May 26, 2009 | Tips from Us >
Merritt, Guest Ranches & Horseback Riding
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The Quilchena Hotel
has been welcoming guests on and off since 1908 when it was built due to wild spectulation that the railway would run through the Nicola Valley and the hotelier would become rich. The railway routed elsewhere but the hotel continued on until 1917 when it shut down for more than 40 years. It was reopened in 1958 by the grandson of the original builder. I didn't stay at the hotel but happened by it en route from Merritt to Kamloops via Highway 5A. We enjoyed a delicious lunch in the saloon - one of the best hamburgers I have ever had and no doubt considering the beef is raised and processed right on the ranch. For a history buff, the place was bursting with rich material. The 16 rooms are all unique and, while comfortable, are still reminiscent of the early days. The Saloon is a local favourite with bullet holes in the bar reminding us of the wilder days when outlaw Billy Miner roamed the area. The drive to Quilchena Hotel takes you past Nicola Lake and it was spectacular. I would highly recommend this alternative route if driving to Kamloops!