by Isabella Thordsen
In the far West of Canada lies British Columbia, or “Beautiful British Columbia” as the locals call it. And after 3 weeks of exploring the cinematic state, BC continues to be the most amazing gift that keeps on giving. With over 2000 km covered, my friend and I decided to explore one of the lesser-known paradises of Canada in search of some downtime and wellness with The Royal Kelowna hotel.
And today I wanted to share how I found a little slice headspace in Kelowna, a small jewel in British Columbia’s wine region called The Okanagan (pronounced; Oh-Kar-Nar-Gan).
Arriving at the Royal Kelowna Hotel in the evening, here I was sat overlooking the majestic Okanagan Lake. A quick elevator ride later, I was at the top of this traditional wood-panelled hotel and walked into a world of beautiful dark pink colours, blue rolling hills and a few glimmers of orange light reflecting off the lake…….
“Aaaand breathe…” the little voice in my head started saying.
There is something humbling and inspiring about being infinitely smaller than the natural wonders around you. The cinematic cliffs, breathtaking mountains, rolling hills, and vast lakes of the world’s more untouched landscapes really make you check yourself and evaluate our small role to play on this earth whilst so many bigger forces are around us.
After a cold drink at the panoramic bar on top of the Royal Kelowna, it was time to wind down and enjoy the weekend exploring this magical valley (and its famous vineyards, of course!).
Our suite was already awaiting, and a well-earned snooze was needed before waking up to beautiful sunshine for our Sunday stroll around town.
Waking up with a list from the helpful staff here, we had a curated “To-Do” list for all the sights in the area, and after a watermelon breakfast, we headed for a stroll along the boardwalk and harbour in front of the hotel.
A few minutes’ walk from the hotel to the melting pot of the centre, and it was clear straight away that Kelowna was a happy, community-driven, family town. And how could they not be — a stable climate all year round, some of the best ski areas on their doorstep in the Winter and some of North America’s most acclaimed vineyards within walking distance.
Less than 100 m from the lake-front, you can find the main street which is full of stylish coffee shops, trendy Poké bowl takeaways, bohemian bars and urban wineries — it really was buzzing! We decided to sample everything available and fell in love with the Poké bowls at Pacific Poké. The spicy tuna “build it yourself” bowl was a little slice of heaven as we watched families and friends enjoy the last of their weekend together. It was a heartwarming day all round!
Another must-visit location in the Okanagan Valley is, of course, the Westside Wine Trail just over the bridge from Kelowna.
Following the beautiful lake views, you can drive through the magnificent vineyards set on either side of the road and try a multitude of old world and new world wines.
After a few stops, we made it to the stunning Quails Gate Winery nestled in the foothills above Lake Okanagan. As one of the oldest wineries in the region, we had to sample a few of their award-winning bottles and couple it with a few treats from the restaurant.
The winery has a great design and certainly has a premium feel as you wander around the grapes and their beautiful restaurant. Another great stop for a visit and to see a view right down the valley.
With life so fast-paced thanks to apps such as Uber, Deliveroo, Amazon Prime making everything so instant, places like Kelowna, far removed from the hustle and bustle, provide a little break from the noise of normal Millennial life. Their natural beauty almost gave us an “excuse” to live in the moment and not in our screens, as if their beauty is so magnificent it would be almost disrespectful to not take it all in when you are here.