Salmon Arm businessman, artist and sculptor Louis-Marc Simard is gearing up to retrofit the old Revelstoke Builders Supply building on Campbell Avenue into his high-art concept hostel The Cube. If all goes well, Simard and his partners hope to start construction in June and finish by Christmas.
Simard built the Kicking Horse Lodge in Field about 20 years ago and then managed it for over a decade.
He has been involved in other endeavours since then, including studying art at Emily Carr University in Vancouver.
Not ready to retire yet, Simard saw an opportunity in the niche between existing hostels and motels. He’s targeting a $69 high-season rate.
“I wanted to make something that I think is needed and valuable,” he said. “It was in my mind, there is a market for a hostel that I call a boutique hostel.”
The hostel will feature small, clean rooms with nice furnishings, including TVs. The real draw is the common areas, including a skylit kitchen and communal area on the second floor.
A traveller himself, Simard enjoys the hostel experience while on the road. “One of my motivations is [creating] more of a happening kind of place, where you have an experience,” he said.
He travelled to ski hostels in the region while researching The Cube, and said many of their clients are very upmarket – doctors, lawyers and young professionals looking to meet and mingle at the hostel while on their ski trip. He said they want “a more appealing package than your regular motel room.”
Most rooms will have a washroom and either two singles or a queen-sized bed. There will be one or two dorm rooms.
One of the most striking aspects of the hostel is the design. The hostel is a retrofit of the existing two-storey cinder-block building. Simard said the limitations of the plain building didn’t lend itself to a heritage- or lodge-style retrofit, so he created a unique design.
Inspired by famous Dutch artist Piet Mondrian, Simard created a design that incorporated Mondrian’s iconic combination of black lines and blocks of primary colours, creating a retro ‘70s look. He said it was a “convivial” way of cheering up an otherwise plain building.
“The city has been a big supporter,” Simard said of the unusual design. He said the process had gone very well so far.