Breathing new life into the Florenceville Inn

by | Mar 25, 2024

New owners work to bring hotel back to former glory

Opening in the 1980s, the Florenceville Inn was a local institution for over 40 years in Florenceville-Bristol. However, following a change in owners and struggling during the COVID-19 travel shutdown, it fell into disrepair. Thanks to new owners Abdul Moaz and Moaz Khalid, the previously beloved motel and restaurant are being brought back to their former glory.

Abdul and his father, who have over two decades of experience in commercial property and real estate experience, purchased the motel in January 2023 and immediately developed a vision for the property that went beyond functioning merely as a hotel and restaurant.

“We want it to be a family-friendly community center that offers a premiere experience at affordable prices,” said Abdul. “Everything we’re planning is based on community feedback as far as what they’re looking for.”

Some of the plans include reopening the restaurant as a bar and restaurant offering theme nights, live music, and sports event viewing, reopening the pool for community access, hosting a barbershop, having a community access lounge and games room, becoming a designated snowmobile stop, and installing a fueling station. Within the hotel, Abdul also hopes to partner with local businesses to offer tourism and recreation packages that could include camping, hunting, horseback riding, snowmobiling, and golfing activities.

Abdul said everything will be launched in stages, with the restaurant reopening first and later in March.

“It will be a family BBQ and grill style, with a Middle-Eastern fusion,” said Abdul, stressing that the prices will be affordable for families. The restaurant is approved to seat 200 people, which will allow it to host corporate and fundraising events and private events such as weddings.

The barbershop will open next. John Stevenson, a well-known barber from Hartland with over 20 years of experience, will work there. Barbers will also come from Fredericton and Toronto.

Abdul said that he hoped the pool would be next to open later this spring but could not commit to a specific time, noting that it has required a “lot of repair.”

The pool has already received all new plumbing and a new liner and is in the process of being converted to salt water. However, the concrete surrounding the pool still needs work, ventilation needs to be improved, and some other minor work remains to be completed.

Once open, the pool will be available to the community through day passes. He plans to eventually offer aqua fitness classes, senior packages, and pool party rentals. He also plans to partner with local schools and nursing homes to provide special programming for students and residents.

The lounge and games room, which will be the last to open later this year, will feature games tables and arcade games, which will be open to the community through a day pass.

Abdul admitted that renovating the hotel has been challenging.

“It was in very bad shape when we took it over,” said Abdul. He shared that the hotel has been professionally cleaned and painted, with approximately a quarter of the rooms having received complete renovations with new flooring and furniture.

The breakfast room and dining room have also been renovated. He hopes to finish the rest of the rooms within the following year. Plans also include improving landscaping, adding a playground area, repaving the parking lot, improving lighting, and expanding the patio off the restaurant to allow for outdoor dining, which he hopes will be completed by 2026.

Despite the challenges, Abdul is confident his vision will be a success.

“We see the potential here.”

He noted that he and his father are not phased by the “hurdles, obstacles, and setbacks.” Instead, they are the type of people who “put our heads down, push forward, and persevere.” He says people should stay tuned for news regarding the relaunch of the Florenceville Inn restaurant.

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