Rockwater Secret Cove Resort
The Rockwater Resort and its tent-house rooms hide in the trees at Secret Cove.

A reader of the Local recently commented that the George Hotel couldn’t be successful without its proposed 118 rooms. The reader said the rooms are crucial in order attract conventions. It follows then, that the hotel’s proposed eight-story height is necessary in order to stack up all those guest rooms. Yet there’s another resort on the Sunshine Coast that has managed to flourish with a much lower number of units.

The Rockwater Resort in Secret Cove has attracted visitors from around the globe for decades. Although it gets a lot of weddings, it hosts conventions as well. The Rockwater has 38 rooms, including tent houses that snake along the shoreline.  The height of the hotel is so low you can hardly see it through the trees.

The George, on the other hand, wants to lurch skyward. Granted, its land base is limited. But developer Klaus Fuerniss could offer to buy adjoining properties. That should let him build lower, to harmonize the hotel with the shoreline. Better yet, he could forget about the seven-story condo building he plans to build across from the hotel and use that space to build a less imposing structure. Gibsons has other hotels, and none have needed condos.

Sure, condo development as part of a hotel complex is all the rage in cities like Vancouver. But it’s not at all necessary, unless, of course, you want to side step the need to get a mortgage or you want to pay one off really fast. It would be wonderful if other business owners could receive special treatment from their local government so they could do that.

Yet the George’s neighbours, including shops along Marine Drive and the much smaller hotels on North Road, took substantial risks to get into business. The developers of the Rockwater, for that matter, were taking a big risk when they created a lovey hotel that blends gracefully with its community. And it’s still around and solidly booked, without condos. I call that a successful hotel.