I recently came back from a weekend of luxury, staying at Hastings House on Salt Spring Island in British Columbia. I’ve heard Salt Spring Island as being described as magical again and again. I could not appreciate this description until I had arrived, and settled in. When I was on Salt Spring Island, it felt like the rest of the world was on pause. Stressful events and pressing to do lists simply went away. All that mattered was what we were enjoying and what we were going to do with the day.
Upon arrival, we were greeted at the float plane by the staff and transported to the property. Kelly McAree, the general manager gave us a tour of the grounds and some of the history of the estate. One of the interesting facts that he shared was that The Post building was the first Hudson’s Bay trading post on Salt Spring Island.
We settled in and went to explore the grounds. We spent time in the garden, looking at the blooming flowers and growing plants, walking into the fields and into the moss-covered forest. Along the way, we discovered sculptures with little note cards identifying the name and artists. It’s a lovely and easy walk. There is something about being surrounded by trees and not seeing any other houses or people, that makes me smile.
In the afternoons, my friend and I would head back for afternoon tea, grab scones and relax. I curled up and enjoyed reading local books about the Gulf Islands, the inn’s cookbook and the history of Hastings House. Although I can imagine spending hours in the Manor, escaping the rain and relaxing by the fire, the outdoors called to me. A little bit of rain doesn’t keep me away.
We decided to indulge in dinner on our first night there, we didn’t regret that choice. Our meal was prepared by executive chef, Marcel Kauer with sous chef, Nick Trehearne. These men know what they are doing and try to use as many ingredients grown on the grounds and island as they can. Their menus are selected and printed out daily. A lovely touch was including our names on the menu. It was a tough decision but I started with roma tomato,roast garlic and gin bisque, creme fraiche and selected a herb crusted pacific halibut, tarragon risotto, beurre blanc for my entrees. It was a meal to savour slowly as each bite gave you a slightly different combination of flavours, delicious. When it came time for dessert, we couldn’t decide between the options. We split an island blackberry crumble with home made vanilla ice cream and a chocolatissimo with fresh berries and Chantilly cream. We didn’t finish our meal until after nine and enjoyed every moment. I couldn’t recommend a better place for a luxurious meal. This is the way luxurious meals are meant to be, attentive service, fireside and and makes you want to come back for more again and again.
Saturday came and the early riser in me wanted to get out and explore. When I went to open the door, warm muffins were waiting outside. My original plan was to save them for a snack later but I couldn’t resist the smell. I enjoyed the warm muffins while relaxing on the patio, waiting for my friend to get ready for breakfast. After heading down for breakfast in a dining room overlooking the harbor we went to explore one of the highlights on Salt Spring, the farmers market. If you are in town and the market is going on, don’t miss it.
It was tough leaving Hastings House on Sunday, I wanted to move into the Heather Suite, soak in their tub and enjoy the property more, but our adventure on Salt Spring was over until next time. The accommodations and the service are the best that I have ever experienced. I’ll miss walking around the grounds and all the little details that made this weekend extra special.
My stay at the Hastings House made me realize how important relaxing time away can be. I don’t have to spend my vacations packing in everything I want to do, sometimes relaxing and savoring the free time is what is needed. Now how to I apply that important lesson to my everyday life.
Disclosure: My stay at Hastings House was complimentary (excluding dinner, tips and a portion of my spa treatment) due to winning the GLOW Salt Spring Island Giveaway by Miss604.com. The Salt Spring Christmas Committee, Hastings House Country House Hotel as well as Salt Spring Air, and the Chamber of Commerce sponsored the contest. I was not expected to provide coverage. Thank you everyone who made this trip happen and for providing me with a luxury experience.