The decor has whimsical dashes of local art and craftsmanship. Photo submitted

Josie Hotel will be ready on opening day, says management

West Kootenay’s first ski-in, ski-out boutique hotel to open this month

They may be Texas property developers, but when Spencer Clements and David Segers arrived in Rossland they reacted just like anyone else. They didn’t want to leave.

Clements, the president of the William Cole group of companies, and Segers, the CFO, started dreaming big. They decided to build their own hotel at the base of Red Mountain.

“They came up 12 years ago, fell in love with Rossland and said, ‘We want to do a project here,’” says Mark Bell, the Josie Hotel’s general manager. “They are very passionate about this place, about Rossland in general.”

It wasn’t smooth sailing all the way— the opening is about a year behind schedule. But in just a few weeks that dream finally becomes a reality.

The Josie is a boutique ski-in, ski-out hotel at the base of Red Mountain. Three years into construction, the $40-million, 106-room facility is just about ready to open.

“We’re in really good shape. We’re in the final stages of making beds, cleaning rooms,” says Bell. “The food and beverage team has been training for a week now, and our guest services team comes on board today. We’re really in the training stages, getting ready to ramp up.

With about 60 local staff hired already and plans to add 40 more during peak season, Bell says the Josie will be providing a boost to the local economy, adding jobs and paying taxes to the local government.

SEE: Josie Hotel in Rossland to provide local jobs

Bell also says the vast majority of goods and services bought for the hotel come from Canada, including specialty furniture and feature touches created by local artists.

“The owners are very particular about having a local flavour,” says Bell. “They want people to come here and see what Rossland has to offer, not come here and stay in a chain hotel, with someone else’s generic brands.

“This is about culture, it’s about lifestyle, and the image of Rossland.”

That image of Rossland is ultimately about skiing. Bell says that’s the experience the visitor will get from the minute the arrive.

“The building is situated to maximize the views,” he says. “When you drive up to the entrance, and you get out of the car, what do you see? The ski hill. People will arrive, take a look, and say, ‘Wow, I want to get out there.’”

The rest of the hotel is designed to maximize that experience as well, with skiers able to ski right off the slope into the ski valet area, have their equipment checked, cleaned, secured, and prepared for them for the next day. A spa, hot tub and pool — still under construction— will also add to the experience.

“We’re targeting the adventure traveller who enjoys a touch of luxury and that authentic, true mountain experience,” says Bell. “Red Mountain is a bucket-list ski destination, and that’s what we’re doing here.”

“This is more for the Arc’teryx-type,” says Bell, referring to the high-end but meant-to-be-used ski apparel. “A lot of them are very good skiers, they have ability financially to travel, but are not coming here for the Vail experience.

“They’re coming here for what Red Mountain and Rossland are known for — some of the best skiing in North America, for glade skiing, for snowboarding. We have one of the biggest cat-skiing operations in the world.”

The hotel experience will cost you anywhere from $150 per night for a regular room, to $450 or more for the suites in ski season. Bell says the hotel expects its peak period to be February and March.

But it’s not just skiing on offer. The Josie is a year-round resort. And with world-class hiking, biking, fishing, golfing, and paddling a short drive away, Bell says they expect to be busy year round. The 1,800-square-foot conference space will also add to the city’s capacity to hold business meetings and retreats.

The Josie official website

They also expect people to come for the food. The 88-seat restaurant is being overseen by Chef Marc-André Choquette who says he’s spent the last year developing the menu and building connections with local food suppliers and farmers.

“You’ll see me next summer at the local farmers’ markets, buying products for the table,” he says. “This will be French fare, with local flavour and ingredients, elevated food and service. French technique, but all in an approachable way.”

SEE: Chef Choquette bringing fine dining to Rossland

Donald Haddad, the hotel’s food and beverage manager, says they’re pretty well ready for opening day.

“We want them to feel welcome, looked after, cared-for comfortable — that we are going to give them a great hospitality experience,” he says. “It’s elevated food and service, but still very comfortable to engage with.”

With just two weeks remaining before opening day — a soft opening is planned for Nov. 28, with a formal ribbon-cutting on Dec. 9 — Bell says the preparations are now just down to the details.

 

Cooking staff have been training for weeks. Chef Chef Marc-André Choquette says he’ll be drawing heavily from local farm producers. Photo: John Boivin

General manager Mark Bell says the Josie will employ up to 100 people at its peak. Photo: John Boivin

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