As a mom and an entrepreneur I can easily own the truth that I push and push myself to the point of exhaustion on a regular basis.
A good deal of focus for me is in working towards maintaining more of a balance in my life, as I cannot ignore the damage I can cause myself when I don’t take time for ME. The busy hectic world has set up this pace, and in order to slow it down we need to be able to disengage ourselves from the day to day to escape the treadmill we are on. It’s ridiculously easy to get so wrapped up in the talons of busy, you don’t even notice it’s death grip on you.
This is not a story isolated to just me. I am pretty sure that most of you out there can relate to this on a very intimate level. Everything about our lives is fast paced, go, go, GO in order to fit in everything we need to do in a day, and we STILL don’t have enough time to get it all done. We live on borrowed time, working once the kids are in bed at 10pm at night, rising early to clean the house, shopping in between work appointments and a myriad of other multitasking marathons that we do each and every day.
I used to think I was being productive when I finally slid into bed at the end of a day to catch MAYBE 5 hours of sleep. I used to think I was really ‘workin it’ and was proud of myself. When I was younger, I could keep this pace up, for a while. Then, my body would get sick. I’d be forced to come to terms with my ‘limited productivity’ and I’d try and push harder. I’d get sicker. I started to burn out on a regular basis. I would find myself in a heap on the floor in the freshly dried laundry just lying there and not being able to move. It was a humble pill to swallow when I realized something needed to change.
Again, this story may have different timelines and different situations – but it is a story that MOST of us find ourselves in at one point or another. Until we wake up.
The idea of ‘self care’ is a foreign one to me. I’d replace it with ‘selfish’ and not really identify the important and vital differences between them. I also used to think the whole world would fall apart if I stopped for even a moment. Sound familiar?
WE NEED TO STOP…
I’ve found ways to trick myself into stopping. It sounds manipulative, because it is. I’ve had to get creative with myself to ensure I take care of myself. I still have to struggle with feeling OK about resting – It’s a pretty embedded pathology.
The most recent ‘game’ I played with myself was in signing up to attend a Women’s conference in Vernon – This felt ‘businessy’ enough that I could feel ok about it. The irony of this is that this conference focuses on the very issue I am bringing to light in this article as well. Ha, Ha, silly me moment aside – I signed up and then I booked myself ONE night at the Sparkling Hill Resort where it was being held. This seems plausible, but when you factor in the fact that I had to leave Vancouver at 3am to drive up to the conference for 9am the next morning, be at the conference until 5pm and then have dinner and sleep and then check out again at 11am – well, it stops looking even remotely relaxing. Yet, I didn’t even notice myself that there was anything wrong with this schedule. I didn’t notice, until someone pointed it out to me.
This someone was a resort representative. I was in dialogue with them about writing this very article and I had shared with them my schedule. I got an email back ( while I was driving – good lord right?) and when I read it I hit a wall of realization. Again. This e-mail said: “May we suggest that you stay an extra night at the resort so you can fully experience what it has to offer outside of the busy schedule of the conference? This way you can give yourself some time to relax” A fairly simple suggestion, and a wise one, but had I even considered it myself? No. I justify it with many reasons; money, time, childcare, work responsibilities. blah, blah, blah. I pulled the vehicle over and responded to the e-mail and said YES. I just said YES. As a Single Mom, this word is only ever used in emergencies – I’ve been learning lately this hasn’t been the best way to approach life.
YES is always the beginning of something beautiful. It welcomes in new things, new people and new experiences. My yes was even more profound. It was a YES for myself, not for someone else. We all do THAT enough – give away ourselves to others, but never give back to ourselves.
The reason I wanted to tell you this entire pre-story is because this was my initiation into the true focus and vision of this resort. It is built for rest, relaxation and rejuvenation. Every brick, every feature, every room, every, everything is designed with your full WELLNESS in mind. This resort guided me into this place before I was even physically there – and this process continued for my entire weekend.
