New owners of Sooke Harbour House want to bring a modern look to the historic property built in 1929 that formerly attracted movie stars was the backdrop for movie-set locations. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)

New owners of Sooke Harbour House aim for fall 2021 re-opening

Historic property sold for $5.6 million

When Alex Watson closes his eyes and imagines what the Sooke Harbour House could become, he envisions a boutique destination resort.

“The trick is that it obviously needs a little bit of work,” said Watson, the chief operating officer of IAG Enterprises Ltd., a North Vancouver real estate company that recently bought the historic property for $5.632 million.

“We’re coming in cold, so we have to go through each room, figuring out what needs to be done.”

The sale of the one-hectare waterfront site with 28 rooms is complete, and IAG staff are assessing what upgrades the 1929 building needs. The historic property houses a 62-seat restaurant and a 50-seat bar at the end of Whiffin Spit Road.

The hotel and restaurant, known for its world-class dining experience, themed-guest rooms and gardens, sold after being on the market since April, with an original asking price of $5.6 million.

The Harbour House was wrapped up in various legal actions, including an ownership battle between the Sooke couple who bought the hotel in 1979 and a couple of corporations that were in share-purchase agreements.

Black Press Media reached out to former co-owner Frederique Philip for comment.

READ MORE: Hollywood comes to Sooke

“The restaurant put this part of the Island on the map,” Watson said. “You can’t replicate a location like this place filled with so much history and goodwill.”

Watson isn’t a stranger to the beloved building that has attracted visits by movie stars and served as a movie-set location. He has fond memories with roommates from college in Sooke and family friends that live in the district too.

The new owners hope to emphasize a West Coast vibe, with architecture and design that fits with the area. They’re looking at the potential for a spa facility to relax and unwind and considering working with local tour groups to boost tourism.

Watson said he knows the building is starting to show age. After his first walk-through, he pointed out that there needs to be electrical work, new carpets, and the roof might need a second look as well.

He wants to keep the Sooke Harbour House’s historic look and feel, but make it more modern.

IAG is in discussions to bring in several big-name food and beverage groups to the property.

The Harbour House aims to be fully operational by fall 2021, but Watson says nothing is set in stone.

ALSO READ: Selling inn not an easy decision

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here


New owners of Sooke Harbour House want to bring a modern look to the historic property built in 1929 that formerly attracted movie stars was the backdrop for movie-set locations. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)

New owners of Sooke Harbour House want to bring a modern look to the historic property built in 1929 that formerly attracted movie stars was the backdrop for movie-set locations. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)

Just Posted

RCMP are trying to determine why a woman fled the scene of an accident in Sooke. (File - Black Press Media)
Sooke RCMP search for driver who fled crash site

Police want to know why woman left

Knox Vision Society’s affordable housing complex at 2110 Church Rd. in Sooke. The building includes 42 affordable rental apartments. (File – Sooke News Mirror)
Sooke committee takes aim at affordable housing

Several projects close to breaking ground

The Royal Canadian Legion kicked off its annual poppy drive in Sooke with legion president Richard Steele (left), Mayor Maja Tait, T’Sou-ke Nation Chief Gordie Planes and poppy fund chair Al Stuart in attendance. (Kevin Laird/News Staff)
Sooke Legion credits restaurant, volunteers for keeping doors open through pandemic

‘We’re not making a lot of money, but we’re not losing a lot either,’ says legion president

Patrol officers from VicPD’s Esquimalt division responded to a call about hateful graffiti in Macaulay Park Wednesday evening. (Black Press Media file photo)
Anti-Semitic, hate-based graffiti found in Esquimalt park

Police seek suspects after fresh hate-based graffiti found Wednesday evening

Vancouver Island-based Wilson’s Transportation has expanded to fill some of the routes left unserviced by Greyhound as of Nov. 1, 2018. (Black Press files)
B.C. bus companies say they need help to survive COVID-19

Like airlines, motor coaches have lost most of their revenue

A woman wears a face mask and plastic gloves while browsing books as a sticker on the floor indicates a one-way direction of travel between shelves of books at the Vancouver Public Library’s central branch, after it and four other branches reopened with limited services, in Vancouver, on Tuesday, July 14, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
B.C. reports 234 new COVID cases, 1 death of senior who had attended small birthday party

Roughly 5,700 people are isolating due to being exposed to a confirmed case

President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Allentown, Pa. on Oct. 26. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
POLL: How closely are you following the U.S. presidential election?

It may feel like it’s been going on forever but the U.S.… Continue reading

A deer was spotted in October 2020 in Prince Rupert, B.C., with a bright pink yoga ball stuck in its antlers. (Kayla Vickers/Chronicles Of Hammy The Deer Official Page)
Hammy 2.0? Prince Rupert deer spotted with bright pink yoga ball stuck in antlers

The BC Conservation Officer Service is aware of the deer roaming around the city

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Kelowna Mountie hit with 2nd lawsuit in 2 months for alleged assault

Const. Julius Prommer is accused of breaking a woman’s knee during while responding to a noise complaint

Hirdeypal Batth, 24, has been charged with sexual assault and forcible confinement in relation to an incident in August 2020. (VPD handout)
Man, 24, charged with sex assault after allegedly posing as Uber driver in Vancouver

Investigators believe there could be more victims outside of the Vancouver area

Pilot Kevin Maher participated in a flyover of a ceremony at the Cobble Hill cenotaph on Oct. 22 in a 1940 North American (Noorduyn) Harvard aircraft. (Robert Barron/Citizen)
Cobble Hill remembers lost military members with ceremony, flyover

Annual event commemorates those who died in non-combat roles

Adam Ireton holds his son Weston, along with Kristen and Beckett as they celebrate Weston's last day of treatment for lukemia. (Kristen Ireton photo)
799 days: ‘Super’ Weston defeats cancer

‘Weston is disease-free now, so we will be going into a period of checkups and things until he’s 18’

B.C. Premier John Horgan and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee arrive for annual Cascadia conference in Vancouver, Oct. 10, 2018. They have agreed to coordinate the permanent switch to daylight saving time. (B.C. government)
B.C. still awaiting U.S. approval to eliminate daylight saving time

Clocks going back one hour Nov. 1 in Washington too

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shakes hands with US Vice-President Joe Biden on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Friday, December 9, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Patrick Doyle
A Biden presidency could mean good news for Canadian environment policy: observers

Experts and observers say even a U.S. outside the Paris agreement may ultimately end up in the same place

Most Read