British Columbia may be better known for manoeuvring moguls than chilling out but this scenic Canadian province offers world-class choices for those keen to relax. Here are five of the best.
1. Nita Lake Lodge (Whistler)
Just a two-hour drive from Vancouver up the scenic Sea to Sky highway, the world famous resort town of Whistler has no shortage of options for recovering when off the slopes. For a boutique lakeside luxury experience, Nita Lake Lodge is an excellent choice. Work off achy skiing muscles (or strengthen your hiking ones) in their gym: classes are one to one, and some of the area’s best trainers work here. For a more chilled out fitness experience, try the lodge’s yoga classes – there are three or more offerings a day run from their new on-site yoga studio.
While it’s tempting to stay solely on site for pampering, a trip to Scandinave Spa is well worth leaving the lodge for. This outdoor, mountainside hydrotherapy experience on the edge of Lost Lake park spans 20,000 square feet, and includes hot tubs, saunas, fire pits and healing treatments aplenty; there’s more than enough to keep you occupied here for an entire afternoon.
2. Clayoquat Wilderness Resort, Vancouver Island
Just a short private boat ride from the laid-back town of Tofino, the serenity of exclusive Clayoquat Wilderness Resort manages to make even the relaxed atmosphere of Vancouver Island look hectic.
Be warned, the season is short: this glamping (glamourous camping) experience is only available from June to September, and bookings are often hard to come by. Accommodation is in luxury tents complete with a full bathroom, flushing toilet, and two showers apiece, but beneath the luxury touches lies a serious commitment to both the people and the planet. Owners of Clayoquat work closely with the local First Nations people, and the environmental impact of the resort is minimised through a zero waste approach. Wellbeing is easy to come by in a location like this: simply sit quietly under an old growth tree, request a health-focused on any one of the island’s secluded beaches (staff will organise everything for you), or sip a glass of wine while having a pedicure in the resort’s highly regarded spa.
3. Watermark, Okanagan Valley
For a family-friendly luxury experience, head to British Colombia’s wine country. Nestled in the Okanagan Valley in Osoyoos, the Watermark Beach Resort has wine and wellbeing covered. After settling the kids into kids camp, head to Breathe studio, the resort’s on site health centre. Here, numerous yoga and Pilates classes are on offer every day, and the resort owner’s passion for health and fitness shine through.
After class, squeeze in some local wine tasting, or a visit to the nearby Osoyoos Desert Centre to learn about the area’s unique ecosystem, before planting yourself at the resort’s new spa, Illumination. At this vegan, organic-focused healing centre the only challenge will be what type of massage to choose: cold stone, Thai or chakra balancing?
4. The White Spirit Lodge, Big White
To experience the healing hands of nature, and enjoy a quieter skiing experience than the impressive but people-dense experience of Whistler, head to the Okanagan in winter. Here, sunny weather, dry powder, and fewer crowds mean fresh trails can be2565 acres of ski-able terrain, there’s plenty of space; particularly if you choose to bed down at the luxurious White Spirit Lodge. This 10,000 square-foot cabin is better described as a “mountain log castle”, and allows ski in/ski out access for it’s six guests. While the price tag is memorable (packages start at $24,445 for six people for five nights), the experience itself is also likely to be unforgettable. Within hours you’ll be saying ‘Stress? What stress?” Bookings call +1403 870 8738
5. Echo Valley Ranch & Spa
While British Columbia’s mountains are compelling, there’s another side to the province – ranch life. After a five-hour drive from Vancouver, or a luxury arrival on the Rocky Mountaineer train or the owner’s private plane, wellbeing prevails in ranch country at Echo Valley Ranch & Spa. At this member of the small luxury hotel group, farm to table cuisine, cooking classes and Thai yoga classes make this a unique BC healing experience. If you’re not up for the stretch of the yoga, you might consider taking the dogs for a run: eight border collies live on Echo Valley Ranch, and many guests fall in love with them during their stay.
Sue White is Author of Yoga Holidays Worldwide.