When two former high-tech executives from Seattle wanted to make a major life change, they ventured like modern-day explorers into the boutique hotel business in a small Canadian mountain town.
Rebekah and Stephen Jenkins had been coming to Revelstoke in eastern British Columbia to ski for a number of years, when they decided to take their lives in a new direction. They bought a heritage building in the town center and transformed it into the boutique-style Explorers Society Hotel.
Here’s the scoop:
The stately brick building that’s now home to the Explorers Society Hotel was built in 1911 and once housed a tobacco shop and pool hall. It’s located right downtown within walking distance of many of Revelstoke‘s shops and restaurants. In the summer, there’s free live music in the plaza around the corner from the hotel every night.
It’s about a 10-minute drive from the hotel to Revelstoke Mountain Resort, and about the same distance to the start of the scenic 16-mile Meadows in the Sky Parkway in Mount Revelstoke National Park, which climbs into the mountains for great views and a network of hiking trails.
Guest Rooms and Amenities
The nine guest rooms at the Explorers Society Hotel — six standard rooms and three suites — are located on the second floor. While not large, the standard rooms have been stylishly updated, mixing historic features like white pine paneling and original brick walls with exposed concrete and other chic contemporary elements.
White down and cotton linens with geometric-patterned black-and-grey throws top the beds. Minibars are stocked with local craft beers and cider, and you can make your morning coffee with the french press pots provided.
The bathrooms mix modern and historic features, too, with marble counters, brass fixtures, and soft sweatshirt-style bathrobes.
The three suites are larger rooms, similarly furnished, with the addition of a sitting area and bar/kitchenette.
Wi-fi is complimentary and available throughout the building. In-room TVs are internet-connected, and staff provide a mobile number so you can reach them via text to resolve any questions or issues.
If you need to store skis, bikes, or other equipment, you can secure them in the basement gear room, which is also equipped with a boot dryer.
Facilities and Services
The hotel’s Quartermaster Eatery, located off the lobby, specializes in “grilled, slow-cooked, and smoked” dishes, from Peruvian-style chicken with smashed yams, to “happy pork ribs” with apple salsa, to steaks from locally raised beef.
You can also stop in for cocktails and snacks like crisp fried plantain chips or maple duck confit drumsticks.
On the top floor, guests can hang out in the spacious lounge — one of the property’s nicest features. It’s furnished with mid-century modern couches and chairs, grouped around a fireplace or in a cozy nook with books to borrow and a flat-screen TV with cable access.
The Explorers team sets out a self-serve breakfast on the bar in the guest lounge, including yogurt, fresh fruit, granola, and a hot dish like a quiche, along with coffee and tea. Let the staff know in advance, and they can accommodate specific dietary preferences.
From the lounge, you can go out onto the roof terrace, where both a sitting area and an outdoor hot tub have views over the downtown buildings to the surrounding mountains.
And if you soak in that rooftop hot tub, looking out over the mountains as the sun begins to set, perhaps, like Rebekah and Stephen Jenkins, you, too, might be motivated to change your life — or at least to stay a little longer in this Canadian adventure town.
Nightly double room rates at the Explorers Society Hotel start at CAD$199 in the warmer months and at CAD$259 during the winter season. Book early if you’re coming to ski or snowboard; winter is peak season here. Check rates at the hotel website and book your stay or try an OTA like Travelocity or Hotels.com
For more activities and accommodations in Revelstoke, also see the Hotel-Scoop feature, Where to Stay in Revelstoke.
Hotel feature by Vancouver-based travel, food, and feature writer Carolyn B. Heller. Photos © Carolyn B. Heller. Tourism Revelstoke arranged my stay at the Explorers Society Hotel for review purposes.