can for the staff,” Farmer, the president and CEO of Hotel Zed, said in the press release. “Closing the doors is never an easy decision to make because you worry about the impact on the great people who have served Jamie’s Rainforest Inn so well.”

Past front desk attendant Melanie Michaud said she was really thankful for the gesture.

“It says a lot about the kind of company they are,” said Michaud, adding that she’s not worried about finding another job.

“It’s Tofino,” she said.

Andrew Corrigan will remain on the property as acting hotel manager throughout the transformation.

“[Hotel Zed] has gone above and beyond to make sure the community knows they want to operate with the community and not just in the community,” said Corrigan.

“Everyone found out on Dec. 5. [The news] was really well received. This is literally the best outcome possible. It wasn’t a situation where it was bare minimum corporate requirement. That’s not the company that this is,” he said.

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation member Kenneth David will also remain on the Hotel Zed property as maintenance crew. He has been with Jamie’s Rainforest for the past five years.

“I’ve enjoyed my time here. I have zero regrets about signing up. We just came off of a really successful summer. I was happy to stay onboard with the team and see where it takes us from here,” said David.

“I’ve worked around town ever since I was 14, in both communities Tofino and Ucluelet. This is the longest I’ve stayed in one place. The atmosphere has always been great for me and I hope to continue down this road for as long as I can take it.”

In Nov. 2018, Farmer collected the Air Canada Business of the Year Award for Accent Inns at the Tourism Industry Association of Canada Awards.

“We’re a family-owned business,” said Accent Inns and Hotel Zed VP of sales and marketing Trina Notman.

“When Mandy decides to do something like this, this is all coming out of their bank account. This is all coming out of their profit. This is all what they want to spend their money on in terms of investing in the people and being the type of company that cares.”

“Tofino means a lot to Mandy. Her first getaway without her parents was a girls’ camping trip to Tofino. Trips to Tofino are a regular thing for her family,” said Notman.

Jamie’s Rainforest Inn was purchased in March 2018 by Accent Inns.

Pending building permit approval from the District of Tofino, Hotel Zed Tofino hopes to be open in the spring of 2020, Notman said.

Accents Inns currently operates five hotels in B.C. and two Hotel Zed properties in Kelowna and Victoria.

The Hotel Zed chain features funky décor and brands itself as being “fun, playful, and approachable.”

Farmer’s first purchase for Hotel Zed Tofino was a gigantic wall Scrabble game for the lobby.

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