Treat Your Body Right with a Healthy Getaway
Photos by Don Weixl and Katherine Surridge
with pampering perks, fitness classes galore and spa sensational cuisine,
a visit to The Hills Health Ranch in British Columbia's Caribou promises
a lot more than just a great escape. It offers guests opportunities
for wellness and as my sister and I find out during our recent visit,
what better offering could there be?
The Hills Health Ranch Offers Many Activities & Amazing Views
those hips, ladies" she demonstrates, "and shimmy to the left."
Although this action-packed combo appears to be a piece of cake for our belly
dancing instructor, it is soon obvious that we will need more that a weekend visit
at The Hills to master this move. Gyrating is just one of the many activities
that takes us down the road to wellness, and over the next two days our plates
overflow with other offerings. In addition to squeezing our muscles in Aquafit,
we stretch them in Pilates, rejuvenate them in step class and build them with
For the outdoor enthusiast, there's horseback riding, mountain biking and canoeing
just to name a few. Self-wellness is what it's all about, and although
my under-exercised body undoubtedly questions my motives, the resulting euphoria
affirms my actions.
Situated amongst twenty thousand heavenly acres,
this holistic haven in BC's Caribou is the result of Pat and Juanita Corbett's
dream come true. Since 1985 they have altered many lifestyles and have welcomed
numerous returning guests, with their offering of specialized programs to meet
individual needs. This pampering break from the mundane and ordinary may also
be used as a kick-start towards achieving a healthier living regime.
our idyllically poised log-hewn accommodation we feel totally connected with Mother
Nature while gazing out over grassy meadows that lead to rolling hills of poplar
and pine. When snow-coated, the surrounding terrain is a wonderland for cross
country skiers and snowmobilers. For us, the barren trails permit invigorating
hikes over hills and valleys. Led by Dwaine, our skilled and knowledgeable guide,
the pace is kept at a swift clip in order to boost our heart rate and burn unwanted
calories. While dodging babbling brooks and occasional cow patties, we sight a
few bovine beauties and soaring bald eagles. My sister's love affair with nature
begins, and ironically 'the hills' literally provide her with the ultimate pampering
she is looking for. My pampering, on the other hand, is waiting after the trek,
an hour and a half later!
A fragrance trail wafts from sixteen pleasure-pleasing
rooms and I am lured to these blissful havens like mice are to the Pied Piper.
The total body massage has never been more in need and under the penetrating fingers
of talented Flo, my wobbly muscles melt like butter. She starts with each toe
and works upwards, loosening every tight knot, releasing pent-up tensions and
sends me off to la la land in the process.
"Our Hills philosophy is to provide
the utmost in nurturing and caring," she shares, and after this fifty-minute
work out session, I know she is following this principle to code!
De-stress with a Facial
think that I would have had my fill of tactile pleasure after this heady sensation
but I am now on a roll. And a visit to The Hills would just not be complete without
experiencing one of their famous facials. Created from wild rosehips right off
the ranch this de-stressing experience creates a soothing and calming effect.
After being exfoliated, cleansed, essentially oiled and moisturized with a camomile
mask, do I feel like a new woman? You bet! In my transcendental state I meander
down to mealtime, promising to book a hydrotherapy soak on my next visit.
In addition to a la carte options, guests may choose to pre-select their
choice of spa or healthy ranch cuisine during the length of their stay. Although
I opt for the higher fat fare, after taste testing my sister's spa creations,
I wouldn't have felt deprived with the caloric restrictions. After all chicken
in phyllo complemented with orzo pilaf is hardly diet food — unless you consider
its content of a mere 320 calories! The well-trained chefs take pride in creating
appetizing low fat choices and a true test to the Hills weight loss formula comes
at the end of your stay when you have the option of comparing your pre-weight
to your post Hills' one.
the last night, we dine out at the adjacent 1871 Lodge, and although the menu choices
are lower in fat than traditional fine dining, you'd never know it
by the flavor. Five star Swiss-trained chef, Stephan Wittmer deserves credit. His fabulous creations include 'all you can eat fondue', a hot-rock 14
ounce T-bone and our choice, the Chef's special. Delightfully pan-seared, the halibut doused in a flavorful yellow beet and peppercorn sauce certainly
didn't taste like a Weight Watchers meal. Nor did the decadent chocolate
mousse dessert that followed.
weekend winds down with an authentic hayride to Willy's wigwam where we sip mulled
wine and sing favourite melodies around the blazing campfire. "Sit back and
relax during the ride," Joe, our wrangler, calls out while steering his husky
equine pair under the starlit skies. We follow his command, knowing that we
are doing our minds and bodies a whole lot of good. After all, that's what a visit
to The Hills Health Ranch is all about.
Hills Health Ranch is easily reached from Vancouver by rail, road, or air.
More info: www.spabc.com