Get to know: Sean Billing, Managing Partner, The Frontenac Club
Tell us about your business.
We are Kingston’s first boutique hotel, located at the corner of King and William Streets. There was a real opportunity to bring a level of luxury and service that didn’t exist in Kingston. Hotels and restaurants in town are fantastic – we have great partners. But there wasn’t a hotel that our travelers might be used to if they’re staying in New York or in Europe of Los Angeles or Quebec City.
When we contemplated this hotel, we thought we would create something that wouldn’t look out of character in any of those destination locations and bring the kind of quality Kingston that this city deserves.
We’ve got 20 luxury guest rooms at the Club and a wonderful bar at the Bank. Our building was originally a bank built in 1845, the first branch to be purpose-built in Ontario.
We’ve turned this into a place for people to gather – we’ve got a wine club and we’re launching a cocktail club. We do high-end small weddings as well as business events, and we have also hosted car launches with Nissan, Subaru, Toyota, and Lexus. These are fun opportunities for us to not only showcase the Club but also downtown Kingston.
The pandemic’s been pretty rough on everybody. For us, we were delighted with the response of the community and our community partners – like the Chamber, the Downtown BIA and Tourism Kingston – everybody really got down to really to trying to help small business out.
We felt a tremendous amount of support from the community. When you can only travel and eat regionally, we found that Kingstonians and the surrounding region were terrific to deal with.
Any holiday specials?
We are selling gift certificates which were really popular last year – in particular, we saw a lot of Kingstonians buying for friends and relatives who would be visiting the following year. We’ve already had some of those people call back and do it again because their friends and relatives really enjoyed the opportunity to travel and stay at the Club.
We are a big participant in promotions through Visit Kingston or the Downtown BIA – the Downtown Dollars are redeemable here.
Have you seen a lot of staycationers?
One of the things that’s been a lot of fun for Kingstonians and regional travellers is that they’ve almost been forced to rediscover their own backyard. A place like the Frontenac Club affords you the best of both worlds because it is new and many people haven’t had the opportunity to stay here. It really does feel like leaving the city and treating yourself and indulging a little bit in something you might not normally get the chance to do.
We’ve been finding a lot of local residences are really enjoying that rediscovery process as they come back to eat in the restaurants and re-experience downtown Kingston. Sometimes you take for granted what you’ve got in your own back yard. It’s wonderful to have people come and staycation with us.
What are your favorite parts of Kingston?
My wife and I have worked in the hotel industry for a long time, and Kingston was one of the few destinations in Ontario where I would have opened a hotel like this. It’s such an incredible downtown. I think we take it for granted in Kingston how wonderful this downtown is, how vibrant and alive it is.
I love the history, the architecture, the heritage buildings, and being a block away from the water. There’s so much going on here, and as the waterfront continues to go through its revitalization, Kingston becomes a stronger and stronger destination.
My son loves it here – he’s 13. He loves the history and exploring and the game rooms and shopping. There’s a little something for everybody in Kingston. I’ve come to really love this place.
What are your go-to spots
The Red House is a great place to have a beer. There are so many great places to eat so to single one out wouldn’t be fair.
We love the escape rooms – my son and his buddies love it and I think they are very cool as well. The Screening Room is such a treasure for us to have downtown. When I have people come to town who haven’t experienced the 1000 Islands before, getting them out on the cruise lines is fantastic.
There’s really no shortage of things to do. The Agnes Etherington Museum is a world-class attraction within our own city limits. I’m a tourism partner with the Kingston Penitentiary Tours; each year, they’ve gotten stronger and better.
For the outdoor enthusiast, the K&P Trail is terrific. We’ve got great running and conservation areas locally. Within 15 minutes of Kingston, you can be a million miles away.
Who do you partner with locally?
A big part of what we do is working with producers in Prince Edward County. At any given time we feature up to a dozen different producers, whether they offer chocolate or coffee or wine or personal services for our guests, such as spas. We try and do as much as we can locally with our food and beverages and other products.
Small and medium businesses create nine out of ten Canadian jobs.
– Statistics Canada –
Canadian businesses have taken on tens of billions of dollars in debt, and many are struggling to repay.
– Statistics Canada –
At least half of every dollar spent at local businesses stays local.
– multiple North American studies –
Kingston was one of the Canadian economies most impacted by COVID-19.
– Conference Board of Canada –
Small businesses need our help.
We are the trusted advocate and tireless champion for local businesses. Our fundamental objective is to generate more business activity for the community. The chamber initiates business-to-business commerce and creates opportunities for networking and connecting local professionals.
Your local independent directory of Kingston-area businesses where the business owners keep their own listings up to date with news and specials and you can map the location of each business.
Get closer to what you love in Kingston. To help you make the most of your trip, recieve a $100 pre-paid VISA gift card when you book a qualifying two-night package.
Support Local Giveaway is a FREE site that allows you the chance to win a daily prize that supports local businesses.
Tell us about the small business where you took your first date, where you had your first job, or where they treated you right.