In 1937, Warren Hastings, an English naval architect with a gift for story-telling, moved to Salt Spring Island from Sussex, England with his new bride Barbara. According to Hastings, he and Barbara “decided to build on Salt Spring Island because we love the sea and we think it is one of the most beautiful places in the world, with a lovely climate.” Hastings built the Manor House in 1940 to resemble his 11th century Sussex-style family home because their “furniture was suitable for a house of this type.”
The large Inglenook fireplace in the Manor House is a reproduction of a type found in Tudor homes in Sussex. The stones for the fireplaces and chimneys were all quarried on the estate’s own land. The wood floors are of end-grain fir, random width, fastened with black boat nails. The iron hardware for hinges on the doors and iron window frames were made by the local blacksmith. The hand split shakes for the roof were made locally as well. A clay pot Mr. Hastings had brought from England is buried beneath the hearth “to keep the witches away.”
Four other historical buildings comprise the Hastings House Resort. Of special note is The Farmhouse, which was built around the turn of the century and was long thought to be haunted because of its colourful history. It was converted into a workshop after the Manor House was built, and finally into a pair of two-story premier guest suites in 1980. The Post was the first Hudson’s Bay Post on Salt Spring Island where trading was conducted on the honour system. The Post was moved to its present location next to the garden in preparation for building the Manor House, and was used as a caretaker’s residence for many years. The Barn was rebuilt to its original exterior dimensions when the estate was converted into a hotel and now houses 5 guest suites and a spa in place of horses.
In 1980, Warren Hastings sold the property to Shan and Donald Cross of Calgary, Alberta, who turned the estate into an elegant hotel with ten guest suites and 30 seats in the dining room. Fifteen years later the current owners Bonny O’Connor and Jerry Parks purchased the property with the goal of maintaining the courtesy and charm of Hastings House.
The new owners added seven new Hillside Suites overlooking Ganges Harbour in 1999. In 2000 they built the Verandah over an outdoor patio to increase dining capacity and provide an all-weather spot for weddings and other gatherings. The former manager’s residence has been refurbished as a 3-bedroom guest cottage overlooking the hotel grounds and harbour, bringing the total number of guest accommodations to eighteen.