New Owners of Iconic Windermere House in Muskoka Plan to Breathe New Life Into Property
The new owners of the famed Windermere House hotel and resort on Muskoka’s Lake Rosseau intend to revitalize the building and its amenities while preserving the property’s historical integrity.
The property was purchased on April 15, 2023, by a group of investors and will be managed by the B Hospitality group based in Cambridge, Ontario, which also manages two other hotels.
Windermere House will continue to operate as a 58-suite hotel and resort with a wide range of amenities, including an on-site restaurant and pub with live entertainment. Where it previously operated on a seasonal basis, its owners plan for it to be open year-round.
“Our intention is to uphold Windermere House’s vibrant history, restoring its lustre and improving on its operations,” said Joe Hall, Vice President of Sales at B Hospitality.
“We are excited to offer guests an exceptional experience at the property with luxury suites and amenities, and expertly crafted food. We are also community-minded and intend to build partnerships with local businesses and organizations wherever we can.”
Each member of Windermere House’s new ownership group belongs to the senior leadership team (some are co-founders) at Skyline Group of Companies, an $8.2 billion firm based in Guelph, Ontario. Skyline Group of Companies purchases, manages, develops, and offers investments in various real estate portfolios (multi-residential, industrial, and retail) and clean energy assets.
As part of that firm, the owners have more than 30 years of experience in property management, redevelopment, and rejuvenation. This includes the restoration of downtown Guelph’s historical Gummer Building, circa 1870, after it was destroyed by fire from a neighbouring building, as well as a circa-1910 convent-turned-apartment complex in Haileybury, Ontario. Both properties received awards for their redevelopment.
“It’s the people and the teamwork that allow us to take on a venture and see it excel,” said Martin Castellan, Co-Founder & Chief Administrative Officer, Skyline Group of Companies.
“The B Hospitality team is fully engaged and excited about the opportunities to create amazing guest experiences at Windermere House, using the lessons they have learned in their 16-plus years in hospitality. Our goal is that this hotel and resort remains beloved and one of those special places to go: be it for a pint on the patio, dinner on the terrace, a weekend wedding, or a corporate retreat. Whatever the occasion, the setting is something special.”
The property evokes a deep sense of nostalgia for residents and cottage owners on Lake Rosseau and the surrounding township.
“The building’s ownership group all have small-town roots themselves and understand the nostalgia and pride that this property brings to people who live and vacation here,” said Hall.
“Windermere House is a Muskoka icon, and it will be treated as such. They are passionate about preserving the integrity of its historical features and intend to breathe new life into the property.”
“On behalf of Council, I am thrilled to welcome the new ownership group and B Hospitality to Muskoka Lakes,” said Mayor Kelley. “Windermere House is a renowned historic gem in our Township, and I am pleased to hear the new owners plan to foster relationships within the business community to enhance the overall well-being of the community.”
The “Lady of the Lake,” as the Victorian-style property is nicknamed, first operated in 1870 as a boarding house. It was almost entirely destroyed by fire in 1996 while it was being used as a set for the Hollywood film The Long Kiss Goodnight. It was immediately rebuilt with the original design replicated, and opened the following year.
"The question I got the most frequently during the renovations was, 'When will the pub re-open?'" said Hall. "I'm happy to say that the hotel, restaurant, pub, and all other areas are now fully operational and ready for our guests and our neighbours to enjoy."
Windermere House is accepting hotel and event reservations and job applications for the 2023 season. For more information, visit WindermereHouse.com.