I have driven through the hotel the day before, right next to the Paper Mill but I was not impressed. Powell River Townsite is chockful of historic buildings and houses but the Rodmay Heritage Hotel looked run-down and I had no interest to walk in.
Until Sharlene, the friendliest mail carrier in the world, suggested earlier in the day to ask for a tour from a female staff who lives in the hotel.
There is limited street parking alongside the hotel’s façade. To reach the hotel lobby, you have to walk up a series of steps to a locked glass double door! So you have to park at the back of the building. The way in is through the back entrance door next to the liquor store. There were pictures of the old hotel on the walls of the narrow hallway. Further in led to a dark space, which turned out to be the lobby. The liquor store has a window counter to the hallway so I decided to chat a bit with the male cashier. A short while later, a staff-looking (by her attire) woman coming from the lobby passed by. I asked her if she works for the hotel (“Yes”) and if she knows of a lady employee who lives in the hotel who can give me a tour.
|Irene Moss House Manager at Rodmay Hotel (lobby area)|
“Well, I don’t live in the hotel, but I can give you a tour”, said Irene Moss who later gave her name. Irene, as House Manager, is the longest still-serving staff among a handful.
Irene showed me around the dimly lit lobby with a well-adorned Christmas tree near the fireplace. There was one lady in an office working on a computer behind the unmanned reception counter. On one side was the entrance to a Café with 1960’s diner booths (not open to the public yet), and then another door to the Pub (occasionally rented out but otherwise closed).
|Rodmay Hotel Cafe|
Irene showed me the kitchen where we met the new owner of the hotel, a 60ish gentleman from China, who was prepping the staff Christmas dinner for the evening.
The whole place was empty and quiet. Very quiet. And this was noontime.
As we climbed the grandish wooden double staircase, I asked, “Are there any guests?” The response, “None at the moment.”
The rooms had mismatched bed covers which felt polyesterish. It was clean but more like staying in someone’s guest room. At about CAD$60 a night for two during winter (goes up to CAD$75 in summer), with your own bathroom, this is the best bargain in the whole of Canada. That is if you do not mind the sight of a mill with smoke stacks outside your window, and possibly hear occasionally the passing of logging trucks, or the dull whir of machinery.
|The Mona Lisa Room|
The building opened in 1911. In 1917, the hotel was sold to Rod and May MacIntyre hence the name Rodmay.
I asked if we could go up to the third floor. Irene said that level was just mostly storage rooms for now and added that in the past it was the brothel section.
So for the finale, Irene led me back down the lobby to an Executive Suite next to the front entrance, with its own living room and kitchen. This time the bedroom has that Marriott flair. Table lamps were Tiffany-ish. One can luxuriate in a freestanding bathtub. Again, windows facing the mill, but the curtains with a sheer layer does ensure privacy. CAD$125.00 per night for two.
|Executive Suite Bedroom|
|Executive Suite BathTub|
|Executive Suite Lounge|
Next time I am in Powell River, I will stay in Rodmay Hotel, for a piece of history. Thank you Irene!
|The Water View, actually more of the Paper Mill as seen from the hotel's locked front door|
To be continued ...