Kelowna has been home to a number of historic hotels that each have a unique story.
During this unprecedent time when many establishments are closed, the Captial News takes a trip down memory lane to look at some of the city’s most historical landmarks and architecture — past and present.
Willow Inn Hotel (1928 to 2009)
The Willow Inn housed the Greyhound Bus terminal for years, in addition to being a popular restaurant and working man’s pub. It was also a strip bar and not exactly the tamest place in town. It once stood at 235 Queensway Avenue in Kelowna before being demolished in 2009.
Royal Anne Hotel (1905-Present)
Located in the heart of downtown Kelowna, the Royal Anne Hotel is a city landmark and one of Kelowna’s most nostalgic treasures. Originally named the Palace Hotel by owner John Milligan, the hotel first opened in 1905 with 35 rooms and three floors.
Milligan then sold the hotel to a syndicate of local business who re-named the hotel, Royal Anne, after locally grown cherries in 1929. The new owners built a large addition to the hotel before it infamously burned down due to a furnace fire on Dec. 13, 1971. The current hotel was built and re-opened on Nov. 3, 1975.
Photo: Palace Hotel (1910)
Photo: Royal Anne (1950)
Photo: Royal Anne Fire (1971)
Lakeview Hotel (Established 1982)
Lakeview Hotel erected in 1892 and was built by Archie McDonald across the street from City Park at 1561 Abbott Street in Kelowna. The Lake View Hotel was the first hotel built in Kelowna.
The hotel was often occupied by people from Aberdeen, Washington as well as those from around the Okanagan, who had docked in Kelowna.
Eldorado Arms (1926-Present)
According to the Kelowna Story by Sharron J. Simpson, the Eldorado Arms was originally built as the type of place that genteel society would patronize. The Eldorado Arms was constructed in 1926-27 by the Countess Bubna of Austria. She was born in Scotland as Irene Blair and later married Count Franz Bubna of Austria. The Countess came to Canada shortly after the outbreak of World War I.
The hotel was done in the English style, half-timbered and gabled. The Eldorado Arms was originally located at 4519 Eldorado Road in the Mission area of Kelowna. It was moved by barge to Cook Road, five kilometers down the lake, on March 12 1989. The hotel burned down April 19, 1989, and was rebuilt in 1990.
Photo: Eldorado Arms (1928)
Photo: Eldorado Arms interior (1928)
Bellevue Hotel (1907-1954)
The Bellevue began its life as a family home. Gifford Thomson Sr., his wife Harriet and nine children came from the Shetland Islands in 1892. After a brief time in Benvoulin, they moved to Okanagan Mission, planted an orchard and built the house that was later to become the Bellevue Hotel. They called it Craigielea. The property was later sold, first to A.B. Carle, then to J.H. Baillie, who turned the large house into a hotel about 1907.
In 1954 the property was sold and torn down.
Photo: Bellevue Hotel (1907).
Check out the Historic Hotels and Pubs Facebook Group for more information.