How did I not know this incredible fairy-tale like place existed a mere half-day drive from my home? Sparkling Hill Resort and Spa is perched high on a hill overlooking the Okanagan Valley just outside of Vernon, British Columbia.
Driving up the winding hills past Predator Ridge Golf Course, I gasped when we turned the corner and saw the hotel twinkling in the darkness. Upon first sight, it was evident the resort would live up to its name.
With 12 of my besties by my side for a weekend away from husbands, kids, responsibilities and priorities other than relaxing, I really wasn’t sure what to expect.
Radiant beauty all around, for one.
There are 3.5 MILLION Swarovski crystals dripping from everywhere. Literally, everywhere. It was like walking around the world’s largest jewellery box. There are even crystals dangling from the trees outside the hotel. If you don’t see crystals within your immediate line of vision, there will at least be a rainbow reflection of the prisms hanging behind you. Simply stunning.
As if I hadn’t already been completely dazzled by the glow of crystals, I may have let out a squeal when I walked into our suite and saw the incredible views of the mountains through floor-to-ceiling windows and crystal accents everywhere in the room. This was by far the prettiest hotel room I have ever stayed in.
Sparkling Hill Resort was designed to be a wellness retreat, with the primary purpose of offering relaxation and healing. Their award-winning KurSpa (kur means healing in German) is the largest spa in Canada and is 40,000 square feet of pure relaxing bliss. The spa features a number of wellness packages including a Cleanse and Detox program, Weight Loss program as well as a SHaRP Relationship Program to improve coping skills and strengthen your relationships, among many others.
Our group didn’t have a specific intent for the getaway in mind so we chose to select our spa treatments a la carte. With over 100 treatments from which to choose, where does one even begin? I chose the Crystal Facial, the fanciest one they offered. Mostly because I plan to fight those creeping lines every chance I get, but also because it included a lymphatic detox massage as part of the treatment. Some of the other girls enjoyed hot stone massages, reflexology and scrubs. A few of others opted to feel as pretty as their surroundings and had mani/pedis, or updated their hairdo with a cut and colour in the on-site salon.
Regardless if you purchase a treatment or not, everyone who stays at Sparkling Hills gets full access to the KurSpa steam rooms, saunas, and the three infinity pools. One of our favourite rituals was to stroll through the Kneipp water therapy walkway. Three to four times, twice a day, we waded through the hot-cold-hot-cold knee-high watery path, said to help with circulation.
We spent a considerable amount of time in the Tea Room chilling out and chatting with friends, and in the uber quiet Serenity Room complete with snuggly blankets to contemplate life, read a book, or like many of us did, nap on comfy recliners overlooking Lake Okanagan. The Serenity Room is supposed to be just that – a room of silence – but the open-mouth snoring from a tired mama with the inevitable peal of giggles that ensued from her friends was forgivable.
The saunas and steam rooms in the KurSpa are like nothing I had ever experienced before. There are three steam saunas, three dry saunas, and an Igloo Room with icy walls infused with peppermint and eucalyptus essential oils and a basin of “snow” to cool your body down, which is recommend between the hot rooms. There are four Experiential Showers that offer the sound of birds chirping, essential oil mists and various water features based on your preferences. The Aqua Mediation room is set at the perfect temperature and humidity level so you literally never want to leave. Ever. Each room has a specific function to promote health, whether it be to detox your body, cleanse your lungs or just to promote sheer calm.
In addition to the spa treatments, pools, steam rooms and saunas, there are daily activities such as yoga, aquafit, and group hikes along the 12km trail system surrounding the resort. A fitness centre is equipped with state of the art Keiser equipment. Everything about the resort is geared to getting you on a path to wellness.
When passing each other in hallways, seated in the spas or just lounging on chairs, my friends and I would share wide smiles knowing we had discovered the greatest slice of heaven so close to home. As much as we loved this retreat for our group, we were all sighing over how much we’d love to come back with our husbands. The KurSpa is co-ed with a separate bathroom area for men and women with toilets and showers, however all the pools, steam rooms and saunas can be enjoyed with your significant other. In fact, there are even spa treatments for couples in private rooms with Ayurvedic, Middle Eastern, and Asian body treatments to choose from. Sparkling Hills definitely caters to the grown-up set – although children are certainly allowed to stay at the hotel, the spa area including the pools are only for ages 16 and up.
After a few days of being pampered by the staff, our eyes shone and our skin glowed. Nothing, not even the return to meal planning, school drop-offs and early morning hockey practices, could diminish the sparkle we left with. Now I just need to convince my husband to install a shower that sprays eucalyptus-scented water to maintain a bit of that between visits to this extraordinary place.
Overnight stays at Sparkling Hill include complimentary valet parking, wifi and buffet breakfast in their fabulous PeakFine restaurant. For more information on rates and availability, visit www.SparklingHill.com. You can sign up for their newsletter to receive insider updates and specials.
Sparkling Hill Resort Contact Info:
A big thanks to Sparkling Hill Resort for hosting our visit to their gorgeous slice of heaven.