Growing up in the Fraser Valley, I always heard about Harrison Hot Springs Resort. In the summers I saw the hotel while playing on the shore of Lake Harrison. But until the ripe old age of 39 I had never dipped a toe in the hot springs nor stayed at the hotel. I’m so glad to have righted that wrong and look forward to a return visit soon.
Harrison Hot Springs, whose spa dates back to 1926, offers an idyllic retreat for both couples and families. Just an hour and a half from downtown Vancouver the quaint town of Harrison, nestled in the Coast Mountains, will have you feeling like you hopped a plane and journeyed to another land.
Hot Springs pools: our first encounter with the hot springs was on a rather cold and rainy night. If I could replicate that experience I would in a heart beat. Following dinner we bundled up the kids (by the way the resort doesn’t have little-kid-sized robes so be sure to pack your own) and made the dash from the hotel to the hot springs. While the walkway is covered it is still outside. The biting cold made the warmth of the hot springs ever more glorious. I will never forget the steam lifting off the water, the floor of the pool glowing a soft blue, and the top of my hair ice cold. It was fantastic. During our stay we made repeated visits to the hot springs but nothing came close to topping our first dip.
There are 5 pool options: 3 outside & 2 indoor. One of the outside pools is set aside for adults-only. I actually appreciated that as I then didn’t feel the need to complete reign in the fun only kids are capable of having in a pool. Though I was very envious of the adult-beverages I spotted in the the hands of the grown ups in the “other pool”. The 2 family-friendly pools are spacious and distinct from one another. The cooler pool is the shape of a traditional swimming pool and has varying water depth. The warmer pool, hence our favourite outdoor pool, is set up like a lagoon with lots of in-pool seating and water shallow enough that our 5 year old had no problem touching. The 2 indoor pools are just behind the outdoor pools. One is a large swimming pool and the other is a sitting pool (aka super warm liquid heaven).
Healing Springs Spa: I was the only member of our family to experience the spa, and wow did the others miss out. That being said, I’m not about to introduce the kids to the spa-lifestyle anytime soon (I’m saving those pennies for mom and dad). Located between the indoor and outdoor pools the Healing Springs Spa is an oasis of tranquility. I was treated to a facial by the wonderful Faye. May I just say that all facials should start with a neck and shoulder massage! The 70 minute escape from reality passed much too quickly. I was really impressed by Faye’s ability to read my mood. Sometimes I was chatty and sometimes I just wanted to soak in the experience. She didn’t miss a single queue. The Healing Springs Spa offers a wide variety of services including facials, massages, wraps, exfoliating scrubs, and hair treatments.
Dining options to suite every palate: From the high-end dining experience at the Copper Room to the quick grab & go of Miss Margaret’s coffee shop, the Harrison Hot Springs Resort can accommodate any type of meal you seek. The Copper Room offers a unique blend of fine dining and welcoming atmosphere. You don’t need to fear that the fancy restaurant will look down their nose at your young offspring. In fact the experience is the exact opposite. There is a children’s menu and a kids’ only dance floor (complete with multi-coloured lights that are just begging to be chased). The Copper Room also does an exceptional job of providing a high-end experience for their guests who are looking for a grown-up experience. The Jones Boys band plays live music – an eccletic mix of jazz, oldies, pop and more – and their tunes enticed many couples to take a spin on the dance floor.
The breakfast buffet at the Lakeside Cafe is expansive and delicious. From fresh fruit and cereal, to pancakes, sausages, bacon and hashbrowns, no one was going hungry. The made-to-order omelette station was incredibly popular. I may have eaten more than my fair share of croissants, cream cheese and smoked salmon. I really appreciated that the pricing for the breakfast buffet was based on age. Everyone knows a 5 year old can’t eat as much as a 12 year old! The Lakeside Cafe also provides dinner every night.
Miss Margaret’s is a little coffee shop that greets you upon your entrance into the resort. You can find everything from coffees made-to-order, to healthy juices and a selection of healthy snacks such as granola bars, pastries, soups and sandwiches.
And if you don’t feel like venturing out of your room for meals, the in-room dining options are terrific! Our cheese & fruit plate was devoured by all four of us at an alarming rate!
Spacious rooms & many accommodation options: The 6th floor of the West Tower was our home during our much-too-short retreat at Harrison. The view of Harrison Lake added to our tranquil retreat. The room was spacious and provided ample space for our family of four. Despite the downpour that joined us during our visit, we took advantage of our balcony while sipping wine and munching on cheese and crackers. If you are looking for an extra-large accommodation check out either the rooms in the East Tower or the Cottages.
Sasquatch: No where else in Canada do you run as good a chance of spotting a Sasquatch as you do when visiting Harrison. The bi-pedal mammal of extraordinary size (reaching 14′) is covered with reddish-fur from head to toe, and is said to be incredibly strong. Local lore says that every four years a Sasquatch reunion is held in Harrison. The reunion begins on the night of the full moon in July and runs for 4 nights. Should you be unable to attend the official Sasquatch reunion, you can always attend Sasquatch Days which is an annual celebration involving the local Sts’ailes first nations bands, canoe races, salmon barbecuing and, of course, Sasquatch story telling. In case you don’t spot a Sasquatch in real life, you can bring home a consolation prize in the form of a plush Sasquatch available for purchase at Sticks & Stones, the Harrison Resort Gift Shop. They are super cute!
Thank you to the Harrison Hot Springs Resort for hosting us during our stay. The opinions expressed in this article are entirely my own.