Harrison Hot Springs Getaway

We took a trip up to Harrison Hot Springs, BC, Canada, to get in a few days of rest, relaxation, and recreation. While there, we took a drive up the Frasier River Canyon, got ourselves pampered at the spa, and partook in the delights of the spring-fed pools.


Harrison Hot Springs Getaway

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by uwtuba on February 25, 2006

A great place to relax and just enjoy some peace and quiet in a beautiful, natural environment. The little resort town of Harrison Hot Springs is at the southern end of Lake Harrison, just an hour or two East of Vancouver, BC. It attracts its fair share of Americans from the Pacific Northwest, as well as Vancouverites and other tourists from far-flung points of the globe. The little town is enchanting, with an arts festival mid-summer and a huge sand sculpture contest toward the end of summer. Food is pretty good at most of the restaurants we tried, and although there appeared to be a few other hotels around the town, the Harrison Hot Springs Resort is THE place to stay.${QuickSuggestions} There are plenty of equipment rentals for going out on the lake if you want it (we didn't). The spa at the resort is fantastic. The town has lots of trails to go hiking on, especially heading out toward the source of the springs. The sand sculpture park was lots of fun.${BestWay} Walking. Once you're there, the town is so small that you can easily walk from the resort on one end to any point in town and back without getting too winded.

The Harrison Hot Springs Resort

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by uwtuba on February 25, 2006

The accommodations were very nice but not over-the-top. The room felt like any you'd find in a high-end hotel but did not especially stand out.

The pools are fed by water from the source of the springs about a half kilometer away and kept at various temperatures, stepped down from the scalding hot natural temperature of the waters. The slightly sulfury mineral waters are soothing and very relaxing, also doing wonders for the skin.

The spa is as luxurious as any we've ever been to. The hot-stone massage has the twist that instead of being heated in the sun or in any normal water bath, the stones are heated in water from the springs and carry with them the not-unpleasant slightly sulfury aroma of the spring waters.

All around, the resort is one we'd highly recommend if the purpose of your vacation is exclusively given to relaxation and nature viewing.
Harrison Hot Springs Resort and Spa
100 Esplanade
Harrison Hot Springs, British Columbia, V0M1K1
(604) 796-2244

The Copper Room

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by uwtuba on February 25, 2006

Elegant dining in an Art Deco-inspired hall while the Jones Boys croon hits of bygone era. The food was very good (if a little overpriced), while the atmosphere and decor were at once classically retro and very romantic. The service was above average but not exceptional. As guests finish their meals (or, in some cases, between courses), couples seem to be drawn to the dance floor to waltz away some time, while the four-piece band puts on their show. All in all, it's a very nice place that's well worth trying once while you are in Harrison. Once, however, is probably enough.
Copper Room
Harrison Hot Springs Hotel
Harrison Hot Springs, British Columbia
(888) 818-2999

Black Forest Restaurant

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by uwtuba on March 1, 2006

Decorated to the nines in what most of us think of as a traditional Bavarian village style, the Black Forest Restaurant actually delivers authenticity, both in feel and in their cuisine.

The waitress that served us was from Austria, and we were able to communicate as far as my somewhat broken German would take me, before she switched to English.

The entrees were very good, and the German sauerkraut was spot on (unfortunately, I can't stand the stuff... ). They even had a selection of German wines available from their cellar. Portions are more typical of the moderate European idea of portioning, than the overinflated American idea, so we had room left for dessert—which was also quite good.

The proprietor came over during our meal and chatted with us for a while.

The whole evening's meal was delightful and we enjoyed ourselves.
Black Forest Restaurant
180 Esplanade
Harrison Hot Springs, British Columbia

Drive up the Frasier River Canyon

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by uwtuba on February 25, 2006

A breathtaking drive through a deep natural gorge carved out by Canada's Frasier River, the canyon twists and turns for a couple of hundred kilometers between Chilliwack and Cache Creek before the highway turns east on toward Kamloops.
Driving the Frasier River Canyon
Highway 1 East up the Frasier River Canyon
Harrison Hot Springs, British Columbia

Minter Gardens

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by uwtuba on February 25, 2006

A breathtaking display of traditional English country gardens and other botanical wonders. Minter Gardens has a number of paths leading to a staggering variety of plant life displayed as artistically as anything we've ever seen. I can barely do it justice with words; the pictures will have to tell the story.
Minter Gardens
Exit #135 Highway #1
Harrison Hot Springs, British Columbia
(604) 792-3799

Hell's Gate Airtram

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by uwtuba on February 28, 2006

I'd driven past it before and not even given it a second thought. However, now that I've been, I have to recommend it. Yes, it's touristy. Yes, it's a little on the expensive side. It's also a heck of a lot of fun, a little educational, and a whole lot beautiful! The airtram takes you not up, but down--into the Frasier River canyon to the historical center on the other side of the river. There, hidden between the shops and restaurants, are lots of signs, exhibits, and demonstrations revealing the canyon's history and the challenges that it has posed to industry and navigation. A large accident during construction of the rail lines through Hell's Gate caused an already narrow part of the river to narrow even more, speeding up the water to insane rates of flow. This had unintended consequences on both the navigability of the river and the health of the salmon population. There's a large and rather well-done exhibit on the both and a very good explanation of why the installation and maintenance of the fish ladder was so critical. All in all, if you are going to be in the area and haven't seen it before, it's well worth the drive, the time, and the money to see it once. If you've been, you've seen it, and you know as well as I do that once is enough.
Hell's Gate Airtram
43111 Trans Canada Highway
Harrison Hot Springs, British Columbia
604-867-9277

Harrison Hot Springs Spa

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by uwtuba on February 25, 2006

As good as any spa we've ever been to. My wife enjoyed a facial and massage, followed by an in-depth consultation with the spa's skin-care expert, who gave her some tips she's been employing ever since. I surrendered myself to the luxury of the hot-stone massage. Many spas are doing the hot-stone routine these days, but few have that little extra that sets the treatment apart. Unlike spas in the Southwest that use the sun to heat their rocks, Harrison Spa's twist is they use the hot waters of the spring to get their rocks up to temperature. Every time we go back to Harrison Hot Springs, the spa is at the top of our must-do list.

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