What do you see looking at this photo of Dan Sawatzky (back) and his son-in-law Peter (foreground)? Visual tricks will be hidden everywhere at the Hazelnut Inn, including the stone elephant’s head to the right that you may not have noticed at first glance. (Eric J. Welsh/ Chilliwack Progress)

Hazelnut Inn bringing themed hotel magic to Yarrow

A unique project by ImaginationCorporation.com will include three immersive story-themed suites

Something magical is being built in Yarrow.

Dan Sawatzky and the team at ImaginationCorporation.com are constructing a one-of-a-kind themed boutique hotel that will let guests sleep in the Copper Crown’s majestic castle tower, explore the wonders found in the home of explorer Temperance Longbottom or relax in Under Hill, a cozy Hobbit-like abode.

The seed for this project was planted when Dan’s daughter Hailey and son-in-law Peter traveled to Europe for their honeymoon.

“They wanted to stay in a castle and had to go to Europe to do it,” Dan said. “They came back and said, ‘Why not here?’”

If you could hand-pick anyone to take this project on, it’d be these people.

The small family-owned company has worked on theme parks in places like Dubai (United Arab Emirates) and Trinidad and Tobago. Much closer to home, they designed and built Giggle Ridge Adventure Golf and the Cultus Lake Adventure Park.

At the Hazelnut Inn, each of the three 600 square foot suites will have distinctive looks, private gardens and their own ‘stories.’

The North Star tells the tale (visually) of an explorer/treasure hunter/gatherer of antiquities named Temperance Longbottom.

“She traveled all over the world, including mythical places, in her ship,” Dan explains, walking through a heavy metal door into the suite. “Imagine this (room) full of antiques and treasures from around the world, and it’ll be plug full.”

Guests will sleep the ‘Captain’s quarters,’ which so far is the one interior section that is complete.

“It’s all hand-sculpted and hand-painted concrete,” Dan said.

Attention to detail matters, and he says nothing has been overlooked.

The North Star suite faces Yarrow Central Road, which can get noisy with vehicles.

“So we created a waterfall to cancel that out,” Dan says with a smile.

Under Hill immediately gives a Lord of the Ringsy vibe as you walk through a rounded doorway, of the sort you might see visiting Frodo in the Shire.

Pete and Hailey have been to visit the Hobbiton movie set in New Zealand.

“Everyone claims to have a themed hotel, which usually means matching the curtains with the bed-spread and having a few knick-knacks around the room,” Dan said. “But I’ve never actually seen a themed hotel, and I’ve been all over the world.

“Under Hill is certainly influenced by Hobbiton and that story, but we’ve got our own story that you can read on our website. It’s familiar, but different, and this is going to be immersive story-telling theming.”

The Copper Crown is the third suite, fulfilling Peter and Hailey’s dream of staying in a castle, complete with a drawbridge and a moat.

“You have to imagine all the castle stuff — big stone arches and a fireplace going all the way up, suits of armor, tapestries, leaded-glass windows and an incredibly large chandelier,” Dan says. “This is the one that started it all. Once it’s done it’ll appear to be a castle in every way except size.”

According to the Hazelnut Inn mythology the Copper Crown was home to an “ancient line of aristocrats who, in addition to being peers of the realm, were renowned orchardists, librarians, and even (according to one telling) dragon riders.”

Work has taken three years to date (one year planning, two years construction), and Dan hopes the first of the three suites, the North Star, can open sometime next year.

“The end of next summer, maybe, or might be the following spring,” Dan suggested. “It’s a function of how ambitious we are working on it, and how busy we are in the shop (with Imagination Corporation projects). But we are having a lot of fun doing this.”

Get more info online at hazelnuttin.com and imaginationcorporation.com

READ MORE: New theme park opening soon at Cultus Lake

READ MORE: Workers praise Disney virus safety, but will visitors return?


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The rounded doorframe of the Under Hill suite is visible to the left in this photo. (Imagination Corporation)

A look at the unfinished exterior facade of the Copper Crown, one of three themed suites being constructed at the Hazelnut Inn. (Imagination Corporation photo)

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