This new Ontario lodge has an outrageous amusement park concept

With its uniquely themed rooms, Hotel Philco is proprietor Phil Smith’s latest work to revitalize Fort Erie’s after-vibrant Crystal Beach front

For in excess of a century, Crystal Beach front, a local community in Fort Erie, Ontario, was regarded for its beachside amusement park, which attracted droves of Canadians and upstate New Yorkers. But right after the park closed in 1989, it was a ghost town. The location experienced missing its biggest employer and attraction, and several regional organizations shuttered. The at the time-bustling centre of town turned surprisingly tranquil. Phil Smith, who grew up in Fort Erie, experienced just gained his realtor’s licence when the park shut. “The primary streets have been desolate,” Smith states.

At that time, in the mid-90s, Smith’s major small business was marketing cottages he’d guarantee entrepreneurs he’d minimize their grass for no cost if they shown with him. “I consider 50 percent of Crystal Beach was employing me to be the realtor just so I would slash their grass.” In 2008, his gaze shifted to industrial structures, a lot of of which had been nonetheless abandoned or in decay. His very first purchase, the South Coast Cookhouse, remains a community favourite now. “The uglier and even worse it was, the a lot more I wished to fix it up.”

In latest years, the city has gone through a resurgence tied to its beautiful beach. Dining establishments, mom-and-pop stores and a couple fashionable boutiques have popped up in Crystal Seashore. “People occur for the beach and say, ‘Wow, this is great, we should really continue to be,’ he says. “But there is nowhere for them to remain.”

Crystal Beach’s Ontario Lodge was after been booming, but it was derelict by the time it came on the market place in 2017. Smith saw an chance to salvage the resort and generate an all-seasons vacation spot. He borrowed what ever he could and dipped into his financial savings to order the home for $1 million. After 5 yrs of comprehensive renovations—and some Crystal Beach–themed decorating—Smith re-branded the put Resort Philco and a short while ago opened its doorways to visitors.

Here’s a appear inside:


Hotel Philco has 7 rooms, each with its have concept. The largest is the vibrant Crystal Beach front Home, which overlooks the location the place the amusement park once stood. The home is crammed with memorabilia—everything from a funhouse mirror to a vehicle from a single of the first roller coasters, The Wild Mouse. The floors are designed of salvaged wood from the park’s rides and online games. There are previous tickets, maps, uniforms and images of rides. “Crystal Seaside was also nicely-identified for three food products: sugar waffles, a Crystal Seaside Sucker and a consume termed Loganberry,” Smith says. “When you check in, I have two sugar waffles there and a sucker there for you.” 

Smith devoted only one particular space to the old amusement park. The relaxation have their own themes, each and every similarly outrageous. 



The Brewery Space is a tribute to Ontario and Niagara craft breweries, with household furniture and a lavatory vainness made out of beer kegs, a beer tap keeping rest room paper, bottle opener beer faucets. The Bike Place, in the meantime, is included in bicycle sections. Vintage bicycles hang from the wall, as do bicycle-themed 1950s Wheaties licence plates from each and every point out and province. 

The nautical-themed Captain’s Space pays tribute to the sailing community of Fort Erie and its regattas and boat clubs. It’s loaded with outdated anchors and ship areas, buoys and daily life preservers. There are captain’s hats for individuals to get selfies. Almost everything is blue. As in all the other rooms, it is loaded with minor aspects and on-topic knick knacks. “Thank God for Etsy,” Smith states. 


An ode to Canada, the Cabin Place evokes bygone outings to the cottage, total with fishing tackles, log home furnishings and wood all over the place. The light-weight fixture is made out of a 13-foot canoe. “A ton of items in there are items from cottages that I marketed,” Smith suggests. “I’d see a kitschy welcome indication manufactured out of sticks or a little something and say ‘Hey, are you guys throwing that out? I’ll acquire it!’”

The Pink Area, or Glam Room, is loaded with disco balls, lights formed like unicorns, and a golden birdcage you can really sit in. The wallpapers are leopard pink, the walls are pink, the sofa is pink. “I even painted the toilet pink,” suggests Smith. There have already been a ton of calls for bachelorette get-togethers. 


There’s a Eco-friendly Area, too, which has a chill mother nature concept. It is has a vinyl file participant and a large amount of space to sit and zone out while listening. 

Smith hopes Hotel Philco aids tourism in Crystal Beach, sending attendees to other companies in the place. If all goes effectively, he has room to grow even even more. “I’ve got some thoughts,” he claims. “I hope it’s successful. I banked every thing I have on it.”

Hotel Philco’s rooms vary from $200 to $275 for each night time.