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Harrison Hot Springs Resort and Spa Review

From Mineral Pools to Afternoon Tea: Best Aspects of this Hot Springs Resort

About.com Rating 4 Star Rating

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Harrison Hot Springs Resort and Spa Review

The resort is located on the lakefront, at the end of Esplanade Avenue and near the hot springs source.

© Chloë Ernst

This spacious, lakefront resort is walking distance from the hot springs source, local restaurants, and the many activities in Harrison Hot Springs. A quiet location at the end of Esplanade Avenue makes is a great spot to soak in one of the five heated mineral pools, take afternoon tea on the patio, or relax in the modern, well-equipped guest rooms.

Best for: Active families, stressed retreat-seekers, and romancing couples will all love the setting and amenities at Harrison Hot Springs Resort. The facilities are shared, but an adult-only pool and family-friendly areas keep all parties happy.

Where, When, and How Much:

Address: 100 Esplanade Ave., Harrison Hot Springs
Phone: 604-796-2244
Toll-free: 1-866-638-5075
Price-range: Moderate to expensive

Pros:

  • Five mineral pools -- three outdoor, two indoor
  • Two restaurants and a bar
  • Fantastic on-site spa
  • Plenty of pool towels as well as robes
  • Quiet location
  • Walking distance from the village

Cons:

  • Busy paid parking lot that's open to the public
  • Rooms vary between sections (Main Hotel, West Wing, West Tower, and East Tower)
  • Room key required for access to the pool area

Hot Springs and Mineral Pools:

In 1886, the St. Alice Hotel opened, bringing vacationers to the mineral springs aside Harrison Lake. First Nations people had been visiting the hot springs long before, calling them Waum Chuck, but the opening of the St. Alice started a brisk tourist trade in Harrison.

Since the 1800s, the draw of hot springs close to Vancouver has only grown. The modern-day Harrison Hot Springs Resort includes five mineral pools, and, truly, the hot springs are the primary reason to visit. Plan to spend at least an hour or more each day in or by the pools. Some travelers do nothing but.

Around the three outdoor pools, mature cedar trees, stone features, and landscaped gardens create a retreat feel. Guests drape their towels and waffle robes on the sun loungers while they take a dip. These outdoor pools include an adult-only pool, a busy family pool, and a cooler lap swimming pool.

Indoors, there are two pools at vastly different temperatures. The very hot indoor pool is a toasty treat, especially on cool fall and winter nights. There's a second, much cooler pool, and both are open until 1 a.m.

Facilities:

Relaxing in any of the three outdoor hot springs pools is a great way to spend an evening.

© Chloë Ernst

With a spa, five mineral pools, and multiple restaurants, the hotel has a true resort feel. Guests have wide-reaching access to these facilities.

During my stay in August 2012, I loved the small-scale of the property. It was no problem to nip back up to the room from the mineral pools, or take a quick morning swim. The village is near at-hand, but there is also no need to leave the resort if you just want to relax by the pools. A summertime visit also allowed for access to the beach, tennis courts, water park, and marina with boat rentals.

Resort Facilities and Amenities:

  • Five mineral pools
  • Two restaurants and a bar
  • Spa
  • Self-parking lot
  • Large, bright fitness room
  • Games arcade
  • Business center
  • Conference center
  • Shops
  • Tour operators
  • Marina
  • Tennis courts
  • Gardens

Guest Rooms:

The 337-room resort spans multiple sections: the Main Hotel, the West Wing, the West Tower, the East Tower, as well as individual cottages. The Main Hotel is the heritage part of the property, dating to 1926.

In August 2012, I stayed in a West Tower king room. The sixth-floor balcony looked out over the pools, an especially pretty sight at night. Guests hanging out at the pools do generate quite a bit of noise, but only until 11 p.m. when the adult pool closes (the family pool closes at 10 p.m.). The slate and stone bathroom provided a private retreat, and I loved that the room was equipped with a fridge. All rooms come well stocked with pool and bath towels (mine had about 5) as well as white, waffle-weave robes. These robes become de-rigeur attire around the resort, as you travel from your room to the pools.

In-room Amenities:

  • Wireless Internet
  • Flat-screen television
  • Mini-fridge
  • Coffee maker
  • Robes
  • Hairdryer
  • Plentiful towels
  • Room service
  • Iron and ironing board

Harrison Hot Springs Spa:

The Healing Springs Spa is situated amongst mature cedar trees, in a building drawing architectural inspiration from local First Nations.

© Chloë Ernst

The Healing Springs Spa is located next to the mineral pools. The Salish-inspired architecture gives the spa a sense of place, and running-water elements and heavy cedar doors screen it from the busy pools.

The spa has very private treatment rooms and a couples room. The signature room features a twilight ceiling, stone tiles, and untreated mineral water in a private pool.

Service:

From the check-in to breakfast to the swim-wear shop, the staff at Harrison Hot Springs provide a warm welcome and helpful assistance. The hotel was amply staffed on the busy summer weekend I visited. When there was a line-up at reception, three people were busily checking in guests. If guests' key cards weren't working to access the pool area, a staff member was on hand to open the door.

The feel at the resort is more familiar than polished downtown Vancouver luxury hotels, but at the same time this friendliness is kept in balance with all the expected services. Overall, the resort experience is refreshing and relaxing.

As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with complimentary services for review purposes. While it has not influenced this review, About.com believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest. For more information, see our Ethics Policy.
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