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Aldesta buys 1,229-acre Fairmont Hot Springs Resort property

The resort's amenities include three golf courses, 14 ski runs and outdoor activity centre

Guests enjoying the pool at Fairmont Hot Springs Resort. (Courtesy Fairmont Hot Springs Resort)

Vancouver-based Aldesta Hotel Group made a large addition to its portfolio with last week’s acquisition of the 1,229-acre Fairmont Hot Springs Resort property in the Columbia Valley region of British Columbia.

“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 media release. “This acquisition aligns perfectly with our strategy to acquire and operate properties that offer guests unforgettable experiences in some of the world’s most spectacular destinations.”

Aldesta also owns: Harrison Hot Springs Resort and Harrison Lake Hotel in Harrison Hot Springs, B.C.; Poets Cove Resort & Spa on Pender Island, B.C.; and Heron Island and Wilson Island on the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland, Australia.

Fairmont Hot Springs Resort had been placed on and off the market a few times by previous owner Fairmont Hot Springs Resort Ltd. without selling before ColliersUnique Properties and Hotels divisions began marketing it last summer with an October bid date.

“The former ownership had it for many years and I think there were divergent interests amongst the shareholders,” Colliers Unique Properties senior vice-president Mark Lester told RENX. “And I think, for the shareholders, it was time to move on.”

Lester said he couldn’t disclose the sale price, but in a Dec. 7, 2022 CBC News article, he said Fairmont Hot Springs Resort was valued in a “price range” of $50 million.

Aldesta representatives weren’t immediately available for comment .

CFO Capital arranged acquisition financing for the Fairmont Hot Springs Resort property.

Fairmont Hot Springs Resort’s inclusions

The property features Canada’s largest natural mineral hot springs, with more than 1.2 million gallons of fresh hot mineral water flowing through the resort’s three outdoor and two indoor pools daily, providing a draw for both day and overnight visits.

The all-season resort, located 108 kilometres north of Cranbrook, B.C. and 145 kilometres west of Calgary, also includes:

    •    151 guest rooms in the main and adjacent lodge, as well as cabins and cottages;
    •    668 acres of excess development land;
    •    nearly 13,000 square feet of flexible meeting space;
    •    seven food and beverage outlets;
    •    two 18-hole golf courses, one nine-hole golf course, a driving range and a golf clubhouse;
    •    a ski hill with 14 runs, two terrain parks, a ski lodge and a leased equipment rental shop;
    •    a recreational vehicle park with 190 sites, 154 camping and tenting sites and the ability to expand;
    •    management of Spruce Grove Natural Springs Spa and its six treatment rooms;
    •    an outdoor activity centre with tennis courts, a playground, miniature golf, hiking and snowshoeing trails, a wildlife and bird-watching area, horseback riding, kayaking, all terrain vehicle tours, ziplining and more;
    •    35 one-bedroom and 82 two-bedroom time-share mountainside villas over 19 buildings through a bare trust and subject to a management agreement expiring in 2025; and
    •    ownership and control of the water and sewer utility plants that service the resort community.

It’s “pretty rare” for such an all-encompassing property to come on the market, according to Lester, and that’s why Colliers’ Unique Properties and Hotels divisions both marketed it.

Lester said “multiple parties expressed interest” in Fairmont Hot Springs Resort and there was a significant due diligence period since the property has so many components.

What’s next for Fairmont Hot Springs Resort?

While Lester said he couldn’t speak on behalf of Aldesta, he expects the resort to be operated in a “business-as-usual” manner for the time being so the new ownership group can get a good handle on operations before deciding on the best path forward.

Aldesta’s media release said the company “is committed to investing in the property to ensure that it continues to exceed the expectations of its guests and remains a world-class destination for many years to come.

“Guests can expect a seamless transition during the acquisition process, with no interruption to the exceptional service and memorable experiences they have come to expect from Fairmont Hot Springs Resort.

"Aldesta Hotels and Resorts is dedicated to upholding the resort’s legacy while introducing new elements that will further enhance guest satisfaction.”

“There is zoning for all of the land and the zoning varies from resort-related zoning – that would allow you to expand the existing resort – to single-family and multifamily residential and some commercial,” Lester said.

There’s a small community airport adjacent to Fairmont Hot Springs Resort and Lester said the property’s available land closest to it would be suitable for light industrial uses including storage and transportation.

Ownership of the local water and sewer utilities will provide a stable base of recurring cash flows and upside potential upon further residential and commercial development.

“Some of the time-shares are now owned and controlled by the resort itself,” Lester said.

“Some of them are still controlled and owned by a third party that bought the time-shares over the last 40-or-however-many years, so they will continue to co-exist and be managed by the time-share organization.”

The time-share units still owned by the third party are under their control for various terms, but Lester said they’ll eventually fall back under Aldesta’s ownership.

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