Oak Bay hotelier named best in BC

Oak Bay Beach Hotel GM honoured by BC Hotel Association

Hotel Manager Michelle Le Sage enjoys running the Oak Bay Beach Hotel. Submitted photo

An Oak Bay hotelier deemed the best in BC by her peers, is already looking to the next acclaim for her team.

Oak Bay Beach Hotel General Manager Michelle Le Sage was named Hotelier of the Year by the British Columbia Hotel Association, which recognizes excellence, innovation, and creativity demonstrated by a deserving hotelier.

“It is a huge honour,” Le Sage said. “When you do something and you’re so passionate about it and you’re recognized for it – it takes your breath away a little bit.”

She recalls volunteering with the association 24 years ago and dreaming of her future in hotels.

“There was no doubt in my mind right then and there what I was going to do with my career,” she said.

Le Sage came to the Oak Bay establishment in early 2012, prior to its official opening that December. The Oak Bay Beach Hotel subsequently faced myriad challenging circumstances including ownership changes.

Le Sage was steadfast in her resolve to lead the team and demonstrated excellence in leadership in the midst of recent ownership changes.

“I’ve never been one to shy away from challenging situations,” she said. “Here the challenges have been more on the ownership side and it makes it difficult to have stability in your day-to-day. We’ve really tried to keep all that stuff away from employees; keep that at a level that shouldn’t affect them. At the end of the day we’re still hoteling.”

Throughout her tenure, the hotel gained recognition as one of the top hotels in Canada and is currently operating with one of the highest occupancy and average daily rates in the Victoria market.

“I surround myself with great people. You make sure of the quality of the people. It’s a journey from the heart,” she said. “I’ve enjoyed every step.”

She looks now to add accolades to the entire team, with a realistic goal of being named a top employer in Canada by 2020.

“Being rated as one of the top hotels continually shows that our team has weathered the storm,” she said. “We want to become one of the top employers in Canada. Our goal is 2020. So we’ll focus on the people, the backbone of the hotel.”