“I’ll meet you at the Bear.” (That would be the 5 foot high stuffed one in the lobby of the Harrison Springs Resort and Spa.) I just loved saying it. Invited for a spring night’s getaway, my two boys and I made the short drive up Highway 1 from Vancouver to Harrison and as my lovely Welsh friend says, I was gob-smacked. A broad lake with an enticing bright yellow slide and bouncy play contraption floating off the beach greeted us as we drove into the resort. A dock for boating and fishing activities anchored the quaint town filled with painted Sasquatch footprints and pedicabs built for 5 ($25/hour, Jamie’s Quadricycle Rentals, 604-703-8951). The shopping in this mining area was great for gifts, and I was able to pick up several specimens of ‘gems’ as a birthday gift for a future geologist.
The room overlooked the lake (I later sat happily on the balcony after the boys were fast asleep) and the fluffy spare blanket was a perfect wrap on the abnormally chilly spring night. Upon arrival the boys were in their swimsuits before I had taken off my shoes. The natural hot springs beconed. Originally used by the Salish Coast Indians for medicinal properties and rejuvenating effects, the Harrison Hot Springs Spa and pools have attracted visitors for years, including famous guests such as Clark Gable, John Wayne, Michael Buble, Robin Williams and Liam Neeson. We’re not nearly as famous – ah-hem – but I could certainly see the rejeuvenating qualities after I’d soaked (and played) in the pools. The resort includes 5 different mineral-fed baths, including a 4,000 square foot outdoor family pool. The tranquil indoor space reminded me of Saratoga in New York or Baden Baden in Germany. The symmetry of the architecture and the echoes of the water made my son decide that we would be celebrating his 5th birthday in this location.
A hike through the grounds through a trellised rose garden and then the forest over 11 bridges led us to the original source of the springs. The 65 DEGREE CELSIUS water is mixed with the cool lakewater to feed the 5 hot springs pools at temperatures ranging from 27 to 36 degrees celsius. And I can’t even set my PVR.
First Nations have known about the water for 100’s of years…The hot springs themselves were originally used and revered by the Sts’Ailes (Chehalis) First Nations people who live along the Harrison River nearby. The first Europeans may have been exhausted gold miners returning from the Cariboo Gold Fields in the early 1860’s – falling out of their canoe on the southern shore of what is now Harrison Lake only to find the water warm.
The Healing Springs Spa on the resort premises invited me for a facial which ended up being one of the best I’d ever had. Ironically, my kids were with me. (Don’t laugh – I’ve even had a massage while nursing one of them). The boys thought the waterfall in the spa lobby was cool and each picked a nail polish they wanted me to buy. For them. The highlight, though (for all of us), came when the spa manager took them to Miss Margaret’s – an in-house cafe – for a giant and fantastically delicious cookie.
With great room service, the ability to tire out the kids and pet friendly policies, I’ll be back. For a birthday party apparently. And I think there will be gems and giant cookies in every goody bag.
Family Packages at Harrison Hots Springs Resort include the Get Wet Package and the Summer Soaker for Kids.
Disclosure: UrbanMommies was provided a room at the resort and 30 minute facial for the purposes of a review. As always, our opinions are our own.