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Last guest checks out of popular Ladner Village boutique hotel

After 20 years of welcoming and cooking for guests Clair Oates is ready for the next chapter in her life

The last guest has checked out of Clair’s Boutique Hotel.

The popular bed and breakfast destination has closed its doors after welcoming guests to the Ladner Village heritage home for the last 20 years.

“I’m 71 now and I want to go off and play. It’s time for people to look after me now,” laughed owner Clair Oates who will begin her retirement with a trip to Waikiki early next month before eventually settling in Kelowna.

She and her husband purchased the “Baker House” back in 2002.

The craftsman style bungalow was initially built for George and Urusla Baker and their six children in 1922. The Gateway Society for autistic children operated out of the home in the 1970s until it needed more space. To make way for a larger building, the house was moved across 48th Avenue to the 4900 block where it stands today.

It was a family situation that led to Oates to turning the home into a bed and breakfast business when she needed to care for her mom after her dad had passed away.

“I’ve always been a cook and I loved decorating. My father had taken a bad fall and I needed to look after her mother,” explained Oates who had been working in a law office for 35 years. “I asked for a three-month leave of absence and they said they didn’t think it would work and I would need to use vacation time. It made me so mad I just walked out.”

The family lived on the bottom floor while the second and third floors were turned into the boutique hotel, complete with six themed guest rooms, a renovated kitchen, along with a parlor and saloon. Money was also invested into the backyard complete with gardens and a water feature. The work was recognized with a Heritage Preservation Award. 

Oates’ stopped taking reservations back in October, although some loyal customers still trickled in through to the end of last month. The home is listed for $2.8 million.

Now, she is in the process of disassembling the hotel, which includes a large collection of antiques. Oates has been taking viewing appointments for the pieces that won’t be going with her to the Okanagan. She had more than 30 appointments on the weekend.