Since 1886, travelers have sought the source that provides warmth to Harrison Hot Springs’ five mineral hot pools. Harrison Hot Springs Resort and Spa has been welcoming guests ever since.
(Archive Photo – Harrison Hot Springs Resort)
Even though it is so close, Fatima and I had never stayed here, but this weekend that all changed! Friday afternoon at 2:10pm I picked up Fatima at Guildford Mall in Surrey. We had a couple’s massage appointment at 3:50 so we really needed to hit the highway.
It had been raining today quite heavily that afternoon but the rain had settled leaving us with that misty fresh West Coast mountain air. This made for a lovely drive through the Fraser Valley farmlands.
We couldn’t believe how quickly we arrived. I was so worried we might be late, but in fact we arrived with 25 minutes to spare. Nonetheless we handed off the keys to the valet and made our way to Healing Springs Spa.
We were greeted by the friendly spa staff, and since we had some time we were offered a beverage in the lounge.
Our masseuses arrived and escorted us to the couple’s massage room. The room was spacious with a private bathroom and shower. We settled ourselves in the warm massage beds. We were both so relaxed already and ready for a blissful experience.
(Trip Advisor Photo)
To set the mood they played some soothing music which was perfect. We both chose the Relax Aromatherapy Massage. The bodywork took about 50 minutes. Both masseuses were very accommodating to our needs and that was much appreciated. Daman prefers a heavy handed massage while I prefer a light relaxing touch. Needless to say we were in good spirits and in a bit of a spa fuge state after our session. A great couple’s massage experience.
We then took a short walk outside and breathed in the fresh air and enjoyed the quiet atmosphere of the dock. It’s amazing how fresh air and a little quiet can transform the mood. Perfect after a long busy week.
We then checked in and went to our room. We had a room on the sixth floor directly overlooking the lake. We took a moment to settle and sat on the balcony and enjoyed the view, watching the geese honk and splash about on the lake.
Fatima had skipped lunch again as she often does during the busy day, so we went for a snack at the Islands Bar. We munched on the complementary snack mix as we browsed the menu of lighter fair items. We didn’t want to spoil our appetite since we had reservations that evening at the Copper Room Restaurant.
Since we are vegetarian we ordered the vegetable spring roll and I had a Glenfiddich 12 year, neat.
After the snack I dropped by some of the little gift shops near the hotel lobby because I had forgotten to bring my bathing suit and I knew I’d want to visit the pool later which was open until 1am!
I grabbed a cool pair of Hawaiian shorts for only 30 bucks!
We arrived at the Copper Room Restaurant at 7:30 for our reservation. As we were seated we noticed the old school charm of this restaurant. The house band, the Jones Boys were playing in front of a large dance floor with lighted glass tiles. They played Motown, Jazz, Swing, Classic Rock and Dance. We were told the band has been playing there for over 20 years.
When we sat down, this very friendly lady quickly ran over to us from the next table and offered to take our photo. She said she was local and ran a tugboat business in Agassiz. She was super friendly and it happened to be her birthday. Astrid was her name, and she and her group were having a wonderful time. The lively music brought many people up to the dance floor, including Astrid and it was tons of fun.
Our choice of cocktails was the Pina Colada for Fatima, and I had a craving for tequila so I went with the Lime Margarita. I loved drinking the salt away from the rounded top of the glass. Yum!
As for the food, we went with the Table D’Hote which included an Arugula and Beet salad with a blackberry vinaigrette to begin. After this we we were served a delightful sorbet of mango and raspberry to cleanse our palette for the main course. For this we chose the very generous portion of grilled Wild Salmon with Pineapple Salsa. Yeah, we’re vegetarian but will have fish on special occasions.
For dessert we had many options but as we often do, we chose the same thing. Actually, as I type this, Fatima wishes to correct me to say that I chose what she picked to eat because I can’t stand it when her meal is better than mine. So what did she choose? The Limoncello Creme Brule Flambe.
This arrived at our table engulfed in flames. We waited a few short moments for the flames to subside. When they finally did, I grabbed my fork and cracked through that thin crystallized sugar crust that makes for a perfect Creme Brule. It was truly divine. We finished the meal off with a large pot of Chamomile tea. My stomach was completely full!
We returned to our room for a quick rest before changing to head down to the pools. I put on my brand new swim trunks which honestly I think are the nicest ones I have ever owned. The material is so soft and dries almost instantly.
