A much-needed weekend of R & R, combined with an amazing online cyber deal, prompted me to check out the much-talked-about Sparkling Hill Resort and Spa. It did not disappoint, but there are some caveats I wish I’d known about before my stay. I’m spilling the tea so you can have the best visit when you go! Here is my honest review of the Sparkling Hill Resort and Spa in Vernon, BC, Canada.
If you’re thinking about going, read below for some information I wish I’d known before I planned my trip. I’ve also included some of my recommended must-dos in my Sparkling Hill Resort review.
Let me start off by saying that this resort is stunning. It is the vision of Mr. Gernot Langes-Swarovski, of the famed Swarovski crystal family, and there are 3.5 million Swarovski crystals throughout the resort. It literally sparkles everywhere you go. You are welcomed with giant crystal chandeliers upon entry. Note that check-in at Sparkling Hill is at 4 pm.
The Spa at Sparkling Hill Resort in Canada
I’ll start with the most important area of this resort. It’s likely the number one reason the majority of people pay a visit to Sparkling Hill – the spa. I have mixed reviews on this area, and things I would definitely do differently next time I have a weekend at Sparkling Hill Resort.
Sparkling Hill Spa Hours
The most disappointing part of the spa is definitely the hours of their sauna and steam room area. They are open until 11 am and then closed until 4 pm. If you are like most people on vacation, you don’t get up at the crack of dawn so by the time you get up and eat breakfast, you have little-to-no time to enjoy the sauna area before it closes down.
The Spa opens up again at 4 pm, which is also Happy Hour (discussed below) so I had to decide between these two. While the indoor and outdoor pools are open all day, the sauna and steam room areas are not. If you are spending the afternoon at the resort, you will not be able to enjoy them.
Unaware of these closures, I booked my massage for late afternoon. My plan was that I would spend the afternoon lounging in and out of the saunas before my massage. Since they are not open between 11 am – 4 pm that was not possible.
If you wish to spend the day relaxing, I recommend booking your spa appointments during the hours between 11 am – 4 pm. I ended up going back up to the room and ordering room service before my massage. I did enjoy the pool for a while, but one can only wade in an infinity pool for so long.
The Pool Area
The outdoor infinity pool was lovely, and I can only imagine how much better it would be in the summer. It overlooks the lake, making it very picturesque. It is even enjoyable in the winter as it is heated to a very comfortable temperature. I would love to go back during the summer and lounge poolside to enjoy their views all afternoon.
The indoor pool and hot tubs however leave something to be desired. Quite honestly, they feel like you are in your local community centre pool. They really missed the mark on the indoor area; however, the Kneipp Water Therapy, shown below, was fun to do a few times.
As mentioned above, Happy Hour begins at 4 pm, which is also when the spa reopens. For me, Happy Hour won, with the idea being that I’d visit the saunas after dinner. Sadly, after enjoying a delightful dinner, I was left with less than an hour to explore this area. I can assure you that is not enough time.
During Happy Hour, glasses of wine are 50% off at their Barrique & Java Coffee Shop.
*Update, I heard that they got rid of their Happy Hour, but hopefully, it will return again one day.
European Hour at the Spa
Note that every evening from 9-10 pm is European hour (read: topless) so if you are not into that, you have one less hour to enjoy the spa area. For those not comfortable being in the spa area during the topless time, you would need to leave by 8 pm.
I decided to stay as I have experienced nude spas when travelling in Europe since I am comfortable with this. Had I left early, I wouldn’t have been able to experience all of the different saunas with the limited time I had.
I have to say that as someone who travels a lot and has enjoyed the liberty of nude and topless spas around the world, I was pleasantly surprised to see that Sparkling Hill in Canada has a European hour. I find that to be very progressive.
The Rooms at Sparkling Hill Resort
One word – amazing! My room overlooked the mountains and the lake and it was spectacular. There is nothing quite like taking a bubble bath overlooking this spectacular view. The tub is a generous two-person tub, but it doesn’t have jets so bring your own bubbles if you’re like me and just can’t bathe without bubbles – both in the tub and in a glass 😉
The room was a generous size, and the bed was comfortable, something that is very important. The bathroom was spacious and had two sinks and a walk-through shower. There is little privacy so I wouldn’t share this room with someone unless you are comfortable with that. Absolutely zero complaints here, it was top-notch.
The Food at Sparkling Hill Resort
I am pleased to report that every meal I ate was delicious. The hot buffet breakfast was beyond my expectations. The selection was great and the service was also very good. This is included for hotel guests and runs from 6:30 am – 10:00 am.
The restaurant meals were a tad on the pricier side, but not excessive, and the lamb was worth every penny. With the views in the rooms being spectacular I highly recommend ordering room service for lunch; however, the room set-up does make this somewhat awkward.
There was no table in my room so juggling your food and drinks is a bit of a fun game, but in my opinion, it’s worth it to enjoy your lunch in your luxurious robe while looking out at the stunning Okanagan Lake views. The portion sizes of the in-room service are also on the small side.
Looking for an ice room? Stop searching because there is no ice room in the hotel. However, they will bring you an ice bucket if you need to chill a bottle of bubbly. Simply call guest services and they will bring one to your room.
Is Sparkling Hill Resort Pet-Friendly?
For those of you with canine companions, the good news is that yes, Sparkling Hill Resort is pet-friendly! They offer guest rooms where you are welcome to bring your pets. There is a $25 fee per pet, per day.
They ask guests not to leave their pets unattended in the rooms, and to have them on a leash while on the property. Pets are not permitted in the restaurant or spa area, only in your room and outside. There are hiking trails and you are welcome to bring your pet on these as long as you pick up after them.
Are children allowed at Sparkling Hill Resort and Spa?
No, children under the age of 16 years old are not permitted at Sparkling Hill. It is an adults-only resort.
Conclusion – Sparkling Hill Resort, Canada Review
Overall, what is my review of Sparkling Hill Resort in Vernon, Canada? Do I recommend Sparkling Hill, and would I go back? A resounding YES! I would love another weekend at Sparkling Hill Resort. I definitely enjoyed my time there, and I look forward to visiting again.
Knowing what I know now, I would better plan my time around the sauna hours so I could enjoy a much more relaxing vacation. This resort is beautiful, and you simply cannot beat the location and the views from the room. If you visit, let me know your thoughts, and if my tips helped you in any way.
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