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Fairmont Royal York Integrates EV Chargers to Meet Guest Demand and Advance Sustainability Mission


One of the most iconic buildings in Toronto, the Fairmont Royal York hotel is perhaps best associated with luxury accommodation, timeless elegance, and fine dining. But in more recent years, the hotel has also made a strong push to become a leader in sustainability. Improvements to its heating and cooling systems helped to drive the elimination of 80% of building emissions, and other initiatives to reduce food waste and plastic consumption are also in place.

Now, the hotel has built upon this commitment with the rollout of five electric vehicle chargers to its valet parking area. As the number of EV owners grows, these chargers will provide new convenience to hotel and restaurant guests alike, with room to add more as needed in the years ahead.

A Rising Trend in Guest Expectations

According to Herman Gonzalez, Senior Director of Engineering and Building Projects, unmet demand for EV charging stations made clear a gap in the hotel’s amenities: “Previously, we had only one EV charger,” he said. “Guests were consistently requesting for such a service, and at the time, we unfortunately could not fully meet the demand.”

To bridge that gap, Fairmont Royal York partnered with Kingsett Capital, the building’s ownership group, which has worked with SWTCH on other projects in the past. Seeking to add chargers not as a revenue source, but rather, as an added convenience for guests, the decision was made to install them in the valet parking area to grant an additional level of service to EV drivers seeking to replenish their batteries while staying or dining at the hotel.

“It allows us to deliver the level of service and convenience we pride ourselves on at Fairmont Royal York.”

Herman Gonzalez

Senior Director of Engineering and Building Projects, Fairmont Royal York

“It doesn’t matter if you’re staying with us for several days or enjoying a lovely meal for the night. If you’re using the valet parking service, you’re also welcome to get your car charged up,” said Gonzalez.

For guests, there is no fee to use the chargers apart from the base cost of using valet parking. This enhanced feature offers EV drivers peace of mind during their stay at Fairmont Royal York, eliminating the need to search for downtown charging stations, and mitigating extra costs and schedule disruptions.

Royal-York-Hotel-12 (Custom)
5 SWTCH Chargers situated in the hotel valet

“We don’t look at this as a revenue opportunity,” Gonzalez explained. “In practice, it’s really about going the extra mile for our guests. They require a charging station, and so we are providing them with a solution, and they don’t have to worry about anything else. It’s as simple as that.”

Addressing Challenges and Future-Proofing Infrastructure

As is expected of older buildings, the hotel’s 1929 construction did present a few challenges to installing EV charging. An outdated 1957 electrical panel had to be upgraded to add new capacity to support the chargers, and running cabling from the panel to the chargers was tricky.

Despite this relative complexity and the expense that went along with it, the hotel identified a long-term solution, recognizing the importance of addressing both now essential building infrastructure and addressing guest expectations.

The result? Five new level-2 chargers, each capable of 80 amp service, are now available to valet parking guests at the hotel. Typical L2 chargers only have a 40 amp current, which means guests who make use of this amenity will be treated to an even higher standard of service—and a more fully charged battery—than they likely expect when opting to plug in.

The project was also completed with the intention of revisiting the offering within the next three years to see whether additional chargers are needed to serve a potential increase in demand. To simplify this likely expansion, the team at Fairmont Royal York chose to pre-wire conduits for future installations during an anticipated valet parking area renovation. Should the need arise to add more chargers to the mix, this preparation will surely save their team a fair bit of work and expense.

Strategic Choice for Convenience, Sustainability, and Visibility

When choosing to proceed with its EV charging station project, Fairmont Royal York moved quickly in selecting SWTCH as its partner, thanks to Kingsett Capital’s positive prior experience working with the company. It enabled them to move forward with the installation with little delay, which was also paid for, in part, by funding from the NRCan ZEVIP 50% program.

Looking ahead, SWTCH’s software platform will provide the hotel with essential visibility into metrics such as usage, demand, and kilowatts consumed by the chargers. This access to data will empower the hotel to make more informed decisions about future expansions, and will also assist with ensuring service remains at the level of quality the hotel and its guests expect. Any chargers that experience issues will be caught immediately and flagged by the team at SWTCH as needing inspection by Fairmont Royal York’s maintenance partners.

A Powerful Message in Sustainability Leadership

While installing EV chargers is indeed a necessary step for the hotel to properly meet the needs of its guests, it also aligns well with its aforementioned commitment to sustainability on a broader level.
Hotels of this prominence receive a great deal of attention, and this is something Fairmont Royal York recognizes and embraces. Whether in reducing its carbon footprint, eliminating its use of single-use guest-facing plastics and reducing overall food waste by 25% in 2024, or installing great EV chargers for guests to use, the team at the hotel is eager to seize the chance to inspire others across the hospitality industry.

Royal-York-Hotel-03 (Custom)
Wall installation detailing their sustainability pledge to becoming a Zero Carbon building

“Sustainability matters—to more and more of our guests, to our team, and to our colleagues across the hospitality industry,” said Gonzalez. “And so for us, the investment and resources we allocate on things like our EV chargers, on upgrading our HVAC systems, and for additional enhancements —it’s very much worth it. It helps us show not only our guests but also the hospitality industry that we prioritize our hotel’s overall sustainability and its impact on our local community in Toronto.”

And as Gonzalez pointed out, these investments have the potential to produce an impact beyond Toronto, too. “For our ownership group, it was a priority for KingSett Capital that the hotel demonstrates its ESG leadership to serve as an example that if our heritage property can achieve the Zero Carbon Building – Performance Standard certification by the Canada Green Building Council, in addition to our sustainable initiatives, that it’s possible for investor groups and corporations to make similar investments today, to contribute to a better world tomorrow.”

Ready to add EV charging to your hospitality business?

Would you like help introducing flexible, scalable EV charging to your hotel, restaurant, or other hospitality business?  

Connect with SWTCH to learn how you can meet rising EV demand, access vital incentives, and track your sustainability impact.

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