We’ve teased about it all summer long – you’ve seen snapshots of magical sunsets, breathtaking hikes and sandy afternoons. Now, we want to share the story of why we bought our second motel in Sauble Beach, the retro beach town that captured our hearts in just one visit.
Buying a motel in Prince Edward County five years ago made sense. The local vineyards were producing quality wine, farm to table dining was the hip way to eat, Torontonians’ desire to escape the 9-5 work week was at an all-time high and there were few places to stay in The County. We bought, renovated and rebranded The Sportsman Motel into The June Motel on tight budgets and big dreams. Back then, we were a two-person team laying the flooring, wallpapering and assembling furniture – with some help from willing family and friends on weekends.
Somewhere between painting our doors pink and pouring rosé for our guests, we discovered our true passion as Moteliers was rooted in reinventing the motel experience and introducing people – like you – to destinations we love. Nothing makes us feel more fulfilled than bringing the good ol’ days back to life through retro bohemian decor, nightly campfires and outdoor movie nights at The June. And that’s why we want to do it again.
We spent 2018 scouring Ontario’s next greatest locations for cool old-school motels with good bones and better potential. We stumbled across some gems – 7 to be exact – but we won’t say where just yet. We kept comparing them all to the 70’s retro motor lodge we discovered in a sleepy little beach town just south of Tobermory...
Little did we know that the popular turquoise blue swimming holes along the Bruce Peninsula were less than an hour away from our new motel crush. You know, the ones popping up all over your instagram feed lately? We had a gut feeling that this area was going to be the next hot spot in Ontario – maybe even in Canada.
On the corner of Main Street and Sauble Falls Parkway, we fell in love. The vintage build we visited was a 24 room motor-lodge with a pool, dining lounge and A-Frame on site. From the original wood panelling throughout the property to the room balconies soaking up the 7pm sun, we saw the potential to completely restore this motel to the vibrant glory days it was once so loved for.
Sauble Beach was dreamy from the get-go. We spent 24 hours with no place to go but the beach and no plans except enjoying the sunshine. It was pure bliss. After a Saturday morning yoga class on the beach, casual sunset drinks accompanied by live music at Sola’s and a smoothie bowl from The Wellness Refinery, we were sold on the entire experience of escaping to Sauble.
We bought The Knights Inn Motel in early Spring 2019 and ran it as-is for the summer, fully immersing ourselves into the laid back lifestyle and daily routines that make this area so diverse and special.
In between design plans, meeting with contractors and checking guests into the motel, we hiked along the Bruce Peninsula and discovered some beautiful secret spots. The Georgian Bay water here is clear and sparkling and the views from every trail are unbeatable. We spent days unwinding on the beach with good books, surrounded by families and friends playing volleyball, building sandcastles and skim-boarding along the shore.
We watched the sunset more times than we can count…but if you ask us for the best way to do it, we’d say on a boat tour where the cotton candy skies melt like butter into Lake Huron. Or maybe with an affogato in hand courtesy of Beach House Cottages & Cafe. And...we spent more afternoons waiting in line at Casero’s Taco Bus than we’d like to admit.
In Sauble, we learned to operate on a sunset state of mind. Here, it’s all about living on beach time, in flip flops, with the people you love. This small retro beach town has completely captured our hearts and brought our motel dreams to life.
But, it's also so much more than that. Sauble Beach is a unique small business hub, with family run operations, solo female business owners and young Toronto-expat entrepreneurs. We're inspired by the amount of hard work that these people have put into creating such a long-standing and memorable summer destination for all those that visit. We see potential in Sauble, and we're along for the ride.
But first, this place needs a whole lot of love. This motel project is bigger, harder and more expensive than when we did this in Prince Edward County. Good thing we know a little more this time around! We’ve put the flip flops away, stocked up on wine and are ready to transform this vintage motor-lodge into the retro motel and swim club it so deserves to be.
Some things to expect from The June Motel & Swim Club next Spring? Poolside rosé, outdoor shuffleboard, yoga on the beach and a retro, 70’s inspired dining lounge. Mark your calendars, Sauble 2020 is coming for you!