So­lara Re­sort gives own­ers a Rocky Moun­tain high

Re­born spa of­fers the best of Can­more’s recre­ational life­style

Calgary Herald - Calgary Herald New Condos - - New Condos - BARB LIV­ING­STONE

“It is the best decision I have ever made,” says an em­phatic Enisha Bhimji of her pur­chase of a two-bed­room condo in the So­lara Re­sort and Spa in Can­more.

“My daugh­ters are so happy and some­times, when I go out there, I just sit and look out my win­dows at the moun­tains.”

The 57-year-old Bhimji, a sin­gle par­ent who holds two jobs — as a re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion nurse work­ing with spe­cial needs pa­tients and as a part-time tran­sit driver — bought the condo at the So­lara re­sort last Novem­ber. She has her unit in the rental pool, but Bhimji says it is almost al­ways be­ing used by her­self, her two adult daugh­ters (both regis­tered nurses with their own Cal­gary homes), or friends and rel­a­tives. Her old­est daugh­ter, Ash­noor Dhalla, 28, loves hik­ing and is “a na­ture per­son.”

Daugh­ter Ar­sheen Dhalla, 26, likes to re­lax and get her nails done in the on­site One Well­ness + Spa. “I like both,” says Bhimji with a smile.

So­lara is a 214-unit condo/ho­tel re­sort. It was pur­chased out of bank­ruptcy in 2010 by Cal­gary-based Bell­star Ho­tels and Re­sorts and there are now just 17 units (one, two and three bed­rooms) avail­able for pur­chase.

Rudy To­mazic, vice-pres­i­dent of real es­tate with Bell­star, says while Can­more’s condo ho­tel mar­ket has not re­cov­ered as quickly as the sin­gle-fam­ily hous­ing sec­tor — where val­ues are now, in some cases, above the lev­els of re­ces­sion­ary 2007 — in the area, it is get­ting there. Sales fig­ures for the first half of 2014 show the av­er­age sell­ing price of a suite jumped 26 per cent — to $240,365 from $191,432 — over the first half of 2013.

At So­lara, full own­er­ship of a suite ranges from $229,000 for a one-bed­room (which in­cludes a $50,000 fur­nish­ing pack­age) to $429,000 for a three-bed­room.

Suites range from 733 to 1,583 square feet. Frac­tional own­er­ship is avail­able. Buy­ers can put their unit in the rental pool, man­aged on­site through the full-ser­vice re­sort fa­cil­i­ties. Most buy­ers have come from Cal­gary and Ed­mon­ton, and Bell­star es­ti­mates putting a suite in the rental pool for the 75 per cent of time they are not there pays for condo op­er­at­ing ex­penses for the year.

“It re­ally is the lock-and-leave life­style,” says To­mazic.

He says own­ers just have to check in and check out, and ev­ery­thing else is looked after — there are none of the wor­ries as­so­ci­ated with other types of recre­ational prop­er­ties.

So­lara is made up of three res­i­den­tial com­plexes — Aurora, Bow and Chi­nook — with the suites wind­ing around a common court­yard area.

Part of the re­sort is the Three Peaks Con­fer­ence Cen­tre and the full-scale spa and well­ness cen­tre. Ne­go­ti­a­tions are un­der­way for an on­site restau­rant.

The re­sort fea­tures un­der­ground park­ing, a hot pool, kids’ wa­ter play area and concierge ser­vice.

Ca­pac­ity rentals have meant a 20 per cent in­crease this year in re­turns to suite own­ers.

For both So­lara own­ers and the vis­i­tors who rent the suites, Can­more has ev­ery­thing a strong recre­ational mar­ket needs.

“There are the restau­rants and nightlife but not the heavy tourism over­crowd­ing of Banff. You can hike ev­ery level, in­clud­ing just a walk with your grand­mother. There are lots of cul­tural events, there is a big new recre­ation cen­tre and there is the prox­im­ity to the na­tional parks and to both Cal­gary and Ed­mon­ton,” says To­mazic.

The ex­te­ri­ors of So­lara in­clude nat­u­ral stone and slate and there are ter­races or pri­vate bal­conies off the liv­ing rooms (and the master suite in some units). Inside, the open-con­cept liv­ing area has nine-foot high ceil­ings and lux­u­ri­ous cork floor­ing not only pro­vides a high-end fin­ish to the suites, but also ab­sorbs sound be­tween units.

There is an elec­tric fire­place in the liv­ing room, and the gourmet kitchens have con­crete/gran­ite coun­ter­tops and stain­less steel ap­pli­ances.

Spa-in­spired bath­rooms in­clude ves­sel sinks and stone van­i­ties.

For the hard-work­ing Bhimji, her abil­ity to jump in a car and be in Can­more within an hour made the decision to buy there an easy one.

“I looked at lots of prop­er­ties, but I knew So­lara was the one.”

Now, when she re­laxes in her suite on a week­end, look­ing out her win­dow onto the peaks of the Three Sis­ters, “I know it is a bless­ing I have it.”

Bell­star Ho­tels & Re­sorts

The nat­u­ral ex­te­rior of stone and slate wel­comes guests at the en­trance to the five-star So­lara Re­sort at Spa in Can­more.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.