On arriving at the Mermaid, I noticed that the property is for sale, so there is hope.
The Mermaid Motel is old. Its motel room facility is reminiscent of my Grandparents factory buildings from the turn of the last century. Dark warrens for utility rooms with dank concrete floors and questionable wooden-plank board walks. The “newer” kitchenette units are circa 1970’s, with an almost flat roof (in the West Kootenay this is madness) that looks like the owner’s keep dry by annually draping it with sheets of tar shingle. The balconies overlooking the majestic lake and mountains are woefully under built, basically deep enough to lean over while you’re having your smoke, as many of the guests seem to enjoy. The focus here is on budget. While the units are pretty clean (until I looked up, that is, and then spent some time clearing spiders, their kill, and their new hatchlings from ceilings, beams, behind the bed and bathroom doors, and in the corners) they have been just kept up. Kind of like on life support. Some for instants: the sliding door on the balcony had a handle on one side and a tape wrapped piece of wire on the other. The kitchen sink trap had a beer pitcher sitting underneath it to catch rusty, dirty water from a persistent drip. The drywall in the bathroom at the shower surround has been “replaced” with a plastic strip following water damage. The drywall screws are rusted. All the baseboard heaters are starting to pull away from the walls and they have been painted, cleaned, and burnished down to rust in multiple spots. The bed mattress looks like it is a twenty year old model, and has been buttressed up from sagging by a plank of plywood cornered with what looked to be an old laminate kitchen table top. From its pattern and worn down weave, I’m certain the bedroom carpet is over 20 years old. It can’t possibly be clean at that vintage. A vacuum can’t remove decades of residue. The operators are available, accommodating (they gave us a different unit so we could check in earlier with our luggage), and clearly have tried on a budget to keep the old gal going but it is just not enough anymore. It’s time to move on with a major overhaul.
My advice to potential purchasers: Change pretty much everything but for the buildings original foot print. The lawns and parking, and overall situation on the hillside are ideal. After that, you’ve got your work cut out for you. Put a Peaked A-frame metal roof over the kitchenette units, insulate underneath. Replace the single paned aluminum 1970’s era windows and sliding balcony doors with double paned, energy efficient new ones. Replace the balconies. Give them railings you can still see the lake through and make them much deeper so that you can put a table and chairs on them to enjoy meals and encourage longer stays. Take out the wall between the bedroom and living room, turning the suites into lofts. Gut the bathroom. Paint the walls with a contemporary pallet. Put in a tile splashguard in the kitchen and new countertops. Update the light fixtures. Install decent flooring. Get a dumpster and haul out the ancient sofas, TVs and beds and carpet. Buy new linens. Double the rates and don’t allow more than two adults per room. Keep the hospitality (the current owners are friendly and helpful, policies around towels, housekeeping, pets all sound and well thought out). Voila! You’ll have the best accommodation at the Hot Springs on the nicest property by topography, parking, ready access to the Springs, and far more appealing than the neighbouring resort’s cinderblock elementary-school-gymnasium-like facility. Since there is no hope for the Ainsworth Resort hotel, I’m putting my best wishes out there for the Mermaid!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Clean, comfortable, newly renovated motel kitchenette units that will sleep 2-6 persons and modest, historical lodge units that will sleep 2-5 persons. All units have balconies with lake & mountain views and are conveniently located next door to the Ainsworth Hot Springs Pools and Cave. On-site outdoor BBQ and Jacuzzi/Hottub open year-round. Additional amenities include wireless Internet, satellite TV/Radio and complimentary pool towels. Don't want to drive here?? No problem, we can arrange shuttle service from Nelson Greyhound Bus Lines or Castlegar Airport to Ainsworth Hot Springs. You can also fly in to the new international airport in Cranbrook., B.C., Then rent a car for the scenic 3 hour drive to Ainsworth Hot Springs. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Mermaid Hotel Ainsworth Hot Springs