Gone Country 4-27-2007

Deluxe all-suite property is one of Western Canada’s top boutique resorts

By: Jonathan Siskin

Hastings House Country Estate, an all-suite property situated on the harbor in the town of Ganges on Salt Spring Island, recently marked its 25th year of operation with a gala. A member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World, it appeals to a select group of clients at the high end of the upscale market. While guests come from across North America, its prime target markets are the Northwest and West Coast of the U.S. and Western Canada. It takes just 15 minutes to fly to Salt Spring Island via floatplane from the Vancouver International Airport.

Arriving in the early afternoon allows clients to join fellow guests for tea in the living room of the Manor House, which dates back to 1939.

Sweet Suites
Nine of the 18 suites are in restored historic buildings situated on the property’s 22 acres, including the two spacious suites on the second floor of the Manor House, which offer leaded-glass windows, stone fireplaces and wide-plank wood floors.

The Post is a cozy two-room cottage occupying the original Hudson Bay trading post on the island. There are five suites Greenhouse, Hayloft, Meadow, Sealoft and Woodland in the fully restored Farmhouse that dates from the turn of the 20th century.

Hastings House’s newest accommodations are seven Hillside suites (completed in 1999), each featuring sea views, living room, king-size bed, fireplace, heated tile floors, soaking tub and separate shower.

Activities for All
Guests craving physical activity have plenty of options for daytime recreation, including biking, hiking and kayaking. A 62-mile circular route provides a great workout for cyclists and also offers a glimpse of the island’s forests and beaches. There are many trails for all abilities one of the best is the hike to Baynes Peak at the top of Mount Maxwell (1,929 feet) for spectacular views of Salt Spring and other nearby Gulf Islands.

Kayaking is a favorite pastime for both residents and visitors, and experienced guides will take individuals or small groups on excursions around the island to places inhabited by otters, seals, sea lions and eagles. After returning to Hastings House, guests can unwind with a range of in-suite spa treatments, including shiatsu, aromatherapy and reflexology, as well as facials, pedicures or an aroma steam wrap.

Culture vultures will also find plenty to sate their appetites on the island, with galleries and art studios in the town of Ganges just a short walk from the property.

Salt Spring Island is home to many artists, including painters, sculptors and woodcarvers. Potters, jewelers and metalworkers also display and sell their wares at studios and galleries listed on the Studio Tour brochure available at the hotel.

Foodie Favorites
Salt Spring is also known as the “organic food capital of Canada” because of the many organic-vegetable growers, combined with an abundance of fresh seafood and locally produced wine and cheese.

Hastings House chef Marcel Kauer is a strong advocate of organic dining, with recipes featuring locally grown produce, as well as fresh vegetables and fruits from the hotel’s gardens.

Each five-course dinner menu offers guests a choice of four entrees from a constantly changing selection of meat, game and seafood. By popular demand, fresh local Salt Spring lamb is included as one of the entrees on every dinner menu.


Salt Spring Island is accessible from Vancouver International Airport by floatplane on Seair: 604-273-8900; 800-447-3247, Harbour Air Seaplanes: 800-665-0212 and Salt Spring Air: 250-537-9880. Floatplanes travel from Seattle to Salt Spring from May to September: 866-435-9524. There is also ferry service between Vancouver on BC Ferries: 888-223-3779; www.bcferries.com and from Anacortes, Wash., outside Seattle on Washington State Ferries: 206-464-6400; www.wsdot.wa.gov/ferries.


Hastings House is open from mid-March through mid-November. Spring and Fall rates start at $260, while summer rates start at $320 800-661-9255; 250-537-2362