Harrison Hot Springs – A Haven When It’s Hectic

January 6, 2016

Harrison Hot Springs and Resort is located in the small town of Harrison Hot Springs, B.C. It is about 5 mins away from the District of Agassiz and about 15 – 20 mins away from Chilliwack. From Vancouver, B.C. it is an easy 2 hr trip.

Harrison Hot SpringsHarrison Hot Springs has become known and appreciated as an escape for City dwellers and also draws in visitors from all over the world. Before I get into the amenities and what makes this space so refreshing and interesting, I’d like to share some of the History of this location and the Hotel that is on it: This info below is sourced directly from the website:

Before Harrison Hot Springs Resort & Spa, as we know it today, the original St. Alice Hotel and Bath House built in 1886 was the first to welcome those from Vancouver seeking an opportunity to benefit from the natural mineral hot springs. Destroyed by fire in 1920, the St. Alice was replaced in 1925 by the existing main hotel building and the Harrison Hotel was born. In these early days, guests traveled from the Pacific coast by riverboat or train and by coach from the nearby Agassiz station. The hotel enjoyed great success, as it was the first ‘resort’ style destination of its kind in southwestern British Columbia. During the war years of the 1940’s, the hotel became a sanitarium for women returning from Europe who had participated in the war effort.

Following the war, Harrison Hot Springs Resort was restored to its original purpose, welcoming guests in growing numbers from the entire Pacific Northwest region of the continent. Enjoying increasing popularity through the 1950’s and 1960’s, the hotel expanded with the addition of the West Tower, West Wing and The Copper Room. In 1988, the East Tower was added, followed by the expansion of the pools to the three outdoor and two indoor mineral pools that our guests enjoy today. Complementing the pools, was the addition of Healing Springs Spa in 2001. Harrison Hot Springs Resort & Spa continues to welcome guests seeking a rejuvenating and relaxing experience in this spectacular destination.

The Accommodations:

Harrison Hot SpringsThe Hotel has some History, and for the more sensitive of you, you can feel it. It gives the place fantastic charm and character.  One of my favourite features is the BIG fireplace in the lobby of the hotel which is very cozy during the Winter Season. There is also a big black bear that you MUST get a picture with – that is the custom. If you go to this resort, a picture with the bear is mandatory. 🙂 The old building still exists and you can get a room in this building, and there are also newer rooms that you can stay in within buildings built later on. Booking can be confusing if you have never been before and are unsure of which room to book based on what they call them. Here is a helpful breakdown:

Main Hotel: Booking a room in the main hotel will get you a room that is in the original hotel. The building is older and the decor has been kept to keep this ‘feel’ – floral bedspreads and a more vintage design can be found in these rooms. If you are looking for a lower budget stay, these rooms are fantastic since they are priced below the other rooms in the newer buildings.

Harrison Hot Springs
‘Mountain View’ room in the East Tower

West Wing/West Tower: Booking a room in this building gets you some of the best views and it is the wing that was built in the 60’s to accommodate the growing number of guests attending. Prices are a bit higher for these rooms, but they are comfortable, modern and have wonderful unobstructed views of the Harrison Lake ( be sure to book the lakeview room). The other rooms are still wonderful and face the pools out back or the gardens in the West Wing. You can even get a ground floor room if you have mobility issues that opens right up to the pools so there is no need for stairs or elevators. King beds or 2 Queens are options as well as some ‘Family’ rooms that offer two rooms to offer some privacy for parents.

East Tower: This newer wing of the hotel – built in 1988 – is my favourite. The tower is taller so it has some great views – and there really are no bad views. You can get a lake view ( the priciest rooms ) or mountain view or mountain/village view. The last time we stayed here we had the mountain view. As you can see it still provides a nice view of the lake and the mountains. I find the rooms are larger in the East Tower. You will have to travel farther to visit the hot pools, but it’s all indoors.

Cottages: If you want to go really rustic and be able to drive your vehicle right up to your front door the cottages are wonderful. They have a fireplace, a living room with a pullout couch for the kids and a bedroom for the parents! It’s a cozy alternative to the hotel but you will have to walk a ways outdoors to get to the hotel and the pools.

The Pools!

Lets get to the best part of this Resort – The Hot Pools. You need your room key to access the pools and outside you will find 3 pools:

DSC03801

  1. Adult only pool – this is the warmest outside pool and for adults only and closes at 11 pm at night.
  2. Family pool – this pool is a little cooler and kids are welcome to play and also closes at 11pm at night.
  3. Swimming pool – a standard cool water rectangular swimming pool. Great to jump into after some time in the hot pools. It closes along with the outdoor pools.

 

Then you have the indoor pools: Harrison Hot Springs - a Place to relax

  1. The VERY hot pool – this is the hottest pool in the resort and it is open until 1 am.
  2. A swimming pool – the indoor regular swimming pool. It is cool water and I find it is very over chlorinated most of the time, but it is also open until 1am.