We made our way wearing the robes they’d laid out on our bed when we had arrived. One thing you’ll notice here is all the people walking around in robes. You might think you’re at a toga party convention but this is more like a Roman bath and you will soon be reminded that this is a spa retreat. The indoor and outdoor heated pools here are extensive. It was now night and outside you could see the steam rising from the pool. My friend who’d had his honeymoon here told me swimming in the heated pools with snowflakes falling on you was a surreal experience. He was right, or so I can imagine on this last evening of summer.
At the edge of the poolyard, and I call it that because there are so many pools there, there is a large domed building. I asked a lady swimming by me what was in there and she said, “the jacuzzis.” Well that sounded fun too, so Fatima and I rose out of the outdoor pool together and rushed over. I couldn’t see because my glasses totally fogged up from the steam coming off my face.
We soaked in the steaming hot water inside. Quite a large jacuzzi pool here with an even larger pool beside it. It was so soothing. We have been so busy since July and this evening was such a wonderful escape. Starting with the massage we had upon arrival, the fun times, great music, food and dancing at the Copper Room, then these steaming Hot Spring pools, we had entered Heaven. It was getting late and I’d been up since 5am, it was time for bed. The king size bed was very comfortable and gave Fatima plenty of clearance for all my tossing, turning and thrashing. I slept like a baby and the curtains blocked out the sun entirely which has a habit of waking me up early most of the time.
As a matter of fact we slept in until around 9am which truly is rare, for me anyway. We lounged for a bit and read, then got up for breakfast. We had two options in the hotel for this. One was Miss Margaret’s Espresso Bar for a quick coffee and breakfast or the buffet upstairs at Lakeside Cafe.
They serve Starbucks coffee at the resort which is an added bonus. We opted for the buffet. There was a short line up at the door then we were escorted to our table. The cafe is bright and spacious, and as the name suggests, it overlooks the beautiful lake and mountains just outside the windows.
There was plenty of food to eat here from pastries to fruit, cereals and hot porridge, waffles, bacon, ham and sausages of all types. There were also many juices and a large coffee pot sitting on our table. I went up for many servings and there were many options for veggies like us.
I had once again managed to fill my stomach and needed to pull to another notch on my belt. After breakfast we visited the pools again. As I mentioned before, this is the last weekend of summer and summer is holding on tight.
It was supposed to get up to 26 degrees that Saturday and even hotter on Sunday at 31!
Rays of bright yellow sunshine shimmered through the gardens and sparkled into the vast pools of turquoise. It was truly beautiful.
It was a perfect clear day to embark on a scenic boat ride with Shoreline Tours.
This 2 hour tour took us along the west side of the lake past the mouth of the Harrison River and up the side of Echo Island.
We viewed the captivating ‘owl’ and ‘bear’ rock formations and the meditative emerald waters of Echo Bay.
Fun fact: the green water is the result of the minerals from the snow melt and glaciers that run into the Lilloet River and then into Harrison Lake. Usually by the end of September, the lake goes back to it’s blue hue. Amazing beauty in our backyard.
We cruised to Fossil Bay (home of 160 million year old fossils) and Sugarloaf Mountain and then to Cascade Bay which led us to the base of the breathtaking 2,300 foot Rainbow Falls. We then headed past east lake to Sasquatch Provincial Park which had a lovely beach and a boat launch.
It was a relaxing boat ride and I was inspired to take a lot of photos of the amazing scenery. From the rock formations, still colourful water, and the cabins along the shoreline, it was a most enjoyable ride. Our tour guide, Lorna provided us with pieces of interesting information along the way: showing us photos of the gigantic sturgeon caught in the waters (1,100 lbs!) and photos of the rainbow at the base of Rainbow Falls.
Lorna also showed us real fossils found at Fossil Bay and Sugarloaf Mountain.
Overall, it was one of the best scenic boat tours I have experienced and Daman agreed. A couple of things to keep in mind: there is a narrow ladder up to the 2nd level of the boat – good to know for the less mobile. There is also a commissary on the lower level. If you are looking for a scenic tour where you can capture some great photos and feel like you’ve been transported for a short while, give this tour a try.
Keep in mind that you can enjoy Harrison throughout the year and there are many packages to choose from. If your interest is peaked, take a look at some of the options Harrison Hot Springs Resort and Spa has to offer here: www.harrisonresort.com/Seasonal-Packages.aspx