Escape to an oasis of luxury and comfort

By Lori Bamber

Just 25 minutes from Kelowna International Airport, naturally spectacular Predator Ridge Resort offers a unique lifestyle proposition: the opportunity to get away from it all and enjoy the best of nature, just minutes from urban conveniences, in homes and neighbourhoods distinguished by luxurious comfort.

With two world-class courses, golf is the main attraction for many. But it’s easy to fall in love with this Okanagan oasis without ever stepping foot on the green.

It’s the perfect home-base from which to explore the area’s many award-winning wineries and farmers’ markets, as well as to enjoy an active outdoor lifestyle that includes downhill skiing at nearby Silver Star or kayaking and wind-surfing on one of the many fresh-water lakes.

On a recent visit, my exhausted husband and I spent much of our first two days just enjoying the views while we caught up with our reading. When we finally roused ourselves to experience some of resort’s 12 kilometres of groomed trails up close, the deer, turtles, songbirds, marmots and the eagles and hawks that the ridge is named for soaring overhead reminded us we’d left the city behind.

Later, at Range, the upscale restaurant at the Predator Ridge Clubhouse, we enjoyed the Okanagan Valley’s acclaimed produce in a beautifully balanced maple-soy-marinated sirloin steak salad and alongside seared halibut with buttery roasted garlic. The service here and throughout the resort is also noteworthy: Okanagan-style warmth combined with professionalism makes every encounter a pleasure.

For more casual fare, In the Cup provides the essential lattes, sandwiches and pastries, along with a lovely outdoor deck to enjoy them on. Those who prefer to cook at least occasionally can find fresh produce from local farms, as well as handmade sauces and vinaigrettes from A Taste of the Okanagan, pasta sauces from The Italian Kitchen Company in Vernon, fresh breads from Cobbs and much more in the newly opened Commonage Market.

The next day, the shuttle delivered me to Predator Ridge’s partner resort, Sparkling Hill, just a few minutes up the way. KurSpa at Sparkling Hill is Canada’s largest spa, and was ranked among “the very best in the world” by Globe and Mail travel-writer Amy Rosen. With the exception of the Cold Sauna, it is open only to Sparkling Hill overnight guests and Predator Ridge overnight guests and residents.

My treatments began with the heavenly Crystal Cranium treatment, which delivered the promised 30 minutes of “deep relief and stress-away facial, scalp and neck massage” with essential oil blends. It was followed by the Rejuvenating Moor Mud Body Wrap, designed to assist the healing of skin conditions, tone and tighten, reduce cellulite, improve circulation, alleviate joint and muscle pain and increase overall immune response.

Deliciously relaxed and pampered, I then spent a wonderful hour in steam rooms scented with eucalyptus and roses, in an ice-chip bath and dry saunas, followed by a dip in what I’m betting is the world’s most beautiful infinity pool, with its panoramic views of Lake Okanagan and the surrounding area.

While we didn’t golf on our visit, the two world-class courses at Predator Ridge draw golfers of all skill levels, including those who wish to improve their game, with coaching from an all-star staff. It is led by Golf Hall of Fame member Richard Zokol, the resort’s executive director of golf development, and LPGA veteran AJ Eathorne, who heads Predator Ridge’s Swing Like a Girl program for women.

On our last day at Predator Ridge, property specialist and long-time resident Clare Radford treated me to a tour of the resort’s current real estate offerings. (See the Tee Times June Issue for more information on making Predator Ridge home.) The obvious craftsmanship, luxuriously comfortable design, beautifully groomed neighbourhoods and stunning views from each window left me dreaming about the day we’ll be able to make this an escape from city life for good.

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 This article was originally published in Tee Times, Predator Ridge’s Resort and Lifestyle Magazine. Republished with permission.