Snow is falling outside, horses pull a sleigh past the windows and lights glow on trees. Inside couples and families dip their dinner into traditional cheeses and chocolates.
This perfect winter scene is what Mario Erler envisions when he and wife Silvia open Fondue Stube this winter.
Taking over the space once home to Casa Mexicana, the renovation and new restaurant are part of the Erler’s takeover of what was the Heffley Boutique Inn.
Inspired by fondue restaurants in European mountain villages, Erler described the atmosphere they’re aiming for as warm, casual and welcoming.
“There’s no limitation for who I think it’s for. It’s for everyone, especially couples,” he said. “You can have a good glass of wine and laughs…it’s interactive. It’s an active dinner where you’re not just waiting for your food.”
In preparation for a planned soft opening in December, Erler has carefully selected each element from fondue pots to sourcing authentic cheeses like gruyere from Switzerland and kirsch (brandy) from Okanagan Spirits.
Upstairs, the couple have brought the previous hotel under the umbrella of the Sun Peaks Lodge, the additional rooms give them just over 70 rooms compared to their previous 44.
Since taking possession in early October, he said, they have begun completely renovating every room into modern but warm and comfortable studios.
“Our slogan is warm and (casual) with a touch of luxury,” he explained. “Everything that was there is gone. It’s not a city style…modern but still ski resort like with warm colours.”
Rooms are expected to be ready mid-December and work to upgrade the exterior of the building will take place in the following years.
“Sun Peaks Lodge is a pretty little hotel, we want to make it just as pretty.”
The expansion will allow the business to expand, especially in the summer months when a lack of rooms put them at a disadvantage for booking bus tours. Erler said they had to turn buses away previously but will now be able to host two full buses at a time.
It’s a big step, and large investment, after 15 years owning Sun Peaks Lodge.
“At the beginning it was tough, we had almost closed and had five tours.
“We are proud of what we are doing. We are family owned and operated and we make mistakes but we can change them on the spot…it’s a very exciting time to be here as well.”