The indoor pools are where the change rooms and the steam rooms are.

So, you have plenty of options. The absolute BEST part of this experience is sitting outside with the mountain beside you while you languish in warm healing mineral waters. Depending on the time of year you visit you will be treated to spectacular scenery around you. There is something magical about being in the pools with snow all around you. It is also very pleasant when it is raining since the rain keeps you cool. There is no ‘bad’ season for this resort.

Be sure to remember to pack your bathing suit and some flip flops. This will be your primary outfit while you are visiting. A good tip is to bring a secondary swimsuit if you have one. Once you’ve been in the pools, going back in again later and having to don that wet suit can be icky. But it’s really not too bad -put on one of the robes that the hotel provides you with go stand by the fire in the lobby and you’ll warm up again. Also, remember to take a towel to the pools with you as well – you will want this when you get out of the pool to wipe the excess water off of you before you enter back into the hotel.

The winter bathing can be a chilling experience in the time it takes to take off the robe and hang it on the hooks outside that they provide and scurry to the pools wearing only your bathing suit, but I tell you – it’s so worth it when you step down the stairs into the welcoming warm mineral water. Besides, the alternating of hot and cold is very therapeutic for the body, it’s been done for years in Swiss spas 🙂

Food

The food options are quite limited in my opinion – but you can always venture into the village if you don’t find a place within the hotel to relax that suites your fancy. The following are the Hotel options:

Copper room – the famous Dine and Dance experience. You will want to dress up and put aside a good 2 hours for a nice dinner. There is dancing with a live band. This is the classic signature of the resort and some love it, others don’t really go for the style. It’s up to you to ascertain if it’s for you or not. The food is fair with gourmet options.

Lakeside Cafe – the Lakeside Cafe is open for breakfast and dinner with limited hours and the food is ok. The view from this restaurant is lovely if you manage to get a window table. The breakfast buffet is pretty good, and if you can get a special deal for the ‘breakfast included’ you will be very happy with it.

Miss Margaret’s – this is the coffee shop located right by the entrance of the hotel. I find this place great to pick up a snack, a warm drink and even lunch items since they have sandwiches. You can pick up a nice tea or coffee first thing in the morning and then head out to the pools with it. Devine!

Islands Bar – This is a typical hotel bar. The food is quite pricey but fair and the view again is very nice as it faces the lake. If you prefer the bar environment as opposed to restaurants, you will enjoy this place. Service can be limited at times since they often only have one person serving the entire bar.

Room Service – of course you can always order food to your room. If you have kids with you, ordering the Pizza to your room is a great option!

The Village 

The VillageHarrison Hot Springs of Harrison Hot Springs has a lovely little ‘town’ vibe. It is dedicated to the traveler, tourist and visitor. So, this also means that during the winter many of the summer shops have shut down for the season. But, many of the restaurants, coffee shops and gift shops are open.

The village looks stunning during the winter months with the backdrop of the majestic snow blanketed mountains and all of the festive lights on the trees on the main street.

During the day – no matter what season you visit in, the landscape and scenery just takesHarrison Hot Springs your breath away. Of course, during the Summer months you have the option of water sports, toys and a big floating playground for the kids.

Overall the Harrison Hot Spring Resort gets a BIG THUMBS UP for me as a place to escape for a weekend getaway, or even for one night. Having kids in tow is not a problem as there are many activities for them to participate in the Hotel, and they have their own pool to play in. Kids enjoy the bathrobe and bathing suit attire no matter what time of day it is. A GREAT plus, especially for you single parents is that the mineral water is a wonderful sedative. The kids will play in the pools, run around and then sleep deeply all night.

For affordability and value as well as being kid friendly this place gets my approval. I am also very pleased with how the resort operates around the environment. They keep their footprint small and take care of the woods and wildlife around them. When you need a true nature escape, but still with the creature comforts of a resort this is a fine place to find yourself.

For more information on the Hotel, visit their website. You can also book a room directly from the website and be sure to watch which building you are booking your room so you are not disappointed when you arrive and get exactly what suites you best!

Harrison Hot Springs is a favourite haven of mine when things get hectic. When you are too busy to take some down time is exactly the time that you should. Even 24 hrs away to recharge and rejuvenate is good for the soul and your spirit. If you are single parenting it, this is EXACTLY what you need when things start to feel overwhelming. If you go during the week you can get some stellar ‘Bed and Breakfast’ deals from the resort that will fit into your budget. Remember that treating yourself well allows you to care for your young ones well.

Let me know if you’ve stayed here and what your thoughts are and if you have any questions, connect to me via social media or e-mail!

Happy Relaxing! 

Pool photos and vintage photos sourced from: Harrison Hot Springs Resort Website

 

 

 

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2 Comments
    1. Love the mid week pkg
      I’ve been going here for over 25 years
      Catherine mackean

      1. The mid week package is GREAT! If you sign up for their newsletter you get e-mailed the deals when they are launched! But you probably know that as a Veteran of the Hot Springs!

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