If you like your getaways romantic and authentic, then Echo Valley Ranch and Spa will tick those boxes in more ways than you could imagine. Located northwest of Kamloops, and just five hours northeast of Vancouver, Echo Valley offers a traditional Western experience, with some authentic Asian culture to boot, all wrapped up in a rustic-but-luxurious experience second to none.
Echo Valley is owned by British ex-pat Norm Dove and his Thai wife Nan, and offers traditional log-built architecture, activities like gold-panning, fly-fishing; trail rides and evening barbeques followed by campfire sing-a-longs. The authentic Eastern flavor comes through in the spa selections (Thai massage and beauty therapies are available alongside more Western-based offerings), or via the weekly Thai banquet followed by traditional Thai dancing.
The resort is nestled in Echo Valley, an idyllically remote location where four distinctly Canadian geographical areas come together: mountain, forest, valley and pasture. It is open April 1 to October 31 each year and has a capacity of 30-42 people. You can also ‘book the ranch’ for corporate retreats, weddings and family reunions. The standard and premium rooms, as well as the freestanding cabins, all have a rustic Western ambience, while the Royal Suite is Eastern in influence.
Echo Valley’s distinctive west-meets-east blend has gained them a dedicated following, and won them awards. The World Boutique Hotel Awards awarded them ‘Best Wellness Spa of the Americas’ in 2016, as well as the Americas ‘Best Boutique Hotel’ and ‘Best Relaxation Retreat’ in 2014. They have also made Trip Advisor’s Traveler’s Choice list every year since 2012, and in 2013 won both ‘Best Service Hotel’ and ‘Best Boutique Hotel’.
Spending time at Echo Valley is a bit like going to visit friends. Everyone (owners, guests and workers) takes meals together, and these communal gatherings have always been a part of the Echo Valley experience, stemming from Norm and Nan’s ethos of ‘living together, working together and eating together’. Breakfast and lunch are both buffet style, and dinner is a three-course meal prepared by Executive Chef Todd Pruden, and accompanied by BC wines.
The resort also follows a ‘100 metre’ philosophy, where much as possible of the food served comes from the ranch itself. There are beef cows, pigs and chickens, plus a greenhouse and extensive summer garden – all organic.
The ‘living green’ ethos has always been important to the Doves. Echo Valley has been a gold star member of Green Tourism Canada for a number of years and Norm and Nan are committed to keeping their carbon footprint to a minimum, and embracing a ‘recycle, reuse and re-purpose’ philosophy. You can even charge your electric car on site.