Have you ever imagined what it might be like if Swarovski designed a hotel?
Imagination becomes reality.
On the top of a small mountain overlooking Vernon, British Columbia–decked out in over 3.5 million crystals–sits the aptly named Sparkling Hill Resort.
Sparkling Hill screams Swarovski from the moment you pull up the front lane way. Shimmering pillars line the drive, and first views of the main lobby are scenes of what appear as giant-sized geometric crystals worthy of concert halls.
Entering the front doors is no less impressive. Your eyes will automatically sweep from the dazzling reflections on the floor in front of you, to the wide open space and the floor to ceiling window that streams in the glistening sun, finally training on the decadent waterfall of sparkle spilling from the ceiling above.
It was powerful, dramatic and truly remarkable.
My room was no different. I dropped my bags at the door, but just kind of stood in awe for a few moments, admiring the elegant décor.
A large triangular instalment welcomed me in the entrance, and more diamond shaped lights beamed across the ceiling toward the twinkle lights that looked like stars in the night.
Then I saw what ended up being one of my absolute favourite things in the Okanagan Valley; the bathtub.
I didn’t think twice. Before I even looked around the rest of the room, I had turned the water on to fill up the tub, and hopped in.
This was my view:
It was a perfect start to a visit in the Okanagan Valley.
The rest of the Resort followed suit. I enjoyed a delicious meal in the PeakFine Restaurant, tried out the Kneipp Waterway at KurSpa, and relaxed in the sun by the Valley-view infinity pool. It was serene.
-110°C Cold Sauna
While Sparkling Hill and KurSpa are everything that you could ask for in a Resort & Spa, they also have one innovative feature that is the only one in North America; a Cryotherapy Cold Sauna.
The Ice Lab is meant to ease joint pain, treat athletic injuries, and give your immune and circulatory systems a boost at -110°C (-166°F).
Let me give you a little something to think about..
The lowest natural temperature ever directly recorded at ground level on Earth is -89.2 °C (-128.6 °F), at the Soviet Vostok Station in Antarctica, on July 21, 1983.
-110°C doesn’t exist naturally on Earth, and there is literally nowhere colder than inside that Ice Lab on the planet.
I went in wearing a bikini.
When you arrive for your appointment, the Cold Sauna team will dress you up in special socks and shoes, along with a mask, headband and mittens. These are to protect your fingers and toes because the skin temperature drops to 5°C. But, the more bare skin for the rest of the body, the better.
After a quick blood pressure check, you enter the first chamber at a balmy -14°C, and then make your way into the second chamber at -52°C. Finally, it’s time for the third chamber at -110°C.
I skipped into the room and let out a shrill “OHHMYGODD!”
It was easily the coldest temperature I had ever felt and almost immediately started hyperventilating. It was a shock to the system and I wasn’t prepared for it to hit my lungs so hard. I collected myself, breathed slowly through the mask, and began walking in circles.
I started to relax as Bob Marley’s “Don’t worry, be happy” played from the speakers above my head, and danced around to the joyful tune.
I imagined I was in Jamaica.
A voice over the speaker let us know how long we had been in the chamber:
Oh god, this is the longest thirty seconds of my life.
What?! It’s only been a minute?!
1 minute and 30 seconds.
OHHMYGODDD, are they kidding? They must be kidding.
I sure could go for another bath right about now.
2 minutes 30 seconds.
Shut up Bob Marley.
YUS GET ME OUT OF HERE–BUT ALSO I FEEL KIND OF AMAZING.
I exited on some sort of natural high. I was colder than I had ever been in my life, but I was shivering with more than a chill.
Check out the video:
It was intense.
I spent the rest of my time at Sparkling Hill simply relaxing and enjoying the property.
This meant sleeping in, taking another bath in the bathtub of the Heavens, lounging in the sun, warming up by the pool, and exploring the serenity rooms of KurSpa.
Here are some more of my favourite photos of Sparkling Hill:
This trip was made possible by Destination BC.
All thoughts & opinions are my own.
What’s the coldest temperature you’ve ever felt?