Only a 90-minute drive from Vancouver, Harrison Hot Springs Resort continues to be a favourite staycation destination for our family – especially when it comes to celebrating a special milestone.
With the myriad of trees bursting along the waterfront sporting spectacular fall foliage, and the crowds of tourists dispersed for the off-season, fall is our favourite time to visit. Our recent stay just so happened to coincide with my 40th birthday. What better way to ring in a new decade surrounded by the people I love in one of the most beautiful and famous tourism destinations in all of British Columbia?
Not only is Harrison Hot Spring Resort steeped in history (this landmark resort officially opened on November 1, 1886, as the St. Alice Hotel; it burned to the ground but was rebuilt sometime later renamed as the Harrison Hot Springs Hotel), it’s situated on the picturesque shores of Harrison Lake, surrounded by mountains. It doesn’t get more West Coast than this place.
After checking our bags early, we like to venture out to the waterfront while waiting for our room to be ready. It’s the perfect opportunity to get some fresh air, soak up the scenery and snap some photos. There’s also a playground and washroom facilities on site that is ideal for young children.
A stroll through Harrison Village is also a must. Molly and Zoe love to browse through all the unique and eclectic shops, as do I. Many of these businesses have been around for decades, including the general store where we always go to get our hotel snacks. I was relieved to see that many have survived the pandemic.
Down the path, you’ll spot the iconic bench featuring a lounging sasquatch, which is a perfect photo op for families.
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If even after a stroll in town, you’re still too early to check-in, which we usually always are, we like to relax in the grand lodge-like lobby by the enormous river rock fireplace with a hot beverage from Miss Margaret’s cafe onsite. It’s so cozy and quiet, but we are always giddy with anticipation about checking into our room and, of course, taking a dip in hot pools on site.
Turns out we didn’t have to wait very long for our room, which featured unobstructed views of Harrison Lake, a full deck and two plush queen-sized beds. We usually don’t spend a whole lot of time in our room with the girls in tow as they’re always eager to head to the pools. And really, who can blame them? However, we do like to check out the movie offerings right away so we can watch a movie later and order room service nachos– it has become a family tradition.
With each of us sporting a robe, we headed straight for the outdoor hot mineral pools. It’s chilly when you first take your robe off, but oh-so-good as you sink into the soothing water.
Originally used by the Coast Salish for the medicinal properties and rejuvenating effects, the hot springs pools have been attracting visitors to Harrison Hot Springs for years. Famous guests have included Clark Gable, John Wayne, Michael Buble, Robin Williams, and Liam Neeson. There are five natural hot spring pools to choose from, including one for families and an adults-only side.
Now that our girls are older, we like to take turns visiting both. Guests do not have to wear masks in or around the pools but must wear them inside any common areas.
After our swim, we had dinner at the Harrison Hot Springs Resort’s family restaurant, Lakeside, which serves breakfast and dinner, daily. The restaurant boasts an incredible view of the waterfront and fresh home-cooked hearty fare like fish and chips, a steak dinner, roast chicken, etc. There is also a kids’ menu with options for little ones. The prices are fair, the food was fresh and the service was top-notch.
The following morning – my actual birthday – we floated lazily in the pools until checkout, soaking up the sunshine and fresh mountain air. I’ll tell you, turning 40 isn’t the easiest birthday, but this vacay sure made it an enjoyable one that I’ll forever cherish.
A huge thank you to Harrison Hot Springs Resort & Spa for hosting our whole family. We can’t wait to return again soon to celebrate another milestone or go, just because!
Thinking about planning your own visit to Harrison Hot Springs Resort? Check out their Lights on the Lake package (available Sun through Thurs Nov. 21-Dec. 16) which includes 10% off their best available rate and complimentary self-parking for 1 vehicle. You can also give a Harrison Hot Springs Resort Gift Card to someone special on your list to create jolly memories all year round.
Treat yourself to a rejuvenating stay at:
Harrison Hot Springs Resort
100 Esplanade Ave, Harrison Hot Springs