SALT SPRING ISLAND, British Columbia If you have clients searching
for an off-the-beaten-path destination that offers natural beauty
and luxurious accommodations, Hastings House might be the answer.
The charming 11th-century-inspired, Sussex-style manor house is
located on the southern gulf island of Salt Spring Island.
“We are trying to be very simple and very rustic, and yet offer
elegant and superb service,” said Bonny O’Connor who owns the
property with her husband Jerry Parks.
I recently visited the Relais & Chateaux property, a 25-acre
country estate atop a bluff overlooking the harbor where
floatplanes land and boats ease across the water into their
Accommodations include the Farmhouse East and West, two-story
oceanfront suites with wood-burning fireplaces and private porches;
the Manor East and West, two-room suites on the second floor of the
Manor House; the Post, a two-room private garden cottage that is
popular with honeymooners; the Barn, five guest suites including a
two-room unit that opens to a grassy meadow overlooking the sheep
pastures; the Churchill Cottage, including a fully equipped
kitchen, a dining room and two additional bedrooms; and the
Hillside Suites, the seven newest. I stayed in one of the latter,
enjoying sea views from my private balcony and luxuriating in a
deep soaking tub.
Complimentary guest services include a morning hamper with fresh
pastries and coffee or tea; a full English breakfast (try the
farmer’s breakfast with lamb sausage or Black Forest ham);
afternoon tea; robes and oversized towels; mountain bikes; firewood
for in-room fireplaces and stoves; and transportation to and from
the ferry and floatplanes.
The new spa should encourage longer stays, O’Connor said. As
charming and inviting as the rest of the property is, the spa is a
definite draw with such treatments as massages, facials,
aromatherapy, manicures, pedicures, steam showers and paraffin
treatments. I had a relaxing 90-minute facial that combined
aromatherapy, a facial massage, essential oils and scrubs.
Recreation & Dining
There’s plenty to do on the island. Visitors can enjoy golf at
the Salt Spring Island Golf and Country Club (250-537-2121),
horseback riding (250-537-5761), cycling (S.S. Kayaking for
rentals, 250-537-4664), bird watching, fishing, cruising, diving
and hiking. Clients also can rent a car and visit local artisans on
the Salt Spring Island Studio Tour (250-537-9865), cheese farms and
the Gulf Islands Brewery (250-653-2383).
Executive Chef Marcel Kauer and his team prepare palate-pleasing
dishes with herbs and produce from the property’s gardens and
orchards. I savored the roasted leg of Salt Spring Island lamb with
baby potatoes, Belgian endive and honey mustard. Guests can also
choose from an ample selection of spirits from the Okanagan wine
region. Call 800-661-9255. Web site: www.hastingshouse.com.