The Legacy of Hotel Eldorado
Okanagan Lakeside Luxury
Hotel Eldorado has been a hidden gem among Kelowna BC hotels on the lake since 1926: a destination of genuine hospitality, infinite warmth and spirited gatherings fondly remembered for years to follow. With beautiful Okanagan Lake as the backdrop, it is a tale of British Royalty and thrilling vacations, an honour bar and Olympic rowers, and of London cabs and dog shows. It was then what it is today; a luxury getaway set in one of Canada's most spectacular destinations, the Okanagan. Whether you’ve traveled the world over or are venturing away from home for the first time, you will recognize this place as one of the most scenic in the world.
In The Beginning
Hotel Eldorado was founded in 1926 by Countess Bubna, an aristocratic English woman, who decades earlier had been married to an Austrian 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. She 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 social hub. In the 1950's and 1960's the Eldorado 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, enthusiasm and vision.
During this era, Hotel Eldorado hosted dog shows, garden parties and croquet with Kelowna’s then Mayor John Hindle and his wife Jennifer graciously welcoming guests. John would pad about the Eldorado 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 was no doubt Glen Mervyn, fresh from his silver medal race in Canada's eight-man scull at the 1960 Rome Olympics. Evidence of this great sporting heritage can be seen hanging in our Lakeside Dining Room, Lounge and pool area.
Jim Nixon and his family took over Hotel Eldorado in the 1980's, expanding on the current Lakeshore location and building upon the great legacy of those who came before. Now, the Hotel Eldorado has been passed to the next generation of ownership. Ted Callahan, CEO of Argus Properties, remembers 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.
Guests at Eldorado Resort enjoy access to the Eldorado Marina, offering boat and personal watercraft rentals, along with daily and weekly moorage for all in-house guests’ boats and a full-service marina outlet offering fuel, snacks and any safety gear you may need for a day on the water.
The Spirit of The El
Imagine enjoying mesmerizing views and a glass of fine Okanagan wine while sailing across the lake aboard a historic 34-foot Chris Craft Sedan Cruiser built in 1952. During the Kelowna Regatta years Hotel Eldorado hosted the Antique & Classic Boat Show. This Chris Craft ties us back into the tradition of old watercrafts whose presence on the lake brought crowds to ogle at the boats. The Chris Craft is a nod to John Hindle’s old Shepard boat, that roared around the bay, usually with skiers, in tow. In the sunny months, find the boat at the Eldorado Marina. The Spirit of The El luxury yacht, is available for private charters of up to 8 passengers.
To learn more, contact the Marina office at 250-763-3625.