“It’s like going back in time and finding out there’s air conditioning.”
That’s how Nelson Business Awards judge Barry Auliffe describes the sensation of walking into the historic Hume Hotel and Spa. The decor is steeped in history, he said, but it has contemporary perks as well—something made possible by their recent large-scale five-year renovation.
“To say owner Ryan Martin and his team have done an amazing job would be a massive understatement,” Auliffe said Thursday evening, calling the hotel a “luxurious haven” as well “unique and charming” before going on to praise one particular room that struck his fancy: the Rattenbury room, which is named after the architect who designed the Nelson Courthouse.
“I couldn’t believe it. You can stay in the room Francis Rattenbury himself lived in, and then you can look out the window and see his work right there before you,” said Auliffe. “The floor plan is unique and the room is decorated with family photos and information about his life. I’ve never seen anything quite like it.”
But he missed a key detail of Rattenbury’s life.
“You didn’t mention how Rattenbury was bludgeoned to death by his 18-year-old chauffeur, who was having an affair with his wife,” Martin said, prompting laughter from the approximately 100 people crowd-slammed into the Adventure Hotel.
“It’s just one of those interesting footnotes.”
Martin wasn’t the only one to go home happy. Retallack, Cartolina and DHC Communications all took homes awards—for Hospitality and Tourism Excellence, Professional and Community Service Excellence and Retail Excellence respectively.
“When I saw you wearing a tie, it was a dead giveaway,” Martin said to fellow winner Dave Harasym of DHC, who founded his local business in 1999 and currently has 24 employees. Besides working on Nelson’s large-scale broadband infrastructure, they recently acquired a locksmith company and redesigned the phone systems for Selkirk College.
“I’d be much more comfortable taking about wires,” Harasym joked.
Retallack was recognized for it’s cat skiing and outdoor adventure tourism operation, which is the largest of its kind in the world. The judges noted Retallack has access to 1.5 million acres of pristine wilderness and attracts visitors from all over the world.
Auliffe also recognized Cartolina, winners of the City of Nelson Heritage Award in 2015.
“What’s going on in that store isn’t obvious from street level,” Auliffe said of the two-year-old business, which resides in the historical Tremont Hotel. “It’s curiously unique, innocent and friendly. I just love it. We love what you do, and we’re glad you’re doing it in Nelson.”
During the evening the Nelson Chamber held their annual AGM, and there was also a special tribute to departing director Cal Renwick, who chided Auliffe for not selecting his Nelson Brewing Company for the big prize.
“What’s that you’re drinking there, Barry?” he joked, motioning to Aulifee’s beer. “That looks like an NBC beer to me.”
At the conclusion of the evening, Martin shared a short promotional video starring his wife Leandra and praised the rest of the community—giving special shout-outs to both the Savoy and Adventure hotels, joking it’s getting progressively harder to “keep up with the Jones.”
“There are a lot of Jones in this town. Have you seen what the Sav is doing, pouring millions into that place? Then the other day I saw the lineup for the Kaslo Jazz Etc Festival and it’s amazing, I got a text from my wife saying ‘we’ve gotta go this year’. I’ve never seen this much excitement and development and construction,” he said.
“We’ve got a great town here and we’re on a roll. All of us have to come together to take it up a notch.”