Vancouver couple buys Saint Andrews bed & breakfast — without so much as a visit

·3 min read
Ben and Zainub Faulkner-Malik have recently purchased Montague Rose Bed and Breakfast in Saint Andrews (The Montague Rose B&B Instagram - image credit)
Ben and Zainub Faulkner-Malik have recently purchased Montague Rose Bed and Breakfast in Saint Andrews (The Montague Rose B&B Instagram - image credit)

A Vancouver couple is calling Saint Andrews home without ever experiencing the town first-hand.

Zainub and Ben Faulkner-Malik have been self-isolating at home in Charlotte County, since arriving two weeks ago.

"It's a bizarre feeling because we feel like we've been here already," said Faulkner-Malik, from her new home in Saint Andrews.

People have been dropping things off and sending messages — and they haven't even met their neighbours yet.

Now that we're here, we made the best decision - Zainub Faulkner-Malik

"The way the community has made us feel has got us really excited about when we can step outside our property lines and meet people and walk around the town itself."

They're the new owners of the Montague Rose Bed and Breakfast.

It's a historic building from the 1850s and can be found in the heart of downtown.

"It's just magnificent," said the interior designer. "It's just way grander than I ever could have imagined."

Deer problem a new experience

And everyday, they're learning something new about the property or the area — such as the town's growing deer population.

Last year, deputy mayor Brad Henderson told CBC News, a typical community of its size would have between three and five deer per square kilometre. In Saint Andrews, there are more than 20 deer per square kilometre.

"People have hit multiple deer coming in and out of town," he previously said. "There's been situations where motorcyclists have hit them … there's been deer that have actually run into people."

But Faulkner-Malik is looking forward to the wildlife.

"I'll take the deer over the car and busy streets any day," she said.

A home away from home

They are hoping to make the business a place where residents and visitors can come and feel at home this summer.

The couple will be taking bookings come May and by June, they're also hoping to add a tearoom, that will feature High Tea and traditional English treats.

They're also want to bring a fresher look to the historic home for visitors, including new furnishings, modern technology "and also give them a really friendly visit as well."

The couple started to think about moving when the first lockdown happened about a year ago.

They felt like they were stuck inside their 500-square foot apartment.

"We were really going stir-crazy," she said.

Zainub Faulkner-Malik is hopeful guests will be able to visit in June.
Zainub Faulkner-Malik is hopeful guests will be able to visit in June.(The Montague Rose B&B Instagram)

That's when they decided to look at real-estate across the country.

"Fast forward a year and we just kind of pulled the plug," she said.

Then they discovered Saint Andrews after seeing it was voted by USA Today in 2017 as the top destination in Canada for travellers.

"We found a property. We put an offer in. And now we're here."

Despite their fears, the couple said the move made sense.

Faulkner-Malik had previously run a bed and breakfast in Australia. She had always dreamt of starting another one.

Then along came COVID.

"It was really risky and it was pretty scary," she said. "There were moments we were very unsure when we were putting our offer in."

The couple plan to document their new Maritime adventure on YouTube and social media, to inspire others looking to move.

"Now that we're here, we made the best decision."