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Surrounded by the Rocky Mountains, in the Kootenay Rockies, British Columbia this relaxed resort lies on natural hot springs. The resort is named after the town and is located 1.3 km from downtown Fairmont Hot Springs.
While it's not a luxury resort it is very comfortable and offers a variety of room options including Honeymoon Suites and the Family Suites. The suites come with free Wi-Fi, mini-fridges, and Keurig coffeemakers. Some have kitchenettes, balconies, TVs, fireplaces and/or whirlpool tubs. There are also cottages and cabins with pull-out sofas.
Our room was on the main floor in the 400 section which was wonderful because we could walk out from our back door and access the pools, the ice cream shop, or the cafe. It was very close to the guest pool and had easy access to the other restaurants. The kids enjoyed playing on the grass or running over to purchase their ice cream.
As its name implies, Fairmont Hot Springs Resort is home to natural mineral hot spring pool. The pools here are considered to be the largest in Canada and filled with naturally heated mineral water. While in the pools, you are treated to stunning views of the Purcell Mountains range.
The feature that I liked most about the pools is that there are three different pools with different temperatures. The kids loved swimming in the pool that was 32°C, while I enjoyed soaking in the hotter pool at 39°C. The pools are also huge, and there is even a diving area.
The three public pools are open to everyone, but if you want a bit more privacy, or you are visiting for a couples retreat, you can spend your time at the guest only pool.
Since it's such a busy family resort and hundreds of people flock to the pools everyday, I wanted to find out more about how the pools are maintained and where the water comes from. I had a guided tour of the resort, and one of the managers explained the water starts at the top of the Fairmont Mountain Range, the water originates as rain or snow and seeps into the Rockies. As it heats up, the mineral water is eventually forced back up to the surface at a much higher temperature and Fairmont Hot Springs Resort collects the extremely hot (up to 48°C) water in collection boxes above the pools. This water in then mixed with cooler natural spring water to get it to the lower temperatures in the pools.
Traveling as a family, I loved that this resort had something for everyone. We saw lots of families with older kids, a few wedding parties, and couples getting away without the kids.
I loved that Fairmont Hot Springs Resort totally get family travel. They understand that when traveling with young children, the adults also want to feel like they are on vacation. I love the fact that they offer a kids camp at a reasonable rate, so that the parents can enjoy the facilities such as a day of golf, spa, or some of the excursions offered. There is also a base camp with bouncy castles, regularly scheduled organized crafts, treasure hunts and bingo nights as well as ongoing amenities such as mini golf, volleyball, tennis and equipment rental. Happy kids makes for ecstatic parents.
If you love to golf, this is your paradise. Fairmont Hot Springs Resort has three golf courses, The Riverside, The Mountainside, and a family course called the Creekside. They also have a golf learning centre and a huge driving range. According to the resort, they have an average season of over 200 days.
We had the pleasure of playing the Mountainside which was a real treat. The juxtaposition of the mountains on one side and the river on the other made playing on this course a dream. In fact, I would pay just to walk around on the course, who even need to golf, just grab a drink and go for a walk - it's that stunning. If you have never golfed in The Rockies before, and you get a chance, go for it.
The spa at Fairmont Hot Springs is a hidden gem on the property and worth a visit. I had a Pedicure & I purchased the Thai Massage while there (luckily, they were able to fit me in) and received fantastic service. The massage was so relaxing; I fell asleep. My esthetician was very professional, and my pedicure was a full spa pedicure including paraffin wax.
I also checked out the Sauna, Hot & Cold plunge pool, and I looked in at the gym. Had I not been gone most of the day after golfing, lunch, and the spa services I would have stayed longer in the private guest pool, but I thought the kids would have missed me. I got back to hear about their day which they were still excited about and then ran off to the pools with daddy. They wanted to go back to the camp the second day, but we had a full itinerary. It's not often that my kids want to spend an entire day at a kids camp while we are on vacation.
Photo courtesy by Fairmont Hot Springs Resort
The ability to book our excursions right from the hotel was very convenient. We were booked into the Columbia River Kayak tour with the kids. Hubby & I were in our own kayaks, the 5-year-old went with one of the guides, and our 9-year-old was in her own kayak, this was not her first time in a kayak on her own, but the longest she was in a kayak on her own. The 5KM river tour was a little different from kayaking on a lake because of the currents, so we were glad to be with a guide. We all got some tips and lesson about kayaking on a river, and our 9-year-old was a champ. It was fun to do this activity with her, and she her feeling confident about trying something new, and while allowing her to be independent. The BC Rockies Adventures team were all wonderful, they were very experienced, taught us about the area, and pointed out wildlife to us along the way. I feel so much more comfortable going out on a kayak after this experience.
While we were there for a summer vacation, I could see that this place would be a wonderful place to visit in Winter. The Rockies is a popular winter getaway and I wanted to find out about visiting with the kids for some snow therapy. The slopes are geared towards families with little ones, and they also have the only tube park in the valley. Considered to be the "most exciting ten seconds in the valley." According to Fairmont staff, over 3800 people have slid down the track last year, and they take pride maintaining the slopes, putting in over 80 man hours per week maintaining the slopes to provide safe, exhilarating and fast tubing experiences.
In all, there are eight restaurants, three golf course, a ski area, a tube park, a spa, a business centre and free parking. I highly recommend heading over to the restaurant by Mountainside golf course to indulge in their huge $5 breakfast.