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Looking for a lifestyle change? Want to get out of the city? Here's your chance to invest in a unique wilderness resort property in the Rocky Mountains of British Columbia. This is a turnkey business in a beautiful setting. This opportunity is best suited to someone who plans to be “hands on” in the operation of the business. If I was 20 years younger I wouldn't be selling as the cabins provide me with great revenue plus LOTS of room to expand for someone with the energy and ambition.
There are 15 guest cabins plus 2 staff cabins and the Laundry / Reception cabin. There are also 4 “bunkies” - very rustic cabins with a bunk bed, wash up counter, camp chairs and candle lanterns. These don’t have running water or electricity but there is an outhouse plus 5 gallon water container in each for washing up. The bunkies are only rented out in peak season (mid-June to mid-Sep) and are aimed at the backpacker crowd. The regular cabins are fully winterized and have been rented year round. There is a large, outdoor covered dining / kitchen area, a winterized pump house, a winterized cleaning / hydro shed, plus a staff “bunkie” and assorted storage buildings. This is located on 5.6 acres of land approx. 20 minutes NW of Golden BC.
They are located half way between Glacier National Park and Yoho National Park with easy access to Banff and Kootenay National Parks.
When the tour buses aren't here the cabins are rented through airbnb and expedia. We have a lot of repeat guests from Calgary, Edmonton and the interior of BC.
The cabins are clean, comfortable and quiet. They each feature 2 queen beds, a 3 piece washroom, a separate hot water tank for each cabin, and a TV with DVD player. There is wi fi available for guests. The bunkies feature an overlapping bunk bed plus 2 camp chairs and a 5 gallon water tank for drinking and washing up.
I bought and cleared the land in the late summer of 2013 and construction on the cabins started in early 2014. The first bus arrived on June 1, 2014. At the time I owned a tour company in Vancouver called West Trek Tours Inc. West Trek specialized in the ESL student market in Vancouver. The cabins were built specifically to cater to the West Trek groups. The West Trek buses held up to 55 guests. The outdoor dining area is big enough to seat 55 guests and the fire pit is also big enough for 55 to sit around it. Most of the students preferred the least expensive option which was quad occupancy however with 15 rental cabins there was room for some upgrades to double or triple. The Guide would sleep in the Guide cabin which had a single bed, 3 piece washroom plus housed our laundry facilities. This has now been converted to a Reception area however could easily be returned to its original purpose. I wanted to give the West Trek guests a truly Canadian experience rather than the usual hotel in the centre of town, or along a highway strip, experience. The cabins were regularly rated the guests favourite overnight stay on their tours.
In December, 2018 I sold West Trek Tours. As part of the sale agreement, the purchaser (Uniglobe Specialty Travel) took over the West Trek cabin reservations for 2019 through until Thanksgiving weekend. Now that I have sold West Trek, I am ready to sell the cabins and retire.
Until last year, I kept the cabins open year round as West Trek Tours brought in buses year round. However once I sold West Trek Tours I could close in the winter and enjoy ’semi-retirement’. A new owner would want to talk to Uniglobe Specialty Travel as they have said that they would like to continue to use the cabins on a year round basis. Uniglobe was West Treks’ main competitor in the Lower Mainland and they have basically bought a monopoly in that market. A future owner could expect to see a significant increase in the number of buses sent by Uniglobe. Particularly in the shoulder and off seasons as the peak season is already nearing saturation level.
I have closed all but 6 of the cabins this winter as the guest numbers took a sharp decline under covid and staying open wasn’t justified. However I have rented 6 cabins long term until May 1, 2021 when I plan to re-open.
The cabins have largely been staffed by young volunteers. Strange as it may sound, due to our location in the mountains, volunteers are incredibly easy to find. There are numerous online sites and Facebook groups that cater to this. They tend to be international youth out to see the world who need a place to stay and meals. (Note they MUST have a valid work visa). They volunteer 5 hours a day, 5 days a week in exchange for room and board. With the exception of this summer, I always have way more applicants than I need.
This opportunity is best suited to someone who plans to be “hands on” in the operation of the business. I don’t see it as a remote income opportunity. While I have often hired a manager so I could spend time in Ontario, I have been very involved in the operation from Day 1.
There are many opportunities to expand the Revenue base. Prior to selling West Trek Tours I had plans in the works for the following:
- replace the 2 queen beds in each cabin with 3 bunk beds. This would allow me to handle a full bus with 10 cabins rather than the current 15 which would leave me free to rent out the other 5 cabins. Given the age / demographics of the West Trek groups, bunk beds would be preferred and there wouldn’t be an issue with sharing 6 to a cabin.
- there is still a lot of unused land. I planned to put in a “Tent Village” or “Yurt Village”. I have been experimenting with both a yurt and the large cabin tents with the staff. There is a market for ultra budget tours that would spend 3 or 4 nights in a tent / yurt and use the cabins as a base for exploring the Rockies and various National Parks.
So, if you are a "hands on" outdoors enthusiast single or couple who can really sink your teeth in to a fun and interesting project, this could be ideal for you. For the price of a bungalow in Vancouver or Toronto you can own your own wilderness resort and let the adventure begin.
Real Property Included
At present the Managers Cabin is used by the owner. It is the same size as the regular cabins however it has one queen bed, a 3 piece washroom and an alcove with a mini-fridge, microwave, toaster, kettle and shelves for a pantry. There is also a dresser and table with additional storage plus a small desk with a printer / scanner. There are additional shelves on the back of the "privacy wall" just inside the door. Someone planning to move here full time would likely want to expand the managers cabin at some point in the future.
The resort is located 20 minutes west of Golden, BC between Glacier and Yoho National Parks. Banff, Kootenay and Jasper National Parks are also within easy driving distance. The cabins are 1.5 km off of the Trans Canada Highway.
The cabins are on 5.6 acres. Half of the land is still forested with the other half cleared for the cabins and bunkies.
The resort is in Columbia Shuswap Regional District A. One of the main reasons for building here is that there were no zoning restrictions.
Our biggest customer is currently a tour company out of Vancouver. It would be quite easy to put in yurts or cabin tents to accommodate another full bus. The payback would just be one summer. It would also be possible to convert the cabins from 2 queen beds to 3 sets of bunk beds. This would allow you to accommodate one full size highway coach plus a mini-coach with up to 35 guests. At present we just deal with one bus at a time however there is a LOT of potential to expand on that.
In the winter we have primarily focused on the tour groups however another potential market are the snow mobilers / sledders and back country skiers.
The cabins were built to accommodate full sized highway coaches based on 4 per cabin. There is NO other such business in this area. There are your everyday hotels and motels in Golden 50m from the highway but nothing that offers such a uniquely Canadian experience in a wilderness setting.
NOTE - the sooner a new owner takes over, the better so that they can secure the 2020 contract from the tour company.
The owner built the cabins for a tour company that he owned out of Vancouver. He sold the tour company in December, 2018 and now wants to sell the cabins so he can retire.
At present we are open year round with check in from 3 pm to 10 pm. However it would be very easy to take the month of November off without any real loss of business.
There isn't a lot of training needed however the owner is willing to stay on for a couple of weeks to train the new owners and would be available by phone, text or email if the new owners have any questions.
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