Harrison's Healing Waters More Than A Tradition
By Chris McBeath
I sunk deeper into my private pool and let the steamy, healing waters swirl around my body.
Surrounded by beautiful granite slate, forest sounds and a starry sky above, my imagination floated to some exotic paradise where tropical waters cascaded into secluded rock pools. But nothing was further from the truth. I had discovered the delights of the Healing Springs Spa, the newest addition to Harrison Hot Springs Resort and here, away from kids, husbands and worries, it was Nirvana.
Open in July 2001, Healing Springs Spa is a natural addition to this popular getaway. Built next to the resort's adult-oriented natural hot spring pools, and set back from the more lively family pools, the Spa is a sanctuary surrounded by natural cedar, landscaped gardens and 'rivers' made of river rock and ferns.
It's been a $2.2 million project and spa manager, Anne Hilary has paid attention to important finishing touches: treatment rooms that are warmed with overhead radiant heat, sunrise dimmers that help shut out the world and a sound system that pipes in the meditative sounds of nature to calm the atmosphere. Equipment is state-of-the-art and the European styled treatments include Hydrotherapies and Vichy showers, Sports Massages and Mud Wraps as well as Shiatsu, Aromatherapy and a very impressive Reflexology massage - one of the best I have ever experienced which is no small feet (pun intended) since my soles have been pummeled, kneaded and stroked in spas all over the world.
Spa delights aside, Harrison is one of the most enduring getaway destinations in the province.
The mineral rich hot springs at Harrison were originally used by the Salish Coast Indians who revered them as a "healing place" and travelled by canoe to benefit from their rejuvenating waters. Later, Harrison's hot springs became a stop over on the legendary gold rush tours and since then, the resort evolved, attracting famous guests such as the King and Queen of Siam, Clark Gable, John Wayne, Sydney Poitier, and Sylvester Stallone.
For many folks, a pilgrimage to Harrison Hot Springs Resort is part of their family culture, a tradition that sees children return as adults, and adults return for anniversaries, reunions and family getaways. Where else could you enjoy a romantic getaway with the kids in tow?
Now that might sound like an oxymoron but it's a reality at Harrison.
Kids activities abound (our teenagers disappeared for hours cycling around the area on a side-by-side tandem) and include lakeside adventures such as canoeing, fishing, and kayaking in addition to tennis, golf and some spectacular hikes in the surrounding forests.
White water rafting is offered within an easy drive, as are attractions such as the Kettle Valley Tunnels and Minter Gardens which showcases 11 themed gardens, giant topiary animals and birds and the largest collection of Penjing Rock Bonsai outside the People's Republic of China.
As for the romance? You can't beat Harrison's renowned Copper Room. While children are welcome to experience its magic (a child's menu is offered), most Copper Room patrons are there for the memories. So it was with my husband and I. We had fed our hungry offspring at the casual Lakeside Terrace Restaurant, arranged for a sitter and were free to bask in the romance of a superb candlelight dinner, live entertainment and dancing. We were enjoying the perfect family getaway - something for all seasons, interests and energy levels. Can it really get any better than that?
If You Go:
Harrison Hot Springs Resort & Spa
Harrison Hot Springs, BC
Tel: (604) 796-2244;
Fax: (604) 796-3682
Toll free: 1-800-663-2266
Web site: www.harrisonresort.com
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