The term “wellness” is thrown around a lot these days, and its meaning can easily be misconstrued or exploited. Quickly and haphazardly stuck onto marketing campaigns and brand websites, “wellness” has, of late, become less about actually being well, and more about the buzz that comes from associating oneself with the idea.
None of that is true at Sparkling Hill Resort, however. Located in Vernon at the top of a hill that overlooks Okanagan Lake and Predator Ridge Resort, Sparkling Hill is the brainchild of Gernot Langes-Swarovski and, as such, takes its cue from European luxury wellness hotels that are not often seen in North America. Encompassing 3.5 million Swarovski crystal elements throughout the property—namely in the lobby chandelier, but also in the suites and even some of the steam rooms and saunas—Sparkling Hill literally does sparkle, but it also leaves those who stay there feeling fresh-cut as a precious stone.
In terms of “wellness,” Sparkling Hill follows a rather simple manifesto: relax, soak, eat well, sleep even better. The onsite KurSpa, which features the entire La Biosthétique line, from skin care to hair care, is undoubtedly the resort’s main draw. There are seven steam rooms and saunas, each with a different aesthetic, temperature, and humidity level, meaning guests can pop from one to the other in comfortable fashion, smiling at (and sweating out those toxins with) the other happy guests. The “experience shower” is necessary for washing off the aforementioned sweat, but also truly for the experience—different buttons unleash unique smells, sounds, and water temperatures in short bursts (be sure not to skip Tropical). KurSpa also features an indoor saltwater pool, an indoor hot pool, and an outdoor heated infinity pool with incredible views of Vernon’s undulating hills below. Great any time of the day, but especially by the darkness of night, the infinity pool is quintessential relaxation, an easy place to let the hours sweep by. But for leaning back with a book there is also the Tea Room, as well as the Serenity Room with floor-to-ceiling windows showing off Okanagan Lake and the Monashee Mountains. The Kneipp Waterway, a 19th-century European technique that has users stepping between shallow pools of hot and cold water, is said to be great for the lymphatic and nervous systems; the add-on Cryo Cold Sauna (the only one in North America) puts participants in a negative-110-degree chamber for up to three minutes, resulting in increased circulation and a boosted immune system—and, of course, bragging rights. Beyond that, there is also a fitness centre for those who wish to keep up their daily workouts, plus a movement studio offering yoga and meditation.
“We see the benefits and healing energies of the water.”
All of this is not even to touch on the additional spa services, including facials, massages, and an array of detoxifying body scrubs. Really any treatment involving La Biosthétique products is a treat, and a customized facial using the brand’s Tonique Hydratant, Douceur Hydratante, Masque Peeling, and more leaves skin soft, supple, and glowing (no, really). The KurSpa salon also uses La Biosthétique, allowing guests to get haircuts, washes, even colours. The Sparkling Hill and La Biosthétique partnership has been in place for two years, and it is a special one. “Sparkling Hill and La Biosthétique have very deep European roots in the wellness and skin care world,” says La Biosthétique Canada general manager Philip Jung. “When I first came to Canada five years ago, I was right away intrigued by the luxury hotel and beautiful retreat up on the mountain there.” And so, a relationship was formed. The two companies have similar philosophies surrounding customer care and healing with water, and about “being in harmony with nature and offering a concept where the product and the environment and the hotel just match together,” says Jung, who was born in Germany. La Biosthétique was founded in Paris in 1948, and that is where it is still headquartered, although it was eventually bought by a German family; now all products are made in Pforzheim, on the outskirts of Germany’s Black Forest. “The word ‘spa’ comes from the Latin phrase for ‘healing through water,’ and our products at La Biosthétique only use water from the artesian springs in the Black Forest,” says Jung. “We see the benefits and healing energies of the water. The water is enriched with minerals and comes from an artesian spring that is a couple of thousand metres deep and is very clean. And has this positive energy.” It gets bottled up in each product, and the healing benefits are felt in everything from the shampoos to the foaming facial cleansers—even the makeup, such as the tinted face moisturizer, feels fresh, light, and safe, with actual results.
Black2Blond in Kitsilano is a La Biosthétique flagship salon, and is a great place to stop in for a treatment, learn more about the brand, get toes wet. Then, when ready to jump right in, head to Sparkling Hill, a place where wellness doesn’t need quotation marks, where whole-body health means taking things at your own pace and curating an experience that works for you. In the evening, when heads hit pillows (after, perhaps, a delicious wine-paired meal at the resort’s PeakFine restaurant and an in-suite bath overlooking the mountains), the only thing that will glow brighter than the crystals is the smile on each contented face.
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