Living only a few hours south of Montreal, I’ve always planned to visit, but have never actually committed and booked to a trip to Canada — after visiting Osoyoos, B.C., I see what I’ve been missing.
Although British Columbia is across the country, the naturalist vibe and wild beauty is right up my alley. I was lucky enough to stay at Spirit Ridge, an idyllic resort, heritage center and vineyard.
As the first aboriginal-owned vineyard in Canada with the first grape plants seeded 1966–1970s, depending on whom you ask, this region’s history goes well beyond the 60s — more like thousands of years.
As the first independent hotel to team up with Hyatt’s Unbound Collection in Canada, Spirit Ridge Resort is all about firsts. The First Nations People of aboriginal citizens is made up of seven bands, including local Okanagans, and the resort is dedicated to preserving local heritage, traditions and educating visitors and residents alike.
The property, brimming with personality and culture, is set between Anarchist Mountain, lush vineyards and wild terrain perfect for horseback riding, boating on the lake, swimming, hiking and a slew of other on- and off-property activities.
The property is spread out over multiple buildings, most only four stories high as to not block the view for any other guests. One block of buildings offers a courtyard and family pool complete with cabanas designed for families to enjoy with some privacy and comfort. Also surrounding the family pool is a ping-pong table, fitness center and market place open with snack and drinks — all with Anarchist Mountain as the backdrop.
When temperatures drop at night, there is an open fire pit guests can gather around, actually made from recycled car parts by local artist and fellow Okanagan Band member, Smoker Marshand. Marshand created all of the sculptures and artwork displayed around Spirit Ridge from recycled car parts.
Across the small driveway toward Osoyoos Lake is another grouping of accommodations with an adults-only pool, vineyard path (open to all guests), winery and Mica restaurant.
We took a quick ride up Anarchist Mountain for a view of Osoyoos Lake, Spirit Ridge Resort and all of the vineyards surrounding. Our guide, a member of the First Nations People and Okaganan Band, told us all about the region’s vast history and her people’s close connection with the land. Anarchist Mountain itself was once where tribe leaders and chiefs would convene to discuss battle strategies while taking in the lay of the land.
Anarchist Mountain sits up again Mica Canyon, a sacred spot believed to hold healing waters and wellness properties, as well as the nearby Spotted Lake, another main vein in spiritual and physical wellness for the Okanagan people. The Spirit Ridge Spa actually utilizes a lot of the natural properties from the land in their treatments. The First Nations People and Mother Earth Essentials specifically designed a line of products for Spirit Ridge using local desert sage.
With a focus on the importance of the Okanagan people and their history, Spirit Ridge Resort opened the Nk’ Mip Cultural Center in 2002, which since grew to a full-scale educational center. Guests and local students explore the on-site museum, take in an education documentary on the region and hike along the desert trails filled with educational points explaining the different terrain, history and plant life.
Family travels don’t necessarily need to be in theme parks or resorts with massive kids’ clubs. In fact, more upscale properties across the world cater to both adults and kids, and wellbeing brand Sensei joins the growing trend of family wellness travel. Sensei’s Wellness Science team, led by Dr. Vishal Patel, emphasizes the importance of family travels and exposing young travelers to wellness pursuits. Developing healthy habits at a young age can have long-lasting effects on an individual’s life, and bonding via family trips alleviates some of the main drivers of loneliness and isolation.
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Make Best Western your hotel of choice during spring family travels for a sweet reward. This spring, BWH Hotels offers members of its Best Western Rewards loyalty program the opportunity to earn a free night stay.