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Sparkling Hill Resort
Ranked #2 of 20 Hotels in Vernon
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 9 September 2010

Stayed at the hotel for 3 nights in mid August for an anniversary getaway. Read about it in the Calgary Herald, and was looking forward to trying out the -110C cryo sauna. The hotel just opened in May of this year, so I guess its still working out the bugs, however when you charge full rate ($500/n) you better get it right. The rooms are absolutely fantastic! Probably one of the nicest rooms I've been in, with great floor to ceiling windows overlooking Lake OK. The issue is when the sun sets, you can't really sit in the sitting chairs, because for some bizarre reason, they put a mirror on the side wall, so you get the sun shining in your eyes, therefore you need to put down the sun shades (& lose the view). However, great bed, tub, shower, robes and slippers. The breakfast was very good (included in price), and their muffins were fantastic. However there were only 2-3 other tables there, and I had to wait 10 minutes to get coffee, I guess chatting to friends in the back is more important to the staff (and then they want a tip! It's buffet style so the only thing they need to do is bring you coffee!!). We had dinner there twice. For the first night, there was us and 4-5 others, for that experience we found the food and service was very good (except they haven't figured out you don't mix group tables with tables of couples, keep the noisy groups separate!!!). However, the last nights dinner was just terrible, and that is one of the reasons they only get 3 stars. Their set menu seems to favor cheap meats, so they had quail (aka chicken) on the menu twice, I didn't want the chicken again, so I chose the fish. Of course everyone had the same idea, so they were out of fish. They came to me and said I could chose veggie or quail, I explained that is not what I wanted. Any quality restaurant would have a better fish for an alternative, but not them, I had to escalate it to the manager to get tuna. The kicker was they were sooooo slow, our 3 course meal took 3hrs!!! By the time we were done, the pools were closed and my bum really hurt, since their dining room chairs weren't the most comfortable.

The spa is certainly lacking. This is the first spa I've ever been too that didn't have the basic amenities (i.e. razors, shaving cream, mouth wash, moisturizer, etc..), or bottled water (you had to drink from plastic cups placed next to the tap... really the tap!!). The pools were very nice (partially under construction), but there was no bar service. We did the cryo sauna, good time, not going to do that again! Had a massage, nothing special, but the price was cheap (because they don't employ more experienced registered massage therapists). The spa was very poorly designed, you are in the waiting room, and you'll see them bring a tour of 10 tourists with cameras while you are sitting in your robe waiting for a massage.... not a good idea. They need to separate the spa from the pools. Also, went to use the sauna's/steam rooms one day, but they don't open until 2pm, so I wasn't able to use them on our last day (I planned to use them the night before, but because the diner took so long it closed before we could make it!).

I needed to work, and I found the wifi worked without any problem in the room and restaurant (ok, I caught up on email during breakfast). However, every time your computer goes to sleep, you need to login again, I've never had to do that anywhere else, they should upgrade their provider, very inconvenient for guests.

I give the hotel 3 stars because there was no valet (very bad first impression, even though the view of the building is amazing!!). Unbelievably poor dining experience (both breakfast and diner). Poor spa design and amenities. I also didn't care much for the location, its 20 minutes from Vernon, and 30 minutes from Kelowna, so its really in the middle of no-where. You'll want to plan to hit the wineries near Kelowna for lunch and diner, and its a bit of a drive a night (with the curvy roads) from Kelowna. If its in a remote location, I would expect the pools, spa, and restaurants to be top notch, they weren't. The saving grace was the rooms were amazing, and the property was absolutely beautiful.

  • Stayed: August 2010, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank TheCriticalTraveller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 17 August 2010

My wife and I stayed at Sparkling Hill August 13th and 14th for our anniversary. Overall it was a very relaxing, enjoyable experience. The hotel is beautiful and the views it offers are specatcular. We were on the third (top) floor, but I can't imagine any room there not having a view since the structure is perched on the top of a hill with one side looking out over Predator Ridge golf course and the other overlooking Okanagan Lake.

The staff were all very friendly, but we found service to be a bit inconsistent. When we drove up to the entrance there was no valet to be seen. When we checked in, a bellman was paged. He took my wife's suitcase, but didn't even offer to take my suitcase or laptop. Our room had amazing views...floor to ceiling window walls on two sides with a bathtub for two against one of them (warning: unlike most city hotels, the windows are NOT one way!).

Everything about the spa area of the resort was top-notch...the people, the treatment rooms, the euqipment, the many themed saunas and steam rooms and the pools.

