Visitors come from around the world to enjoy the therapeutic qualities of Fairmont Hot Springs Resort which is surrounded by rolling hills and mountain peaks.
FAIRMONT HOT SPRINGS, BC — I'm not going to lie. When I first heard that I was going to the Fairmont Hot Springs, I envisioned a full-on Fairmont Hotel in the middle of the British Columbia wilderness – you know, one of those 40-story monsters that only Oprah, Jon Gosselin, and the cast of Friends can afford to stay at.
Embarrassing, I know, but in my defense I'm a bit of an idiot, and my knowledge of the west coast isn't much better than a contestant on Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?
Not much of a defense, but it's all I've got.
In hindsight, I wouldn't trade my Fairmont Hot Springs experience for anything. The whole SnowSeekers team had pretty much run the gamut for the past two months, so a couple of days of rest and relaxation was exactly what we needed.
The 138-suite lodge is located in the heart of B.C.'s Columbia Valley, at the headwaters of the Columbia River, and directly in between the Rocky and Purcell Mountains. If you ever want to feel completely removed from your fast-paced city life, a stay at the Fairmont Hot Springs is the perfect solution.
"The hot springs have been a means of relaxation in the Valley for thousands of years, before the European settlers came to the springs in the 1800s," said Marion Garden, marketing manager for the Fairmont Hot Springs. "The native people called this place 'The land of smoking waters,' and they came for the healing properties in the minerals."
Unlike some other hot springs, Fairmont's are crystal clear and completely odourless.
Renowned for their therapeutic qualities, the pools are among the cleanest hot springs in North America. More than 1.5 million gallons of mineral water flows through the pools every day, and the springs are so hot (120 degrees fahrenheit) that cold water has to be added to the pools to bring them to a more soothing temperature.
There have been few times in my life where I've been so relaxed and awe-inspired. Laying in the hot spring and looking out at the Purcells and the Columbia Valley Wetlands (Canada's largest contiguous natural wetland) was amazing. It's hard to pull yourself out, but when you do, there are more things to do in Fairmont than you can ever accomplish in just one visit.
"First of all, there's the skiing. We have our own ski hill here in Fairmont, but people will often stay in Fairmont and use the resort as a base camp for the week. There are eight ski hills within a two-hour drive of Fairmont, so one day you can ski here in Fairmont, and then the next day you can drive to Kimberley, and then Golden, and all along the Powder Highway. Whatever hill got the best snow the night before, you can go there for the day before coming back for the world's best apres: a soak in the hot springs."
Fairmont also boasts an impressive on-site spa, the hightest-rated RV park in the Canadian Rockies, three golf courses, eco-adventure programs (through B.C. Rockies Adventures), multiple dining options, and the best staff you're likely to find.
The day we left Fairmont was a sad day for us all. We had an amazing experience – from the hill, to the resort, to the hot springs – one we didn't ever want to end. I can take solace in the fact that I know that I'll be coming back. It was an experience that I'd repeat over and over and over again in a heartbeat.
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