When was the last time that other than the sound of the birds and the wind in the trees, you enjoyed perfect silence? Located in the pristine wilderness of Southern British Columbia, about five hours from Vancouver and less than three hours from Kamloops, Echo Valley Ranch & Spa offers a cultural experience of almost unparalleled tranquillity. The ranch is the home of owners Norm and Nan Dove, who first opened their doors to guests in 1995. It has since earned gold status from Green Tourism Canada and has become world-renowned for its sustainable practices and excellent service.
With a maximum of 30 guests staying at any one time, the Doves have created an experience fitting of the breathtaking scenery. Activities, such as panning for gold or horseriding will heighten your appreciation of this magnificent wilderness – add in a treatment at one of the world-class spas, and you’ll want to stay forever. Ultimately, the Doves have created a sublime world of luxury, all wrapped up in homely comforts.
Indeed, arriving at Echo Valley Ranch & Spa is like coming home. The last 35 km of the journey is on a well-maintained gravel road. This is part of the adventure and taking it slow means you can fully appreciate the beauty that surrounds you. You may even glimpse a bald eagle soaring high on the thermals.
At Dove Lodge you’ll be greeted by friendly staff in the most relaxed of settings – no reception, no lobby, no key cards, just a hall, a living room and a warm welcome to the home of the Doves.
Once you’ve settled in, you’ll enjoy a tour of the ranch and become acquainted with the treasures of the Canadian wilderness. The exotic roofline of the Baan Thai provides an unexpected twist. This masterpiece was designed by Dr Pinyo Suwankiri, architect to the Thai Royal family and was a gift from Norm Dove to his wife Nan to celebrate her Thai heritage.
For guests, it provides the perfect setting for a Thai yoga session each morning. It also houses the Royal Suite and an authentic Thai Spa, where a heavenly Thai massage awaits. East continues to meet West as you are shown a series of exquisite murals on the facade of the Lookout Lodge, created by Gitxan artist Theo Mahood. Even more remarkable is the indigenous art featured in Room 12 of the Lookout Lodge. This room was identified by artist in residence Michael Blackstock as an “axis mundi”, a spiritual gateway between worlds. He recognised that helpful spirits from by-gone days that had left positive traces and created carvings of their likeness. The Chief, Lynx Woman, and the Warrior can be admired here in Room 12.
You guessed it – dining at Echo Valley Ranch is very much a family affair, with guests sharing two communal dining tables and chatting about the adventures of the day. While some insist that horseriding is the most authentically Canadian adventure at the ranch, others are sure it’s gold panning in the Fraser Canyon along the original Gold Rush route.
However, there is one thing that everyone around the table agrees on: the farm-fresh food is amazing. And it’s something the executive chef and his team are so proud of they named it the 100-metre diet, as many of the ingredients are either grown on the ranch or locally-sourced; the meat is raised in Echo Valley. It’s food that nourishes the body as much as the serenity of the ranch nourishes the soul.
Plan your vacation at Echo Valley Ranch & Spa to include a Tuesday or Friday for an authentic Western Summer BBQ, plus a Thursday to enjoy a traditional Thai banquet and Thai dance and your Canadian cultural odyssey will be complete.
With target shooting, fly-fishing and more available, Echo Valley Ranch & Spa provides a unique opportunity to explore one of the most beautiful places on Earth from a base of relaxed luxury. And, when combined with sumptuous Thai influences, it’s an experience that can only be described as otherworldly. Θ