May 31, 2018
Our family was looking for a last minute weekend getaway, and were brainstorming different options. When I was growing up on Vancouver Island, Harrison Hot Springs was a childhood destination that required a day-long trip to get there. Now that we live in South Surrey, it’s only an hour and a bit away. Surprisingly, my husband (who grew up here), hadn’t ever been there before! We agreed to head just up the road for a kid-friendly trip that would also be relaxing (and a bit romantic) for the adults. So what did we love about it?
This whimsical 1926 heritage hotel boasts touches of a glamorous bygone era when a trip to the resort often included a train and carriage ride. If those walls could talk, I’m SURE there’d be a ton of fascinating stories.
We stayed in the newest East Tower, which boasted a spectacular view of the lake. Funny enough, the kiddo said this view reminded him a bit of our recent stay at The Wickanninish Inn in Tofino, which you can read about here.
This stunning view of Harrison Lake made the perfect setting to relax and reflect…and plan our next adventures. There’s something about being so close to the water that makes me go “ahhhhhh” and decompress.
The resort boasts five mineral pools– we went in four of them several times each (the elusive fifth pool was a no-go as it is adults-only). It was fun to try out the different pools with their different temperatures, depths & ambiance. We spent the most time in the shallow kid-friendly outdoor pool which was great for relaxing and playing games.
I was surprised (pleasantly so!) that there’s a poolside bar to enjoy a pina colada and kind of pretend we were at a Mexican resort. Cheers to that!
I’m a BIG fan of spring, so we also enjoyed exploring the gardens on the property, with their heritage rhododendrons and trees in full bloom. I was in awe of the lush greenery and spring flowers. We even found an oak tree that was planted by Clark Gable and another that was planted to honour New York firefighters who lost their lives in 9/11.
While it was too cold to go swimming, we enjoyed walking along the beach. We were also thrilled to find a spectacular covered outdoor gym on the edge of the lake. There’s also a great playground nearby that had both guys climbing and swinging together.
Can we say STINKY? We made the short trek to the Hot Springs Source, and smelled the rotten-egg sulfur from the 40 C natural springs. It was neat to see, but not to smell. The little guy said “I’m sure glad the pool doesn’t smell like that”.
After seeing (and smelling) The Source, we continued on the trail to Sandy Cove. The forest was beautiful and lush, and the rain held out. The hike was fairly challenging for the 5 year old, but we made it the entire way. The beach was flooded from the high waterline, but the scenery there and back was worth it.
Yes, you read that right. The Sasquatch didn’t say much, but he was more than willing to pose for photos. Apparently, Harrison Hot Springs is Sasquatch country. Beware.
Famous for its schnitzel, The Black Forest did not disappoint. Our son had his first schnitzel (which he LOVED), and I enjoyed potato pancake appetizer and the house schnitzel with mushroom sauce. YUM. This place is more ‘German’ than any restaurant that I went to in Germany.
Located conveniently below our hotel room in the East Tower, the brunch offered something for the whole family. The view from the deck was stunning and was a great start to our day.
We were hungry after our hike, and enjoyed the grassroots ambiance and local fair of this cafe. I had delicious latte and salad.
Now, this one was an extra treat. Located in Harrison Hot Springs Resort, the mid-1950’s Copper Room is one of the last places you can still dine and dance in the Pacific North West, 7 days a week.
Especially since this was the day of the Royal Wedding (we watched Harry & Meghan’s nuptials in our hotel room!), we dressed up for the dinner… well, the adults did.
House band, The Jones Boys have been playing at this joint for ages and do an amazing rendition of Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” (Bah bah bah) and many other catchy singalong classics.
The food at the Copper Room was absolutely spectacular, as well as locally sourced. I’m a total seafood lover and had a tuna stack and miso salmon soba noodle dinner.
Although the Copper Room is a perfect date spot for adults, it is ALSO a great place to bring families, with its kid-friendly menu (little guy had spaghetti and a Shirley Temple!) and special all-ages dance floor off to the side of the main stage. We cut a rug, boogied, and shimmied until our son was all tuckered out and just wanted to cuddle.
This was one of our favourite family dinners that we’ve ever had.
Our hotel room had an amazing view of Harrison Lake… including this inflatable floating play space. It is just getting set up, but we all agreed that we need to make another trip in the summer to experience this!
Summer Water Playground