Charles Dickens famously wrote, “Nature gives to every time and season some beauties of its own;” soaking in a mineral bath, amongst towering mountains and lush green forests, beauty presents itself as a ripple across the calm Pacific Ocean before me. In that moment, I’m certain: I have never known tranquility until now.
Tucked in the wild landscape of British Columbia’s Discovery Islands, the Sonora Resort redefines the meaning of “getaway.” A resplendent picture of the True North, the Sonora Resort — ranking 5th for Best Luxury Hotel in Canada — beckons travelers with breathtaking wilderness and endless possibilities for eco-adventure. For me, while impressed by the sounds of the activities offered by Sonora, it wasn’t the first-class fishing (thought it is one of the country’s finest fishing resorts…and I do love salmon), or the scenic kayaking tours (while I would love to see a cute otter or majestic whale up close) that inspired my trip, it was something a little more…chichi that attracted me. I was looking to have a girl’s weekend away with my sister before getting married, and it was the serenity of the resort’s Island Currents Spa that ultimately led me into the woods. And while I wasn’t expecting to encounter any Discover Channel worthy scenes while treating myself to a pedicure, as I learned during my visit, at the Sonora Resort, it all goes back to Mother Nature — even when “it” is a day at the spa. It’s no wonder the resort made National Geographic Traveller magazine’s (UK) list for best luxury travel destinations.
A trip to the West Coast’s outer islands may not be the usual glam getaway that pops to mind when a girl plans her dream bachelorette party, but if “glam” to you translates into 5-star treatment — in this case, a variety of which only a Relais & Châteaux property could deliver — than put away your heels, pack a pair of hiking shoes and book the Girls’ Getaway Package, Sonora awaits.
The first taste of opulence comes in the form of a private helicopter ride courtesy London Air Services from Vancouver, followed shortly by the clink of champagne flutes upon arrival and a few glasses of wine back in the comfort of our suite, while watching some seals flop about on the rocks before heading down to dinner. (FYI: The mini bars come well stocked with top shelf wine and liquor.) More toasts are enjoyed come dinner: a three-course farm-to-table feast prepared by Chef Terry Pichor that leaves my sister and I giddy with satisfaction.
In the morning, we wake up ready to indulge in a day at the spa, but first: yoga — a chance to work off some of the delicious calories we consumed the night before…and an excuse to indulge in a few more at breakfast. We booked an all-inclusive package after all, and how can you say no to a gourmet breakfast of Belgian Waffles with macerated berries and vanilla mascarpone, when it’s included?
By the time our spa appointment begins, we’re already well on our way to melting into jelly (mostly because after breakfast, we lounged in the conservatory and shared a pot of tea), more relaxation sounded almost greedy to us at that point. Of course, spoiling oneself is what a girls’ weekend is all about, so we yield and accept that for the next few hours, there will be no refusing pampering.
With Valmont — Switzerland’s premiere skincare brand — behind the spa menu here, guests are invited to select from a variety of scientifically advanced signature therapies and treatments, each one promising to rejuvenate body and spirit. Looking to give myself a bit of a beauty tune-up before walking down the aisle, I opt for a head-to-toe treatment: the Elixir des Glaciers.
The treatment begins outside, sat in front of a picturesque mountain setting beside my sister. We’re invited to place our feet in warm basins of salt-infused water, and then asked a few questions by the esthetician to help custom-tailor our treatments.
Hoping to be a blushing bride, I request that we concentrate on putting the glow back in my cheeks. For this, the esthetician suggests an application of Valmont’s Exfoliation Vitalisante, after washing and toning the face with the brand’s Crème Fluide Nettoyante cleansing emulsion (lightweight and ideal for all skin types) and its Tonique Vivifiant (which helps serums and moisturizers absorb during your regular cleansing routine) respectively. Formulated to revitalize and tone by removing dead skin cells and impurities, as well as stimulating cell renewal, the exfoliant’s active algae are well-worth adding to your weekly beauty regime.
For day-to-day glow renewal, try Valmont’s Reviving with a Biological Scrub product, a unique formula that starts as a exfoliating gel, working to remove dead skin cells, and then transforms into a cleansing milk substance when splashed with water, gently washing away impurities.
Once my skin has been prepped and primed, it’s time to pull out the miracle worker: the Regenerating Mask Treatment. Made with a 100 percent collagen, the treatment acts as a “biological face-lift,” providing immediately visible results, endowing skin with suppleness and radiance. Hello blushing bride!
Having revitalized my complexion, the esthetician focuses her expertise on rejuvenating my body with a full exfoliation and customized massage. I emerge relaxed and reinvented, complete with firm and radiant skin. The secret to the spa’s exceptional body treatment? A product from its namesake line, the Elixir des Glaciers Votre Corps. A concentrated cream, its rich formula improves overall skin tone, giving it a firmer appearance.
Wrapped in rich creams, neither my sister nor I wanted to take the plunge into the spa’s outdoor mineral pools quite yet. We would save that for the following afternoon, and end up almost missing lunch because we didn’t want to leave. In the end, the thought of the dining room’s Parsley & Heirloom Mint Gnocchi with wild mushrooms, fava beans, English peas and a fried duck egg, ended up being more than enough to finally motivate us to leave the luxury of the mineral pools.
By the last day of our trip, my sister and I were newly converted outdoors women: thanks to the Sonora Resort, we learned that nothing goes quite as well with a windbreaker and a pair of hiking shoes than radiant skin and a belly full of toothsome culinary delights — it’s just how Mother Nature intended it.