Food and beverage is - for me - the most difficult thing to critique about our stay. The dinner menu changes daily and is very creative. It's split into 4 sections of 3 course options. There's land (i.e. meat), earth (vegetarian) and sea that change everyday plus a static choice of beef tenderloin. My wife enjoyed both her dinners, one being the earth selection. She felt that, unlike some restaurants that just throw a vegetarian item on the menu because they have to, this restaurant - PeakFine - actually tried to come up with interesting ideas. I had the beef tenderloin one night. It was cooked using the "sous vide" method and was outstanding! I can't recommend it enough. Our server both nights was Kip and he really needs to be acknowledged as an exceptional waiter. The lunch menu was also interesting, but it would have been nice to see a couple items of more standard fare. Breakfast was a disappointment. There's no a la carte service, just a buffet. The eggs were the worst part. The first morning there was a chafing dish containing scrambled eggs, one with sausages and one with fried potatoes(mixed with red pepper and purple onion). I would swear the eggs were scooped out of one of those 5 gallon pails of prescrambled stuff...tasteless. The second morning there were again three chafing dishes. This time the eggs were in the form of a frittata and contained pieces of fried potato that looked suspiciously like the potatoes from the previous morning. Again, totally bland. There was also a chafing dish with the same type of sausage and one with very overcooked waffles that were so hard you could chip a tooth on them. Aside from the hot items there was fruit, granola, cheeses and some very good pastries.

In case Sparkling Hill management reads this review, here are a few recommendations:
Pool beverage service
Better stocked in-room fridge
Power blinds to operate from the bed (like Fairmont Pacific Rim has)
More variety on all the menus - but keep the inventive daily specials coming
Bump guards in the hallways - there are already some obvious dings and scuffs

Along with Kip, Malaina in the restaurant was also a huge standout for exceptional service. As I said at the start of this review, we really enjoyed ourselves and feel that the 2 night couples getaway was a good deal. We'll go back and we'll recommend Sparkling Hill to friends. A word of advice to other travellers: this is a couples-oriented or adult getaway hotel and really isn't suitable for children of any age.

  • Stayed: August 2010, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank kennferr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 August 2010

My wife and i stayed here in june and found the place amazing. We wandered around for quite some time checking out the views (some of the best i have ever seen) and architecture. Food was good and staff were polite. Loved the big windows in the guest rooms which make it feel like a balcony. Will be coming back with freinds in September.

  • Stayed: June 2010, travelled as a couple
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Thank Luv2travelworlds
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 August 2010

Ladies and gentlemen, you have yet to experience a place such as this. I came up here , solo, to enjoy a little getaway and left on Cloud 9. As a local, I was curious to see for myself what this place has to offer and it is truly beyond imagination. To have a world-class facility in our own back yard is exciting and I'll be bringing my family and friends back to experience the place. I've had the opportunity to travel quite extensively and can honestly say there is no place that compares. As a new resort, there are initial hiccups, but none did I encounter. During my stay, I was equally impressed by the architecture and design of the place along with the people inside it!

In the morning, I enjoyed a nice hot breakfast with an assortment of fresh selections (yogourt parfaits, scrambled eggs, fresh fruit and of course some delicious pastries...I may be health-conscious but I still want to enjoy what I'm eating!). The staff were friendly and as I sipped my morning coffee, I savoured the gorgeous view outside.

I opted for a pedicure and 50 minute massage that afternoon. Entering KurSpa I was immediately greeted by friendly faces. After I filled out some information, they escorted me down to the Tea Room where I relaxed and enjoyed some fresh juice while sinking into this comfy chaise lounge. Once my treatments had begun, I could see how people could spend days at a place such as this. Whether it's the fact that you're removing yourself from your daily duties or just simply enjoying a beautiful place where you can breathe in the fresh air around you and explore some new treatments, I was sold.

What I'm about to say next may seem exaggerated, but don't judge until you've experienced it yourself. The steam/sauna area is absolutely spectacular! Forget what you know about steams/saunas. This room presents 7 steams/saunas, each with a unique design, scent and beautifully crafted art piece. Your senses are truly enlivened!

I went back to my afternoon for a mid-afternoon nap, and how could I not! The beds are fitted with memory foam; your body's contours are quickly absorbed. The inviting saoker tub is by the window (stunning views) and the starry sky lighting above means you may find yourself in another world come dusk.

My tummy was grumbling so I headed down for dinner at PeakFine. Chef Derrick and team prepared a thoughtful menu; a unique choice of ingredients from the Sea, Earth or Land. As an Albertan, I opted for Land! My server, Laurie, was upbeat and very helpful with wine pairings. The bread was served with lavender butter, something I will definitely try at home! My main, the beef tenderloin, was succulent and flavourful. With a glass of red wine in hand, I savoured every moment!

To say I was impressed does not quite cut it, but what I will say is this: I will be back!

