The Oak Bay Beach Hotel celebrates a double anniversary with a community open house Dec. 1 that launches a month of activity.
The Oak Bay Beach Hotel celebrates two major milestones next month, the five-year anniversary of the new Oak Bay Beach Hotel and the 90-year anniversary of the original hotel on Beach Drive.
“We love our local community and want to celebrate Oak Bay’s great tradition together,” says Michelle Le Sage, General Manager of the Oak Bay Beach Hotel. “Our double anniversary this December is the perfect moment to invite the community in to check out our amenities and meet our team. We’re trying to get the public engaged a little bit. What we want is more memories.”
A little social media interaction already put them in touch with the daughter of Major Merston who built the original Oak Bay Beach Hotel in 1927. That building was completely destroyed in a fire on Oct. 14, 1930 and an exact replica grew from those ashes. In 2006, the doors to the hotel were ceremoniously closed and removed to be re installed in the new Oak Bay Beach Hotel (they grace the entrance to Kate’s Café) in December 2012.
“I think that’s a special place for our locals. They can go in there and really remember the old hotel,” she says of Kate’s. That’s where the celebrations start on Dec. 1. From 10 to 11 a.m. visitors can join Pastry Chef Teddy Gopaloo in Kate’s Cafe for local coffee and a selection of in-house pastries.
Then from 11 a.m. to noon Winchester Gallery gallerist Elizabeth Levinson leads a walking tour of the hotel art collection. “Art and hospitality really go well together,” Le Sage says. A total of 284 Winchester works grace the common areas and guest rooms.
Another self-guided walking tour highlights the 95 per cent of the previous Oak Bay Beach Hotel that was recycled or reused.
When the old hotel was dismantled, a number of physical elements and furnishings such as, windows, bricks, beams, furniture and art were preserved and used in the new building. For example the ornate chair that greets guests at the front lobby or the fireplace in the Snug. During the open house, from noon to 1 p.m., The Snug hosts a new winter menu tasting and local craft beer sampling, led by Food and Beverage Manager Christian Sealey.
The public pomp and ceremony comes to a head with the hour-long celebration in the David Foster Foundation Theatre from 1 to 2 p.m. with anniversary cake and a slide show of those memories Le Sage and her staff manage to gather. They will celebrate loyal guests, some who have hit the 50-stays mark and longstanding staff members.
“We’ve had 90 years of creating memories at the Oak Bay Beach Hotel and now we want to celebrate those memories,” Le Sage said.
From 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. the Boathouse Spa & Baths host an open house, with mini treatments and some access to the mineral baths.