Sparkling Hill Resort was built in 2010, and offers 149 luxury rooms and penthouses. It has over 40,000 sq. ft. of state-of-the-art health facilities and is situated on a hill near Vernon with breathtaking views of Lake Okanagan, The resort offers a range of amenities and services that you don’t find in most North American Resorts. They combine a European-style design and approach to wellness hospitality with a very unique and stunning crystal architecture throughout the building. When I arrived at the resort I was greeted by the magical architecture immediately. I was compelled to start taking pictures because it was almost like looking at a natural phenomenon. It’s a beautiful building and you feel that right away. I took so many pictures in and around this building because it seamlessly blended crystal hangings, sculptures, and jewels into every aspect – both indoors and out. It was like being in a fairytale and it wasn’t overly ‘blingy’ which would have totally turned me off. It was subtle, and beautiful.
With 149 rooms, in a building that is perched on a hill, you cannot get a bad view. EVERY SINGLE ROOM has breathtaking views. Either lakeside or mountainside. The rooms are set up with a very European flair and are extremely unique with their lighting, layout and design. Walking into a room for the first time feels quite luxurious – its not dark or closed in. The windows are floor to ceiling with massive doors that open right up to the elements. The bathtub is right in the middle of the room with access to the view and the bathroom is a walk through with two clear shower doors that allow full light in. The only closed place in this room is the bathroom and the closet. During the day, natural light prevails – which is healing in of itself. During the night, the room becomes a den of relaxation with mood lighting, crystals that light up, stars on the ceiling and other creative ways that you can self design your night time relaxation. Having a bath while sitting perched on a mountain above a lake with the full view is enough to stop even the busiest of us.
Another wonderfully unique offering of this resort is once you invest in the price of your room, almost everything in the resort is complimentary. There are no extra fees for water, for parking, for using the pool or spa facilities. The morning coffee that you usually have to make yourself in most hotels is provided for free near the dining room with real cream so you just have to take a short walk in your robe, fill up your cup and sit anywhere and enjoy the view. These offerings are all included so that you don’t have to spend any time worrying about how your tab is adding up when you are relaxing within this space. I appreciated this IMMENSELY.
Along with the free amenities, a full buffet breakfast is included every morning of your stay. It provides a variety of options that are slightly different each morning so if you are staying more than one day you don’t get bored of the selection. There is the standard American breakfast with Gluten Free options and also a full scandinavian breakfast which serves up cheeses, meats, and raw veggies. A favourite of mine was a morning detox or purifying drink that was made with apple juice, honey, lemongrass, ginger, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, cardamom, fennel, caraway, black peppercorns and a bay leaf. I would enjoy one of these before my morning tea and my belly would be alive, happy and ready to digest some amazing food! Lunch and Dinner are also served at the resort for an extra fee, unless you are partaking in one of the resorts ‘wellness packages’.
If I wasn’t already impressed enough, the spa takes you to a whole other world – really. As part of your stay you are given access to 7 very unique steam rooms and saunas which is actually really fun and exciting for your first time. Each room takes you to a different place, a different energy, and they are designed to transport your body and your mind away from the daily grind. It doesn’t stop there – as a guest you get access to 80% of the spa area without paying anything extra. It includes a Tea Room for relaxation, a Serenity Room for silence – both with spectacular floor to ceiling window views as well as:
- Outdoor infinity pool
- Indoor Salt Water Pool
- Hot Pool
- Kneip Waterway ( hot and cold therapy for the nerves and lymphatic systems)
- Fitness Studio
- Movement Studio
One of my favourite things about this spa is that cell phones were prohibited. Again, the Wellness is gently enforced in this place and you’ll be happy for it.
The steam rooms and Sauna area is open 9.00am to 11.00am and from 4.00pm to 10.00pm every day.
The Spa area (serenity room, team room, infinity pool, hot tub, etc) is available from 7am – 10pm.
Over and above this relaxation that you have full access to, you can book an appointment in the spa for special services that you pay extra for, but bring you even that much deeper into full bliss. For my stay, I booked a Fango Mud wrap and Massage – WOW. I typically don’t book appointments for most resort spas because I usually feel they are overpriced and under delivered.
