Revelstoke in British Columbia, Canada, has been a well-guarded secret for those in the know. Outside of locals and those who reside near this tiny town – which sees approximately 8,000 people call home – it remains a sleeper gem. But the word is slowly trickling out because it’s been revealed that this city is a marvel for adventures, getting in touch with nature, spa and beauty sanctuaries, and retreats for meditation and yoga. It attracts these elements because its environment is unparalleled: it happens to be the location of the world’s only inland temperate rainforest and is hugged by rugged and wild terrain – between the Monashee and Selkirk mountain ranges.
As an active and wellness hub, the town’s humble beginnings were as a railway town and by the 1900s, it became an idyllic retreat for Norwegian immigrants who brought skiing and ski jumping to the area. The area is so revered for these winter sports that Revelstoke actually houses the oldest ski club in the province, the aptly named Revelstoke Ski Club.
By the 1960s, a proper first ski hill appeared on Mount Mackenzie, where the famed Revelstoke Mountain Resort is now located. Historically, the area was once called the ‘capital of the Canadian alps’ and for good reason. Today, the town still draws crowds but nowhere near the busyness of a major destination like Whistler, British Columbia, as an example – so take advantage of such spaciousness and make plans to visit ASAP.
To get here, most opt to fly to Kelowna, British Columbia – from any major city and then use ground transport to get here. Public and private shuttle transfers are available or you can rent a car; regardless of the option you choose, allot for about 2 ½ hours to arrive at your destination. Or if seeking the luxury route, there is a small airport in Revelstoke and some visitors have charted private aircraft to fly here from Kelowna, Vancouver, or Calgary, Alberta.
Once you’ve arrived, experience top places to stay, rest & relax, revive, dine, and be one with nature.
Where to Stay
Your designated ‘home away from home’, this modernist boutique hotel resort opened in 2020 just outside of downtown Revelstoke and offers 32 townhome-style suites: they range from five-bedroom suites to micro-studios, all offering picturesque mountain views from every angle and overlooking the serene Columbia River.
Intrepid Canadian entrepreneur and owner of Basecamp Resorts, Sky McLean is no stranger to the wilderness – whose passion for the outdoors and winter sports (she is an avid downhill skier, Nordic skier, snowmobiler and mountain biker) – led her to open her first Basecamp Resorts in Canmore, Alberta in 2017 at age 33. Revelstoke (her first location in British Columbia) was a natural choice because these bespoke properties are designed for appeasing to a range of lifestyle needs. “From families, adventure seekers, and powder junkies alike – each suite includes a fully equipped kitchen, a washer and dryer, spacious living and dining areas, and an outdoor patio. The property also has two rooftop hot tubs as well as a large outdoor BBQ and entertaining area.” The intention is to offer guests the comforts and unique characteristics found in an Airbnb but with the luxury amenities, concierge services and conveniences found in a hotel. Best of all, its intimate locale is counterbalanced with a quick and easy 5 minute drive into downtown Revelstoke, or 15 minutes to reach adrenaline-inducing spots such as Revelstoke Mountain Resort which features the longest vertical drop in North America at 5,620 ft.
Where to Restore Your Body, Spirit, and Mind
Noelle Bovon is co-founder of Balu Yoga & Wellness and she is described as an unwavering optimist and humble warrior of the human spirit. She is deeply committed to helping her students see their potential and cites that it is the reason why she fosters community through her studio. “We built this space for you to come and release stress and tension.” Whether a solo practitioner, a veteran, a novice or even someone with a large family, Bovon is accommodating to all needs and skill levels.
Book a private yoga session with your loved ones for tailored lessons and pacing: unique styles include everything from Restorative Yoga (reset mind, body, and spirit for better functioning), Yoga with Kids, Empowered Flow (smooth transitions from one challenging posture to another), Deep Release Yoga (to alleviate muscle and fascia tension), Strong Core Flow (emphasis on abs and alignment), Meditation (Sadhana – which emphasizes breathing techniques, concentration, and more), to even Acro(batic) Yoga.
Insider tip: Studio 7 Nail Artistry – a private nail salon – is situated within Balu and offers bespoke services here. Founder Rosie Spencer offers pampering and creative flair with her nail art, gel manicures, extensions, and more.
Where to Spa
Situated on the waterfront location of Upper Arrow Lake, in Nakusp – Halcyon Hot Springs Resort is about a 20 minute ferry ride from Revelstoke, and upon arrival, you’ll be greeted with spectacular views of the Monashee mountains. This place is a dedicated sanctuary for rest and relaxation. According to Sandra Gregory, General Manager at Halcyon Hot Springs Resort, she explains that their hot springs were used for centuries by local First Nations: “they called it ‘great medicine water,’ the superheated water that comes from deep underground contains a unique combination of minerals including: sodium, magnesium, calcium, strontium and lithium – which are believed to have therapeutic healing properties.”
Once you’ve soaked up the ancient healing waters of their natural hot springs, head over to their Spa and take advantage of one of their specialty packages such as their Private Yoga, Massage, and Relaxation at their Hot Spring: it features a couples massage (integration of hot basalt stones with custom aromatherapy that uses herbs and essential oils; body scrub and facial with use of organic plant-based products), and seasonal Yoga SUP (cultivate zen on a stand-up paddle board) .
