The Larix Hotel: The evolution continues for this prime location in Kimberley, B.C.
Four partners bought the former Chateau Kimberley and one young partner is managing the boutique hotel
With Kimberley, B.C., winning the Best Small Town in 2022, it’s perfect timing for a young hotelier to run with the victory. This mountain city recently won The Search for B.C.'s Best Small Town, created by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC radio).
Joseph Raymond is just 23 years old and is the managing partner of The Larix Hotel, previously called The Chateau Kimberley. Three other partners are silent.
Thanks to Raymond’s mother, who came up with the idea, the luxury hotel has been renamed The Larix Hotel to pay homage to the abundant larch trees whose needles turn a gorgeous golden colour in autumn before they drop.
Located only one block northwest of the Platzl, the hotel is a prime location near shops, restaurants, bars and other attractions and amenities. It has been completely renovated with 20 rooms for rent.
As with most of Kimberley’s older buildings, the hotel’s history is entwined with the historic Sullivan Mine.
“The building was built in Moyie in the 1920s to be the head office for the Sullivan Mine,” said Raymond. “It was moved by train in the 1930s to where we are today.”
The hotel was also a hostel at one point in its evolution.
Raymond answered a few questions about his journey to becoming a hotelier and the amenities of this downtown accommodation.
When did you four purchase the hotel? Where did you move from?
The hotel was officially taken over October 1, 2021, and re-opened January 14, 2022. I originally moved to Kimberley when I was eight years old. I graduated high school at Selkirk Secondary School. Then I spent five years in Victoria studying finance. I moved back in summer 2021.
Do you have a background in hospitality? Why did you make this move to be a hotelier?
I have not previously been in the hotel business. However, I was employed as a food and beverage server during my schooling. I decided to purchase the hotel with my partners because of our belief in the growth of Kimberley. The opportunity The Larix provided me to stay in Kimberley and be a part of this great community was too good to pass up.
What is the history of this property? When was this heritage building built?
Previously owned by Ted and Val Fitch, the Chateau Kimberley and Art Gallery was a very well-run establishment. The building was built in Moyie in the 1920s to be the head office for the Sullivan Mine. It was moved by train in the 1930s to where we are today. In 2001 the Sullivan Mine was closed. The Chateau Kimberley opened three years later in 2004.
How did you come up with the new name of The Larix Hotel? Who designed your lovely new logo of a larch tree in autumn?
I’m proud to say my mom came up with the name. Larix is the genus of larch trees that change colour in the fall. The logo was designed by our graphic designer, Craig Mayer.
Please describe the renovations and changes you’ve made to the hotel so far.
When we took over the Chateau, our goal was to give guests a luxury experience that stayed true to Kimberley. As such, we updated the whole interior. New carpet, paint, bathrooms and décor are some of the many changes we’ve made. We welcome anyone to come see the changes for themselves—we love to show people around anytime we are open.
What are the amenities that make this a luxury hotel?
Our amenities aim to provide luxury in a small package. We have custom-built beds, Egyptian cotton linens and 100 per cent Canadian down duvets to provide guests with a good night’s rest. Our toiletries are all made locally at The Healing Hollow, and our bar soaps are made in Creston at Seams ‘n’ Suds. We also offer an all-day refreshment station with gourmet coffee and baked goods.
How will your location right near the Platzl help your business?
The location of The Larix is one its main advantages. Most accommodations in Kimberley are up at the ski hill. The Larix offers a different experience than most by catering to people that want to be closer to the shops, restaurants and bars. This will benefit not only us but all the small businesses of downtown Kimberley.
How do you advertise? Which market are you going after? Which seasons will be your busiest?
We advertise in a few ways. Social media is a big opportunity, and we have an Instagram account you can follow @thelarixhotel. However, we believe word of mouth is an overlooked form of advertising. Our open house showing in March was a huge success, and we love what people are saying about our renovations. We hope to take care of any visitors in Kimberley here to see friends and family. We believe that the locals can help us spread the word. Our rooms are catered toward individual travelers and couples, with unique and luxurious suites designed to create a memorable experience for a special occasion or a night on your way through town. We already have multiple wedding parties booked for this summer and expect the season to be very busy. With the year-round nature of Kimberley tourism, summer will bring golfers and outdoor enthusiasts while next winter will bring skiers and families.
What future plans do you have for the hotel and what are you most excited about?
We are very excited about the future of The Larix. Two of the main goals for us in the future are utilizing the lower level and the land behind the hotel. Our plans for the space on the lower level include a restaurant/lounge. The usage of the plot behind the hotel is less set but we are aiming to one day expand and build another wing.