At Sparkling Hill, they take this process very seriously. I was greeted by an extremely professional technician who explained the process to me and began to put me at ease immediately. I was wrapped on a heated massage bed, and the sat up for the mud application. It went on warm, smooth and delightfully. I still get goose bumps thinking about it, it was such a wonderfully warm and comforting experience. Then I was wrapped up to relax and fully absorb the minerals in the mud. I was given a delicious head massage and then left to ‘enjoy’ for about 10 mins. I almost fell asleep during this time, and this is unheard of for me. I was so blissed out I can still remember the feeling of absolute surrender and peace.
Then, I was instructed how to shower the mud off and get back on the bed for a back massage. This massage was way more than I had hoped for. It was a true, therapeutic massage. Not a soft, feel good massage that I usually find annoying. Muscles in my back stretched and moved with my technician’s hands and I melted into the table in absolute full relaxation. When it was done, I didn’t feel as if I’d paid too much for an over glorified service – I actually felt deep peace. And the business woman in me felt absolute value. The best confirmation I can share with you of my transformation in that hour is when I walked out and my partner said; “Wow, you are absolutely glowing!” – I was. I hadn’t even realized how stressed and unwell I was looking previously. Suddenly my face and my body had a warm, happy glow. I had finally arrived at Wellness. It took me the full two days, as this was my second day, but when I arrived, I truly realized the incredible power if this place when you allow yourself to fully immerse in what it has to offer and surrender to the peacefulness of it all.
THE RESORT GROUNDS
The resort is situated near a golf course – Predator Ridge – so there are a multitude of trails and outdoor experiences to be had just within walking distance. Our first day we had a picnic on a bench on top of a boulder overlooking the valley – this was only about 100 steps away from the resort. The views all around are spellbounding and full of expanse. They contribute to your inner sense of freedom and release. I cannot help but think every single aspect of this resort was planned with complete rejuvenation in mind. Like stepping into the wardrobe from Narnia – I was stepping into another dimension, time and place – you are transported fully when you stay here.
I simply HAVE to highlight this aspect of the resort as well since it was such an elemental part of the joy of the experience. I have stayed in some 4 star resorts around the world and been dismayed with the front desk staff and the hospitality staff. The energy of the staff create the energy throughout the hotel/resort and can make or break an experience for me. Cruise ships have this aspect down really well, some better than others – but staff are friendly, courteous and always say ‘hello!’ They engage, make jokes when appropriate and are truly there to serve. With the right management they are happy themselves and it shows in the work they do. This is something I look for when reviewing ANY resort. I don’t care how glamorous the building is and how glorious the amenities are – the staff MUST be happy to be there. I was not disappointed with this resort. From the very beginning of my stay, to the bittersweet end, we were treated to the most genuine, happy to serve and happy to be there staff. There was nothing that was overlooked, forgotten or ignored. Every request was responded to and I was absolutely impressed with the staff in every aspect of my 2 night stay.
WHY SHOULD YOU STAY
If the above reviews are still not enough to convince your ‘over busy’ mind, let me bring it back to the essential for you; You CANNOT be the best YOU unless you take care of you the best way possible. You may have many things to do, but these things will only get 50% of you if you are not well rested and nurtured. Your family, your work and your life depend on you to be there, but be there fully. If you shift the perspective a bit, it is actually MORE selfish to not take care of yourself and provide yourself with regular relaxation and rejuvenation opportunities – if you refuse to do this, you are only bringing part of yourself to everything you do and you are achieving only part of what you could achieve. If my own journey into this realization is evidence enough – I went from stress and anxiety to glowing and flowing. This feeling carried with me through to the next week and I was able to achieve so much more from that place of stillness, grounded energy and inner peace. I already find it’s fading, so I have a renewed appreciation for how very important it is to take care of myself as a priority on my ‘to do’ list regularly. Without it, nothing else works. It is your wisest investment, so resist the temptation to talk yourself out of it.
Care for those you love and the work that inspires you by caring for the most important person in this life, you.
I eagerly anticipate my next stay here and if you haven’t gifted yourself a weekend at this resort yet, I think it is high time that you did. It’s GOOD business after all – Right? 😀
VIDEO TOUR OF THE ROOM
All images are copyright the author with exception of the images of the spa area of the hotel since cameras or phones are prohibited. Those photos belong to Sparkling Hill Resort and have been used with permission.