By Steve Hubrecht

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Fairmont Hot Springs Resort has sold. The 1,200 acre resort is one of the largest employers in the Columbia Valley and a major player in the valley’s tourism industry.

The resort has been up for sale, on and off, for years and rumours about its impending sale (or rumours about why the much prophesied impending sale did not come to pass) have buzzed through the valley for just as long.

Earlier this month the long swirling rumours became fact as Aldesta Hotels and Resorts announced it had bought the resort, which includes not only the famous mineral hot springs, but also two golf courses and the Fairmont ski hill.

“We are thrilled to add the Fairmont Hot Springs Resort to our portfolio of exceptional properties,” Aldesta vice-president of hotel operations Stuart Hammond said in a news release.

The Pioneer sought further details from Hammond on Aldesta’s plans for the resort, but was unable to reach him for comment prior to press deadline.

Aldesta also owns two other major B.C. resorts: Harrison Hot Springs Resort and Spa in Harrison Hot Springs, and Poets Cove Resort and Spa on Pender Island.

Last summer the resort began listing with a new real estate company; Colliers International’s Unique Properties division. 

“We went with a competitive bid type of approach and we received multiple expressions of interest,” Colliers International senior vice-president Mark Lester told the Pioneer. The company negotiated with one of the would-be buyers and finalized the sale.

“I don’t know if it was the timing, or the people that came to the table, but we were able to get the deal done,” said Lester.

Lester and the Unique Properties division has been involved in plenty of high-end, large-scale real estate sales in the past, including multiple ski resorts, large marinas, and even entire islands (some in British Columbia, but also a 5,400-acre private island in Fiji, purchased by actor Mel Gibson in 2004). 

The company had previous experience in the Columbia Valley, having been involved with the sale of K2 Ranch and the sale of Tembec’s forest lands portfolio.

Previous news reports, in December 2022, had pegged the asking sale price of Fairmont Hot Springs Resort in the range of $50 million. Lester could not disclose the actual sale price.

“Change always creates anxiety for some people, but excitement for others,” said Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) Area F director Susan Clovechok. She explained she’s met some of the new resort owner’s team.

“They are excited and they seem very enthusiastic about the resort,” she said. “I am optimistic this will be good for the community of Fairmont, good for the Columbia Valley, and most importantly, good for the resort employees and good for the visitors and locals who use the golf courses, the ski hill and the hot springs.”

She added that the RDEK will continue to work closely with the new Fairmont Hot Springs Resort senior leadership on a range of issues of mutual interest, including flood mitigation on both Fairmont Creek and Cold Spring Creek.

“I think there’s a real excitement in the community. The new owners have a good reputation. I haven’t met them, but I am told they are very community minded,” said Columbia River-Revelstoke MLA Doug Clovechok. “It’s (the sale) been a long time coming … I understand they (the new owners) want to grow the resort. It’s a great opportunity for the valley and a great opportunity for the company.”