Glowing natural wood is the common architectural thread which holds together the main ranch building, horses’ corral and cabins in a traditional western-style design alongside the pitch-perfect Thai pavilion, designed by Dr Pinyo Suwankari, architect to Thailand’s royal family.
This ‘East meets West’ blend is a very Canadian celebration of the country’s famous cultural diversity and of the owners’ British and Thai heritage, surrounded by pristine green fields and soaring mountains. It’s unique, a little quirky, and it absolutely works.
This feels far less like a hotel than a stay with friends in their amazing home. The staff, and ranch owners, Nan and Norm are welcoming and warmly hospitable, and over shared meals, at the communal table, it’s easy to feel part of the extended family.
Facilities include a spacious indoor pool, gym, and sauna with views over the mountains, a well-stocked games room with cards and shuffleboard, archery, target shooting in the woods, and a movie and TV room. Also included are daily pre-breakfast traditional Thai yoga sessions, and there are bicycles, helmets and trail maps free of charge. Guests can add on various paid-for experiences such as horseback trail rides through the forest pines, guided nature hikes, a flightseeing trip in owner Norm’s Cessna 206, fly-fishing for rainbow trout, plus gold panning and white water rafting with local outfitters.
The Royal Baan Thai spa has a comprehensive menu of both traditional Thai and western treatments carried out to be talented therapists in the Thai pavilion.
Accommodation in this boutique resort is divided between gleaming log cabins built western-style, and rooms in the main lodge and the more secluded Lookout Lodge.
The cabins are quite simply gorgeous, with comfy leather armchairs and cosy couches, along with a decadent jetted bathtub, and spacious bedroom with crisp white linens, and accents of sage green, mango and chocolate. Sit on the porch and watch the sunset blaze before the stars come out and twinkle in zero light pollution sanctuary.
The entry-level lodge rooms are decked out in soothing accents of gold and cinnamon on white, with balconies overlooking the Cariboo Mountains.
Premium rooms in the Lookout offer wonderful views over Mount Bowen and have plenty of unique First Nations art from the Ranch’s artist-in-residence, Michael Blackstock to enjoy.
For extra special occasions, the Royal Suite in the Thai spa pavilion offers a five-star luxury stay with a private rooftop terrace overlooking the mountains and ranch, a hand-carved king-sized bed, and steam room shower in the bathroom.
Three hearty meals a day – including a glass of local B.C. wine with dinner – enjoyed family-style at a communal table in the main lodge building are included in the daily rate. Breakfast is a rib-sticker of a meal with all the usual sausage, eggs and bacon, along with treats such as pancakes or fresh-baked scones.
Lunch could be a tasty vegetable pasta dish with organic produce from the kitchen garden, and dinner is a multi-course affair with local salmon, organically-raised beef or perhaps a barbecue.
Each Thursday there’s a fantastic buffet of home-cooked Thai favourites including aromatic curries and delicately spiced skewers of meat whipped up by the Thai kitchen team members.
Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and activities included.
Unfortunately, the uneven hilly terrain of the ranch would make wheelchair access tricky at best.
For most of the season a minimum age of 13 is required for all guests, but throughout July and August Echo Valley becomes Kid Central with an all-inclusive kids’ club offering activities such as crafting, pony rides and treasure hunts, plus babysitting so parents can enjoy the spa or time out exploring on horseback. A three-night minimum applies during these months.