Paul Arsens (1920 – 1997) was born in Ladysmith, British Columbia. He became a significant trendsetter in Victoria’s restaurant and hotel industry. Paul’s Restaurants Ltd. was established in 1938. Paul, and his wife Artie, owned and operated several restaurants, opening a family restaurant named Paul’s Restaurant On Douglas St. at Chatham in 1958. With the success of the restaurant, the pair built the 78-room Paul’s Motor Inn attached to the restaurant.
Bob Hope at Pauls
Image courtesy of Wikipedia
Paul was always up for doing something different and humorous. He would order his billboard advertising hung upside down or sideways to attract more attention. Once he caught the attention of the Boston Globe and New York Times by having his restaurant guests not only decide what price they would pay for dinner but had them ring in their own bills and make their own change!
In the 1970s the Delta Hotel chain purchased Laurel Point, the natural peninsula defining the southern shore of the Inner Harbour’s entrance. The Lekwungen people once used the beautifully unique site for potlatch ceremonies. Delta built the Laurel Wing of the present hotel.
The Arsens purchased the building in 1980, renaming it the Laurel Point Inn (today’s Inn at Laurel Point). In 1989, the Arsens commissioned the renowned Canadian architect Arthur Erickson to design a second wing for the hotel. The Arsens named the addition the Erickson Wing. The result is a series of graded, silver-blue balconies with echoes of cruise ship architecture. Its spacious rooms overlook the harbour, with a cross between modern and classic interior design. The hotel is a welcoming landmark for those visiting Victoria by sea.
In 2007, after nearly 20 years, the Erickson Wing received a facelift. The floor-to-ceiling renovation included a conversion of the lobby-level lounge into Aura, an elegant 66-seat waterfront dining room with a lounge bar and a 58-seat patio, all overlooking the picture-perfect Inner Harbour.
Arsens died in XXXX and Artie, who lived in her beloved Inn at Laurel Point, passed away in 2008. The management team still honours the legacy of the Arsens and the site continues to evolve as one of Victoria’s most beautiful and welcoming hotels.
A few years ago, XXXX Driedger, a friend of the Arsens, fashioned a table at Paul’s restaurant topped with photos of the Arsens, captioning them with the words: beauty, elegance, wisdom and wit.