OWN IT 2018


The Walper Hotel |  20 Queen St S  |  walper.com

photo of The Walper Hotel's Lokal lounge  

"Our opportunity was obvious, we have something very special here," says Domini Baldasaro, General Manager of The Walper Hotel. "We have a space that is historically known in people's memories, but we also have a role in helping represent Kitchener to the outside world."

The responsibility and seriousness The Walper takes in this role is obvious. The renovations, or more honestly put, the overhaul which was completed in 2017, focused on making this hotel the best possible boutique hotel in the region.


"When we came into town to look around, Lokal was absolutely stunning," says Emma Tarswell of the second-floor space at The Walper where she and her husband Daniel Kamminga recently hosted their wedding.


"We had a seven-piece band in the Crystal Ballroom and we just wanted a total party. Having great food was important to us too. I'm vegetarian, so I knew I wanted apps that everyone was going to love."


"Originally, the second floor was not part of the renovation. We were only planning on doing the guest rooms on the third, fourth and fifth floors. But, as we started to see the designs coming together we knew we needed to do everything," says Domini.  


"One of the most important aspects of what our team has done is to be verythoughtful about every item that is part of the hotel. We were very clear about the hotel wanting to represent the maker and creative cultures of Downtown Kitchener and chose pieces that represented that," she says. "Our furniture, lighting and feature accessories around the hotel are all hand-selected and very intentional."


There's a relentless focus on experience from all the people working at The Walper Hotel. From their pride in their unique coffee program (we hear that everyone in the hospitality industry is coffee-obsessed), to their use of Zingle, a texting app for guests to communicate with staff before, during and after their stay, the energy and dedication to service is noticeable.


"One of the things that is really important to us is that we built this for our guests, but it is always open to the public and we welcome the community to come in and share in this space," Domini says of the Lokal room.


Domini, known to most as Dom,  knew she wanted to work in hotels from a very young age. Her early years were filled with trips to the Kitchener Market  and stopping at the bank at King and Queen, eyeing up the old building across the street. After so many years of imagining her career in The Walper, her first shift as a front desk staffer left her in tears.


"It was just in such disarray. There were holes in the carpet, in the walls. Motel sheets on the beds and there weren't enough TVs for the guest rooms. But the guests, there was something special about the guests. They were, and still are, discerning."


Transitioning into different roles over her past eight years at The Walper has given Dom a front row seat to change in the hotel, and in Downtown Kitchener. Along with the conventional tourists you'd expect, The Walper Hotel has recently hosted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, former Governor General David Johnson, and a number of oft-returning tech company staff members. These out-of-town employees usually arrive on a Sunday and stay throughout the week, heading back to their hometowns on Thursday or Friday.


Frequent visitors gain access to The Walper's personalized trunk program, which allows guests to store some of their commonly used items at the hotel, from toiletries to gym clothes to laptop chargers.


According to Dom it's touches like the trunk program that make The Walper something special.


This sentiment rings true with Tarswell and Kamminga, the aforementioned newlywed couple.


"The bar even developed a signature drink for our wedding, people loved that. Everything just went great, the space is absolutely beautiful and we loved getting photos in the outdoor spaces."  


A world-class boutique hotel feels like the mark of a great city. Kitchener has got that box checked.


Congratulations and a special thanks to Emma Tarswell and Daniel Kamminga for allowing us a behind-the-scenes look at their October 21, 2017 wedding! 



Photography: Jeff Shuh  |  @jeffshuh  |  jeffshuh.com  +  Jens Langen  |  langenstudios.com




chandelier inside of The Walper Hotel



photo of Emma Tarswell and Daniel Kamminga dancing on their wedding night in The Walper Hotel



pouring drinks at Emma Tarswell and Daniel Kamminga's wedding at The Walper Hotel





Also located within the  Walper Hotel Block:  Living Fresh Flower Studio @living_fresh  |  livingfresh.ca  goodvibes juice co.  goodvibesjuice.com  |   @goodvibesjuicecompany  Walper Barber Shop 519-745-6481  |  walperbarbershop.com  Walper Tobacco 519-745-9984  |  walpertobacco.com  TWH Social twhsocial.com  |  @twh_social  Coffee Culture coffeeculturecafe.com  |   @coffeeculturecafe