The Kingfisher is getting an overhaul.
For the next couple of years, the well-known Vancouver Island oceanside spa and resort located south of Royston will undergo a series of renovation and beautification projects.
The renovations have already started, in fact, with an overhaul of the spa’s two restaurants — the Ocean 7 and the Aqua Bistro — last year.
Now that the restaurants are refurbished, the Kingfisher is focusing on redoing its spa, underground steam cave system, and courtyard.
Alongside those renovations, the resort is planning to demolish and dismantle each wing of its hotel, before rebuilding them from the studs up.
“We started with the restaurants and now we’re doing the spa,” said Kingfisher owner Bill Brandes. “The whole middle floor, from the front doors to the pool decks, all the way through to the change rooms, the sitting areas and the relaxation rooms, are gutted.”
Work has already begun on the spa and is hoped to wrap up before the end of next month, according to Brandes.
“We’re just bringing it up to a higher standard,” he said, emphasizing the addition of Versace marble walls imported from Italy.
One of the projects being undertaken is the beautification of the Kingfisher’s courtyard, which Brandes said will look like a miniature version of Victoria’s Butchart Gardens when finished. He dubbed the landscaping project “Serenity Gardens.”
The initiative will include several new amenities, including a new pond, riverways, miniature waterfalls, pathways, plants, trees, and private fire pits where guests will be able to sit and look at the ocean.
“This area will have seven little private areas with fire pits, running water, LED lights behind the waterfalls, so they glow. It’s going to be something no one has done before,” said Brandes.
“People are going to be able to sit there, look at the Pacific Ocean. There’s going to be a stage built [in the corner] so we can have live music in the summer, as well as for any wedding functions in this area here.”
Brandes said the Serenity Gardens will hopefully be completed by the end of March and will cost more than $300,000.
Once the courtyard and the spa are complete, Brandes said the focus will shift to the hotel.
“It’s going to turn into a very craftsman-style hotel, like something you’d see on the California coastline, like in Santa Barbara,” he said.
According to Brandes, the renovations will cost an estimated $7 million, which he is paying himself.
He said it’s not necessarily an investment he’s hoping to recover, but rather a legacy for after he’s gone.
“It will take 50 to 70 years to recoup that money,” he said, adding that the resort isn’t intending to expand its number of rooms. “It won’t be recouped in my lifetime, but it will be enjoyed in my lifetime. It’s just for people to come and enjoy.
“It will probably be one of the top destination spas in British Columbia, in terms of quality and what to expect.”
The Kingfisher’s hotel will remain partially open and staffed throughout the renovations, according to Brandes.