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Backyard Farms (Photo by Backyard Farms)

Resort Review: Spirit Ridge by Hyatt's Unbound Collection

As part of our deep dive into the Napa of the North, BC’s Okanagan Valley, we’re checking out all the things to do in Osoyoos. Today, our favorite things about Spirit Ridge, a local resort that recently got an upgrade from Hyatt.

If you’re going to the Okanagan Valley, we can’t recommend checking out Spirit Ridge enough – and not just because it’s been tricked out substantially in the last year or so.

General Manager Daniel Bibby has been with the resort for years, but when Hyatt came to the table in late 2017 it was a game changer. “We’re the first Unbound Collection by Hyatt property in Canada,” he says, “and we worked closely with the Hyatt team to celebrate our connection to the traditional land of the Osoyoos Indian Band and our local environment.”

He also emphasized how much the team focused on respecting the history of the area. “We work with the Osoyoos Indian Band and its Chief and Council to ensure that Spirit Ridge is authentically representing the importance of our shared land, its people, its culture, and its rich history.” The result is noticeable throughout the resort – gorgeous art by Smoker Marchaund, an Okanagan Nation member based in Washington State, dots the entire property. The food at Mica, the on-site restaurant, is informed and inspired by the Osoyoos Band’s cuisine, and charcuterie includes smoked salmon purchased straight from Band members. The source for the in-room toiletries is also a local Osoyoos member-owned company.

Daniel’s also a wealth of knowledge about the area. We asked him about the five best places in Osoyoos (and beyond) to check out while you’re in town, and he didn’t let us down. His suggestions:

  1. Experience wine country. “There are 280 wineries up and down the valley!”
  2. Learn about First Nations Culture – “One of the truly unique aspects of Spirit Ridge is our connection to the traditional lands of the Osoyoos Indian Band. Visiting Nk’Mip Cutlural Centre is a must – hike the trails through the desert landscape to the Teepee Village and Pit House. Experience a smudging ceremony or the music and dance of the First Nations People.”
  3. Lake Osoyoos – “My choice would be an early morning paddle board along the pristine waters. Lake Osoyoos is also one of the warmest lakes in the country.”
  4. Culinary experiences – “With the evolution of the local wine industry, we’ve seen the migration of many incredible chefs to the area. IF you have a small group looking for a truly authentic farm to fork experience, I would suggest Backyard Farms. Chef Chris Van Hooydonk has transformed a heritage farmhouse into an amazing culinary show kitchen. He grows much of his own produce, bakes his own natural sourdough breads and creates a unique and inspired menu daily with what he sources locally.”
  5. Need for Speed – “Just 15 minutes away from the resort is Area 27, an exclusive motorsport club with a 3-mile track designed by racing icon Jacque Villeneuve. If you’re fortunate enough to take in their race car academy or a track day in an exotic vehicle, it would be an experience you’d never forget.”

But here’s what a resort review really comes down to: was it fun? Guys, it was. The beds are big, the kitchens are nice, there’s a darling coffee shop in the middle of the property, you can roam the vineyards at all hours, there’s a short walk to the lake, and there are two pools. But most of all, everyone there was just really, really nice. That means it’s worth the splurge to book a few nights and hang out there – you won’t run out of things to do, eat, and enjoy, and you’re less than four hours from home. That’s a vacation I can get behind.