The keys to the Canyon Motor Inn are being passed from one Revelstoke family to another.
The Beruschi family is purchasing the motel from Hari and Asha Singh, who built it in 1976 and have run it ever since.
“Fred (Beruschi) has got hotel in his blood. His father was a hotel keeper too. We were teachers. We didn’t know a thing about hotel keeping,” said Hari after the sale was finalized. “We have a done a good job of it and he is going to do a better job. He got a good deal and we got a good deal too.”
The Canyon Motor Inn is located just off the Trans-Canada Highway near the shore of the Columbia River, overlooking the bridge. The Singh’s built the hotel in 1976, then expanded it in 1979, 1993 and 1995, said Hari.
For the Beruschis, the location, made the property desirable.
“Being in the hotel business as many years as we have been, it seemed like a good place for future expansion if we decided to expand rooms on the river,” said Fred. “There’s almost 2.5 acres there, so that was a big factor.”
For the Beruschis, the acquisition means they now own three hotels in town, on top of the Regent Inn downtown and the Best Western Plus in Columbia Park.
The Canyon Motor Inn receives mostly three and four star reviews on Trip Advisor. The consensus is that it’s clean, comfortable and affordable, if a little old and tired.
Beruschi wouldn’t go into the complete details for his family’s plans for the hotel, but said they would start by renovating the 61 rooms and giving it a makeover.
“We’re going to renovate it and make it very comfortable, very affordable, funky and charming,” he said. “We’re going to be able to look after any market that wants an affordable overnight stay or a few days in Revelstoke. It will be very nice and very comfortable.”
Part of the attraction for Beruschi is that the property includes an undeveloped portion next to the Columbia River. For now, the plan is to renovate the existing buildings.
“There’s 61 units and we think we can make an impact in a market place that can use a little bit of a change,” he said. “It’s going to be a change in the way the industry looks at motels in that we’re taking an old place and we’re going to bring it to a different standard.”
For the Singhs, the sale means they can retire. They moved to Revelstoke more than 50 years ago to work as teachers but ended up as hoteliers; they also owned the Ol’ Frontier, which is now run by their son Matt.
“Teaching is what I liked doing, and I realized that teaching is a very consuming job. I was a very popular teacher, so I had too many students in my class. I wasn’t able to always do the job to my satisfaction in terms of marking,” said Hari, when asked why he got into the hotel business. “Motel keeping is not easy either. It’s very time consuming, especially if you want to do it mostly yourself. It was time to move from one profession from to another. I liked doing it.”
Beruschi said it was a “privilege” to purchase the building from their long-time friends and competitors.
“The Singh family and the Beruschi family have been friends for years,” he said. “It’s a natural transition for people who want to get out and us who want to stay in.”
He said work on renovations will start in April. They will start with one of the motel’s two buildings, then move to the other, keeping it open while work is ongoing.
Beruschi hopes to make the motel a “landmark” as drivers come across the Columbia River Bridge. “There’s no doubt about it I want to take pride in all the properties we own.”
The purchase means the Beruschis’ plans for a five-storey hotel in Farwell are on hold for the time being.
“We still have plans for the other one but most likely we’re not going to start this year,” said Fred.