Our Story

Life in A Postcard

The Hotel Eldorado has been part of BC's destination hotel resort experience since 1926. It is a story of Austrian blue bloods and thrilling vacations, a story of a famous honour bar and Olympic rowers, a story of London cabs and dog shows. From the beginning, it has always been a story of unique hospitality, social events and a welcome that knows no borders.

It was then what it is today; a singularly unique social and vacation experience set in one of Canada's most spectacular destinations, the Okanagan Valley. 300 kilometres from the Lower Mainland in the BC Interior and an easy flight from all major airports, the Hotel Eldorado is located on the shores of Okanagan Lake. For those who have travelled in other countries, you will recognize that this place is one of the most scenic in the world.

We call it Life in A Postcard

The Hotel Eldorado was founded in 1926 by Countess Bubna, an aristocratic English woman, who decades earlier had been married to an Austro-Hungarian Count.  Prior to her marriage to Count Johann Franz-Bubna-Litic in 1901, the Countess was a popular stage actress in London.  In 1908, after spending most of their marriage living in Paris, the couple divorced, making Countess Bubna a social oddity in a time where marriages rarely dissolved.  The Countess had already become accustomed to controversy, as her mother, Mary Caroline Mitchell, was the mistress of the supremely wealthy Duke of Sutherland, and had even spent time in jail for burning some of his documents.  After the Duke passed away, the Countess’ mother inherited a sizable fortune that expediently provided the financial backing the Countess needed to establish her own Victorian style Inn in Kelowna’s Mission area.  Originally called The Eldorado Arms Hotel, the inn became the town’s most sophisticated and exclusive social hub. In the 1950's and 60's the El, as locals came to call it (and you may as well), was the hub, the place where locals gathered with friends, where visitors stayed, where generations married and celebrated. The town was small, about 20,000 residents only, but it was a place of energy and enthusiasm and vision. The Hotel Eldorado hosted dog shows and garden parties and croquet with Kelowna mayor John Hindle, and his wife Jennifer, graciously welcoming guests. John would pad about the El barefoot, wishing all a good night when it came time to retire, leaving his patrons to the famous honour bar. One of those celebrated patrons no doubt, Glen Mervyn, fresh from his silver medal race in Canada's eight man scull at the 1960 Rome Olympics. That great sporting history hangs above you in our Lakeside Dining Room, Lounge, and our pool area.

The town is bigger now, but the essence of what it is to stay at the Hotel Eldorado has not changed. It is where adults have come to play since 1926.

Jim Nixon and his family took over the El in the 1980's, rebuilding on the current lakeshore location and building upon the great legacy of those who came before. Now the El has passed to the next generation of ownership. Ted Callahan, CEO of Argus Properties, remembers the Hotel Eldorado from his childhood and knows that ownership brings with it a responsibility to honour those who came before and to embrace the rich traditions of our magnificent hotel.

The Hotel Eldorado is as storied as our town and all those who have graced our doors since 1926. It is a gem and we all look forward to welcoming you to The El.

Crew Connection