The Walper Hotel was built in 1893 by Abel Walper at the corner of King & Queen Street in the growing village of Berlin. This location had been a two-story whitewashed inn & gathering point since 1820, owned by various local businessmen, including Frederick Gaukel, John Roat, and Curry Walper. When it burned down in 1892, Abel Walper committed to building the finest hotel the town had ever seen. It was rebuilt as a four-story, red brick building, which is still the base of the hotel today.
In 1908, Joseph A. Zuber bought the hotel from the Walper Brothers, seeing the hotel’s potential in the middle of a growing community. A”er three successful decades, The Zuber family expanded the hotel in 1925, adding two guest floors. The 5th floor was equipped with running water and additional baths for guests, although the ‘luxury’ of ensuite bathrooms was still a few years away!
The renovation of 1925 also brought a formal dining room and a men’s beverage
the room into the property as well as the addition of The Crystal Ballroom at the site of
the former Star Theatre.
The hotel faced difficulties and disrepair through the late 1970s and early 1980s. Sadly, many of the original fixtures and furnishing of the hotel were sold. There was much debate around what to do with the vacant building (including calls to tear it down and widen Queen Street) but a group of concerned citizens launched a campaign to save the hotel and succeeded.
The 1980s saw The Walper Hotel reopened with award-winning restorations. It was designated an
Ontario Heritage Building. Despite this, issues with the old structure remained.
In 2013, Perimeter Development Corporation purchased the hotel with a big vision to restore it to its place of prominence. Over $10 million dollars was spent completely renovating essential structural and mechanical systems, all guest rooms, and public spaces. Significant repairs were also made to the exterior of the building.
The Walper Hotel reopens to guests and welcomes the community with open arms. The hotel returns to being a venue for hosting weddings, social events, business meetings, and more. Loka (the new 2nd-floor lounge) and Barrister’s Lounge are open to guests and the public.
TWH Social opens under the hotel, a spot that, according to local legend, has hidden tunnels used for rum-running during prohibition. The Walper Hotel & TWH Social offer elevated fare in the region, focusing on seasonal menus, housemade dishes and consciously-sourced ingredients.
The Walper Hotel has become part of the JdV by Hya! line of boutique hotels worldwide. While still being locally owned and operated by passionate locals, this affiliation connects The Walper to a wide network of global travelers.
The hotel continues the long tradition of weddings (for brides whose mothers and grandmothers were also married there!), corporate meetings and social gatherings, including milestone birthdays and baby showers.
The Walper immerses itself in the community, supporting such endeavours as KWAG, Big Brothers Big Sisters Waterloo Region, The Humane Society of Kitchener Waterloo and Stratford Perth, Compass Refugee Services and other local organizations.
Did you know?
The Walper Hotel was initially built at a total cost of $75,000. At the opening in May 1893, guests could have a room, three meals a day, a pitcher of water, gas lamp lighting, a spot to hitch their horse, and the use of one of the hotel’s common area bathrooms for just $4.50 per week.