Round out the day with a meal at the newly renovated and signature restaurant, Alcédo. Executive Chef Darryl Crumb takes a thoughtful approach to the menu here: they upcycle the water from the hot springs for their on-site gardens which grow much of the ingredients for the menu. Moreover, Alcédo highlights the vibrant and local seasonal fare British Columbia and other provinces across Canada have to offer. Specials include silky brown-butter salmon with wild rice and sauce vierge; and juicy pan-roasted chicken with roasted carrots and green beans.
Insider tip: With the extended travel arrangements, it’s ideal to opt for an overnight stay or two in one of their inspired luxury cabins, cottages, or chalets. Check the BC Ferries Website for sailing times and delays.
Situated inside building two of the Sutton Place Hotel and steps from the base of Revelstoke Mountain Resort, Sointula Spa is a little haven that offers nourishing head-to-toe treatments. Of note, they use locally sourced Seaflora products (which makes use of Thalassotherapy – which harnesses the power and therapeutic use of seawater, seaweeds, and mud to promote health, wellness, and beauty) from Vancouver Island. The spa says that “they are 100% non-toxic, hand-harvested seaweed formulas and feature bioactive compounds that are beneficial to the skin – of which include improve elasticity, flush cellular toxins, stimulate collagen, detoxifies, balances PH, and more.”
Available treatments range from Organic Sea Salt Body Polishes, Relaxation Massages, Deep Tissue Massages – to their signature Nourishing Seaweed Body Wrap. Incredibly luxurious, your body and mind can relax and unwind with this healing wrap. It’s followed-up with a wild sea kelp body lotion application. “Our customers love it because it leaves your skin glowing and your body reawakened,” offers the spa team.
Where to Dine
There’s no shortage of nutrient-dense and delectable fare here at this farm-to-table restaurant. Owners Terra Park and her partner Rob are committed to using local, organic, and sustainable ingredients for their dishes (including sourcing from their own farm, about 3 miles away from Revelstoke). “Our freshly picked organic vegetables and eggs are delivered to the restaurant almost everyday,” they add.
Sunrise starters include the Pesto Poachie (a healthier play on an eggs benedict) which sees poached eggs on kale pesto toast, sprinkled with cheddar, and finished with sesame za’atar. Otherwise, if you’re seeking something heartier, the plant-based Field Burger is an ideal choice: a vegetable patty is emboldened with halloumi, greens, onion jam and tahini sauce.
Pro-tip: don’t forget to take some baked goodies for the road. Their naturally leavened breads are made with organic milled flour from BC Grains and baked daily. Also, be on the lookout for specialty donut flavors, scones, cakes, muffins, and more.
Serving more than their famed artisan brews (Monogram Coffee is their house roaster), this local spot – owned by John Pierce and Lauren Webster – is also beloved for its community spirit, with the owners even saying, “fair warning: you’ll likely make a new friend and stay way longer than you planned.” Situated in the heart of downtown Revelstoke with the stunning mountains in the backdrop to greet you, it’s a decidedly perfect place to start your day.
Tuck into their hearty Nicoise plate with Monashee mustard greens, confit new potato, soft boiled egg, cucumber, za’atar, and herb salad in a caramelized shallot dressing; or go for their grazing platter that features toasted house made focaccia, hummus & rotating dips, oils, shishito peppers, pickles, and olives. Additional pick-me-ups include a Kermit smoothie with Banana, spinach, spirulina, oat milk and pineapple; and hotel Ginger Wazz: an energetic House elixir with ginger, apple juice and turmeric.
Where to Be One with Nature
The resort’s iconic vertical drop (at a heart-stopping 1,710 meters) can challenge anyone in all four seasons, including the most seasoned skiers; but even if you’re not as ‘hardcore’, you can still relish in the beauty of the land. There’s a vast array of more tame and satisfying options for newbies to intermediate people who just want to enjoy the company of nature. Regardless of the time of year, it’s an opportune time to go hiking and biking in spring, summer, and fall; and in the winter, go skiing and snowboarding.
The first step is the opt for a scenic gondola ride up Mount Mackenzie to the Mackenzie Outpost and soak up the revelatory view of Revelstoke, Then (with map in hand and being on the lookout for hiking markers) options include over 13 miles of hiking trails – and feature witty (and intense) climbs such as Kill the Banker trail with an elevation gain of 2946ft. over 2.4 miles, or more the more scenic (and easy-going) Split Rock Falls with about 1/4 mile to tackle and an elevation gain of only 42ft.
This mountain’s awe-inspiring triple peak (with its nearly 9,000 ft. summit) captivates the skyline from any vantage point while in town. It’s so special that it actually serves as a cherished symbol of Revelstoke. If you’re opting for a closer look, there are opportunities to hike to the meadows near the summit to see the glaciers up close-and-personal. If you’re feeling more bold (and have mountaineering skills), you can attempt to reach the summit itself, though it’s advisable to seek out a guide for further insight and expertise. Otherwise, even walking towards the base of the mountain via the Mount Begbie Trail is ideal to take in the wondrous mountain air, dense forestry, and waterfalls.
These sparkling waters on the Columbia River are picture-perfect. It’s hugged by a range of towering mountains that include Cat Peak, Carnes Peak, Mt. Moloch, and Downie Peak. It’s a gem for kayaking and canoeing; SUP (stand-up paddle boarding); and fishing. In the winter, venture to the west side of the lake and seek out Frisby Ridge Trail: it is a popular off-road route for snowmobilers and its trail elevation can reach up to 6500 ft. Regardless of what you choose, the lake is simply a place for solace, giving yourself a much needed digital detox, and getting away from it all.
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