By SANAM ISLAM
Formerly a cattle ranch, the Echo Valley Ranch & Spa is in the heart of the Cariboo Mountains cowboy country 400 kilometres northeast of Vancouver, which has a rich history dating back to the gold rush of the 1850s. Horses graze the fields near the ranch, which is nestled in a valley surrounded by the Cariboo Mountains, pine forests, canyons, grasslands and lakes.
The ranch, which opened in 1995, offers guests a unique blend of Western and Eastern experiences that reflect the owners’ British and Thai backgrounds. Guests can choose from 20 rooms that are split among two lodges, four cabins and a Thai-themed building.
For those who like activity, the Dove Lodge includes a games room, lounge and dining room. The Lookout Lodge has larger rooms, some of which include cathedral-style ceilings with lofts. Most private are the cabins, which come with Jacuzzis. Most luxurious? The Baan Thai Suite, with its Thai decorative fixtures, handmade king-sized Thai bed and ornamental woodwork. Most rooms have private decks or balconies that provide stunning views of the mountains.
The ranch grows most of its own food, whipped up into healthy meals by its in-house master chef. During biweekly Western BBQ nights in the summer, guests might tuck into rosemary roasted lamb and slow-baked salmon. The most popular food event, however, is the weekly Thai Night: the Thai staff cook authentic dishes (such as pad Thai and Panang pork) and teach guests traditional Thai dancing.
While there is a Western spa at the ranch, the Thai spa experience should not be missed. Guests love the Thai massages offered by professionally trained Thai therapists, as well as spa packages that combine Thai massage, herbal steam baths and facials.
In terms of activities, a safari in a 4×4 to Fraser Canyon (also known as the “Grand Canyon of the North”) is a must, though you can also go horseback riding, gold panning, hiking, fly fishing and more.
Access to the ranch is either by plane to Kamloops Airport and then a 2.5-hour drive (the ranch sends transport), directly to Echo Valley via private charter plane, by train (VIA Rail or the Rocky Mountaineer) or by car (5 hours from Vancouver).
DETAILS:Echo Valley Ranch & Spa
10635 Jesmond Rd.
Jesmond, BC V0K 1K0
1-800-253-8831 or 250-459-2386
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