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Huit Huit Tours' newest development Dorset Suites Annex, under construction. The hotel is targeted to open Dec. 1. - photo courtesy of NCC Development Ltd.

$4 million hotel under construction

Thandie Vela
Northern News Services
Published Monday, September 26, 2011

A $4-million "state-of-the-art" hotel is under construction in the hamlet of Cape Dorset.

The Huit Huit Tours project is targeted to be complete by Dec. 1, said Clarence Synard, NCC Development Ltd. construction manager.

"This is not a traditional building in the North," Synard said, slamming developers who build "square boxes" in the communities "just to save money and maximize profits."

"A state-of-the-art building like this does a lot for the community," he said. "This is a remarkable project and it is nice to see how all of our hard work is coming to fruition."

NCC was contracted by Huit Huit owners Kristiina and Timmun Alariaq to build the hotel, tentatively called Dorset Suites Annex, described as the grander version of their established hotel Dorset Suites, also located in central Cape Dorset.

Kristiina said she and her husband have been developing accommodations for visitors for almost 25 years, including three guest houses which they purchased and renovated in the hamlet.

The great majority of visitors to Huit Huit accommodations are professionals working for the government, Alariaq said, including doctors, lawyers, dentists, contractors, tradespeople and consultants. Tourists are also drawn to the mountainous landscape of the hamlet, which is also known as the Inuit art capital.

"People liked to stay with us so we built Dorset Suites," Alariaq said of the original, 6,000-square-foot, seven-suite hotel built five years ago.

Greater demand for accommodations over the years prompted the Alariaqs to develop the annex.

"We see that there definitely is a need for more accommodation," she said. "So we decided we would build."

NCC began construction on the one-story, 7,000-square-foot annex last month. On the same property as Dorset Suites, each suite is being built with a balcony, Synard said, with an uninterrupted view of downtown Cape Dorset and the ocean. Another key feature of the new hotel, which is being designed by Iqaluit-based company Livingstone Architect, is a full-sized commercial kitchen, which will allow large groups and contractors to serve meals, Alariaq said.

"It's an investment for the community," Alariaq said, noting the majority of the funding for the project is from Atuqtuarvik Corporation, a lending agency for Inuit-owned businesses.

The job is on schedule, Synard said, and the grand opening is scheduled for Dec. 1.

"We are anticipating 100 per cent completion and occupancy for the grand opening," he said.

About 18 workers are employed at the work-site, including six from Cape Dorset.

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