I’m just back from Sparkling Hill Resort where I enjoyed a few fantastic days. It was a girls’ getaway, with my mom, sister and sister-in-law, all organized by my SIL (which, by the way, also stands for strong independent lady – a description that definitely applies).
She booked two rooms for two nights. The package included valet parking, free wifi, a hot buffet breakfast each morning, a two-course dinner each evening and access to the spa facilities (more details below).
Sparkling Hill Resort is located about 20 minutes southwest of Vernon, between Okanagan and Kalamalka Lakes. Three of us flew from Calgary to Penticton, where Mom picked us up and then we drove the 118 km (1 hr 45 min) to the resort together. For guests flying into Kelowna, it’s about a 30 minute drive (shuttle service is available).
Approaching along the roads winding through Predator Ridge Golf Resort Community, we caught an occasional glimpse of Sparkling Hill perched at the very top of the ridge. The approach was lovely, even late in the afternoon on a grey sky day.
In the lobby, three stories of crystal chandeliers compete with fantastic mountain views to grab your attention. Then smaller details catch the eye: crystals on the stair railings, on the glass panels separating the main lobby from the spa lobby and some large artwork. The more than 3.5 million crystals carefully installed throughout the property justify the name – Sparkling Hill.
Our rooms on the first floor featured more crystals, including a wonderful red crystal night-light and crystals refracting beautiful patterns on the ceiling.
The floor-to-ceiling wall of glass in each of our rooms provided an excellent view of the rolling hills that are so typical of the Okanagan Valley.
After dropping our luggage in our rooms and taking a few minutes to check out all the sparkles, we rode the elevator down one floor to check out Kurspa. At 40,000 sq ft, it’s one of the largest luxury spas in Canada. More along the European spa model, this facility is oriented towards wellness and healing. Regardless of whether you purchase a spa treatment, all the guests at Sparkling Hill enjoy full access to the steam rooms, saunas and pool area (indoor infinity pool, outdoor infinity pool, hot tub and Kneipp water therapy walkway (a hot-cold-hot-cold knee-deep water pathway that stimulates and invigorates the nervous and lymphatic systems), as well as the Tea Room, Serenity Room, Exercise Room and Movement Room.
There’s a daily schedule of activities and classes and during our stay all of the classes were available to guests at no additional charge, so we all signed up for the next day’s AquaFit class. SIL and I also signed up for the early morning “Healthy Backs” class.
Healthy Backs turned out to be a core workout with some good instruction and information from the kinesiologist on staff. It was a good way to start our only full day at Sparkling Hill. We liked it enough that we opted to sign up for the same class the next morning.
SIL enjoyed a relaxation massage before we all met up at the indoor salt water pool for AqauFit. It was so much fun, mainly because of the big sister / little sister antics. We laughed so much the instructor had to rein us in!!
SIL and sister checked out most of the sauna / steam rooms that afternoon while I was out exploring some of the trail network and mom had a bit of a rest. They opted to skip the super hot (90 C) and super cold (-110 C) saunas, but otherwise tried pretty much all of them and came back relaxed and glowing. I was outside and they were somewhere in here…
We ate all of our meals in the PeakFine dining room. We each chose an appetizer and main course at supper time. Everything was beautifully prepared and presented, and incorporated plenty of local, fresh ingredients. I am glad that our suppers were included in our package, because I thought $11 – $18 for appetizers plus $35 – $44 for a main course was a little on the high side.
Between the huge gas fireplace and ceiling chandelier in the evenings and the amazing views of Okanagan Lake in daytime, PeakFine has a lovely ambiance.
The breakfast buffet offered plenty of options ranging from fruit and yogurt, to oatmeal, to toast and pastries to eggs with potatoes and sausages. The coffee was really good and I enjoyed the Sparkling starter which was some kind of cleansing drink.
We all agreed this is a great place for a girls’ getaway or for a couples retreat (if both people are into the whole spa thing). We shared two to a room, so the cost per person was about $400 for everything but the spa treatments (i.e. included rooms, spa classes, gratuities and drinks with dinner), which I thought was reasonable taking everything into consideration. Sparkling Hill offers discounts for local residents and has various package deals available at different times of the year. The four of us have already agreed that a return visit is in order.
I wandered around some of the public rooms just before supper the second evening…couldn’t resist the challenge of trying to get some good photographs of at least some of the crystals…
Tomorrow’s post will cover some of the hiking trails in the area.