Sparkling Hill Resort offers something for everyone and I can't wait to share this beautiful place with others.

  • Stayed: July 2010, travelled solo
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1  Thank JagareManagement
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 August 2010

We spent two nights at this resort on a couple’s package which included accommodation, breakfast, a welcoming cocktail, dinner both nights at their restaurant and two $150 vouchers for the spa. Priced at $980 this was very good value – get it while you can!
As pointed out in past TripAdvisor reports on the Sparkling Hills Resort, there is work to be done on smoothing out some of the operational aspects, but let’s not dwell on that, they will surely be put right, let’s look at the positives.
The positives include a wonderful staff who are doing a fine job , even when things do not flow as smoothly as they should; the resort is built to high quality standards with attention paid to detail; the spa is quite unique, especially the sauna and pool sections with the -110C sauna in a class of its own; the location lends itself to participation in many other interests, the views across the lake being spectacular; the bedrooms, like the rest of the facilities, are first class and judging from the two dinners we had, the resort has a very good chef overseeing the kitchen.
So, take in the overall experience and see the humour in the little things that get left undone, my wife and I enjoyed our two nights at the Sparkling Hills Resort and will plan to return.
PS I do not suppose the General Manager sees the humour in the “little things left undone” :0) – so he will no doubt continue the process of putting that right.

  • Stayed: August 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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1  Thank NormD
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Sparkling Hill Resort

Address: 888 Sparkling Place, Vernon, British Columbia V1H 2K7, Canada
Region: Canada > British Columbia > Okanagan Valley > Vernon
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#2 Business Hotel in Vernon
Price Range: $320 - $452 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Sparkling Hill Resort 4*
Number of rooms: 152
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Over 3.5 million crystals infused within this modern oasis – a most remarkable hotel and wellness centre with European-inspired design elegance. Nestled in the mountains near Vernon, BC, and overlooking Lake Okanagan, your personal journey to whole body health and wellness begins at our standout among British Columbia resorts. Wellness Packages at KurSpa Sparkling Hill’s reputation as an internationally-renowned wellness center and health retreat is unparalleled. What better way to spark your journey towards a new you than our Wellness Packages, providing savings on spa and wellness treatments at KurSpa. Learn more about our Weeklong Wellness Packages. Also be sure to explore our fitness classes and meditation workshops to promote well-being in mind, body and spirit. KurSpa: A Holistic Health Spa The heart of our Lake Okanagan resort is KurSpa, our 40,000 square foot European-inspired spa, clinic, and wellness center. It is the largest spa in Canada and shines brightly as a worldwide wellness destination. Relax, renew, and revitalize at KurSpa's seven unique aromatherapy, steam, and sauna rooms. Swim in Kurspa's serenity pool featuring underwater music and a Swarovski crystal night sky. Choose from over 100 transformative spa treatments and therapies to detoxify the body and promote optimum health. Consult with our professional team including our naturopathic physician, psychiatrist, massage providers and kinesiologists and view their renowned clinic services. Enhance your relationships with the help of our SHaRP program, which can range from romantic to work relationships. Schedule yourself a mini silent retreat in our Serenity Room. Or, experience the first European Cryo Cold Chamber (-110°C) in North America, our signature KurSpa treatment. Our Luxurious British Columbia Resort Take in the stunning beauty of the Okanagan Valley from our BC resort’s luxury guest rooms and penthouses, which feature sweeping lake and mountain views and operable floor to ceiling glass window walls that can be opened to instantly transform your room into an outdoor oasis. Swarovski crystals illuminate fireplaces, fixtures and ceilings, lending a luminous and luxurious ambience to every space. Fresh Fine Dining Sparkling Hill Resort is also home to the best fine dining destinations in Vernon, BC. PeakFine, our signature restaurant, serves a menu emphasizing the freshest and finest ingredients the Okanagan Valley has to offer. Known as the "Napa of the North" the region's spectacular wines are on offer at PeakFine and Barrique & Java, our more casual wine, tapas, and coffee bar. Stunning Swarovski crystal chandeliers and accents imbue our dining spaces with glamour and elegance, and those seeking an elegantly rustic setting for private dining or special events will find it in Gernots. Discover Sparkling Hill Recognized as a trendsetter in healthy living and wellness hospitality, our Okanagan Lake resort is a distinctive destination for the modern sophisticated traveler. Whether planning a couple's escape, corporate wellness retreat, or incentive travel, our British Columbia resort delivers an unforgettable blend of relaxation, restoration, and wellness. Please explore our website; we look forward to welcoming you to Sparkling Hill Resort on your personal journey to whole body health and wellness. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Sparkling Hill Hotel Vernon

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