Sparkling Hill Resort and Wellness Hotel, a brand new destination spa in the unlikely location of Vernon, British Columbia, is taking the spa/wellness world by storm. This 152-room spa is perched on the edge of a granite ridge overlooking the Monashee Mountains and the breathtakingly gorgeous Lake Okanagan which, rumor has it, harbors its own mystical Loch Ness Monster, named Ogopogo.
A longtime dream of CEO, Hans-Peter Mayer, to offer an authentic European wellness lifestyle to North Americans, became a reality when fellow Austrian Gernot Langes-Swarovski (ruler of the Swarovski crystal empire) decided to fund the project (at the cost of $122 million) as a unique showplace to the wonderful world of crystal. Sparkling Hill utilizes an amazing 1.9 million Swarovski crystals liberally sprinkled throughout the property.
149 suites (plus three deluxe penthouses), offer mind altering vistas. They are elegantly understated and free of superfluous artwork cluttering the walls. Adornment consists of light-reflecting Swarovski crystal elements installed in the cabinetry, the “Starry Sky” ceiling, and a fireplace consisting of a large cluster of crystals that flicker with red light. Magnificent views await you from the specially designed Kohler tub-for-two, or your cozy seating which faces a sliding wall-to-wall window that slides all the way open for breathing in that fresh, clean Okanagan air …makes for a great night’s sleep. A snuggly feather bed, large plasma TV, walk through shower complete with view make-up a cozy nest.
*Insider Tip: Try and dibs Room 333, which occupies a choice corner spot therefore offering incredible wrap-around views of both the lake and mountains.
Have fun trying to choose between 100 different treatments
The shining star here is the stunning 40,000 sq.ft. KurSpa. Kurspa means “healing by water” in German. This sensational spa offers both indoor and outdoor saltwater infinity swimming pools, a 30-person hot tub and seven different saunas and steam rooms (choose from rose- infused steam, an herbal sauna, a crystal eucalyptus room or just sauna-surf from one to another). There’s the Kneipp Waterway – a European “water-stepping” treatment where you wade through channels of water alternating between hot and cold temperatures that soothes aching leg muscles.
A few standouts from the myriad of treatment choices are a Fango Mud Wrap, a “360 degree discovery massage” incorporating Shiatsu, Lomi-Lomi, African, Swedish and Auzzi massage techniques, or couples might enjoy a special Sissi bath, infused with milk, chocolate or honey followed by a relaxing and attentive side-by-side massage.
*Insider Tip: Highly recommend the M & M tag-team. (A massage by the miraculous Melissa will leave you begging for more and Magdalena’s soothing hands work wonders in the facial category.)
The Ultimate Chill-out
S.H. pulls out all the stops for their signature treatment—a Cold Sauna with temperatures of MINUS 110º C (-166º F), that’s very popular in Europe for treating joint pain. Guest’s testimonials include feeling more alert and refreshed with feelings of euphoria after a session.
Let’s get physical:
For a more active workout, check out the FunFit Studio filled with cardiovascular and strength training equipment, the Movement Studio for a variety of yoga, Fusion dance, Tai-chi and stretch classes, or take to explore the well marked hiking trails that criss-cross over 188 acres of nature’s best flora and fauna.
Want to hit a few balls? Next door nabe, Predator Ridge Golf Resort, offers up not one but two top-rated public golf courses. A new 18-hole golf course “The Ridge” designed by Doug Carrick, an award winning architect is recognized for developing some of the best and toughest golf courses in Canada and Europe.
Sparkling fresh cuisine completes the picture
Another dynamic duo, Winnipeg-born Chef Ross Derrick and Manual Adamiker, the resort’s Viennese pastry chef, orchestrate Peak Fine, the 250 seat main dining room, that offers a side of floor to ceiling breathtaking views, and a generous sprinkling of crystals to go with your sparkling fresh Euro/B.C. blended cuisine. This highly- talented chef is still putting the finishing touches on his spa-cuisine menu, but lighter dishes are readily available, incorporating seasonal, organic produce.
When you go:
Final Insider Tip: Rooms start at around $270 a night but there are some fantastic packages such as “The Couple Getaway” which includes two nights in a deluxe suite, buffet brekkies, a romantic four-course dinner, full spa use, free shuttle from the international airport, Kelowna ( about a 30 minute drive) PLUS two $150 gift certificates for treatments, for only $850.