Get a taste for the laid-back Okanagan lifestyle at this resort on the lake with a focus on delicious local food and wine, plenty of amusements both on land and water, and a genuinely warm welcome. There’s also a large indoor/outdoor pool with sauna, steam room and hot tubs that overlook the lake and marina. If you’re looking for the ultimate Okanagan lake and mountain views, you’ve found it.
This resort is perched squarely on the lake next to a marina within two minutes walking distance of Kelowna’s cultural attractions including the art gallery and theatres, and lively bars and restaurants along the waterfront. The rugged delights of Knox Mountain Park – the ideal spot for a scenic hike with panoramic city, lake and mountain views along the way – are just a 20-minute walk away.
The resort is set back from the street with an ornate fountain in the driveway. Attentive door staff spring to attention to usher guests into the large chandelier-lit lobby, which looks out through the OAK+CRU bar straight over the lake and pool. Inside, there are plenty of resort-style shops including a gallery, clothes shop and a place to rent scooters. It’s dotted with ping pong tables and cozy spots to sit, and one of the first things you will see in the lobby is the gleaming glass wine cellar lined with some 2,800 bottles of local wine, which can be booked for intimate dinners.
Sunny months welcome in a family-friendly parade of lakeside entertainments, along with wine country tastings and tours. The local mountains and lakes are also ripe for exploring by bike or boat. Winter brings conference season, as well as snow for skiers and boarders to enjoy at the Big White and Silver Star.
From the cheery check-in to friendly servers in the restaurant, polite enthusiasm is offered across the board. A daily $20 (£12) resort fee gives access to cruiser bikes, kayaks, paddle boats and a vast array of games and sports equipment for all ages.
The large indoor/outdoor pool, with sauna, steam room, and hot tubs overlooks the lake and marina, offers a food and drinks service throughout summer. The basement gym – although large and well-equipped – is little uninspiring thanks to the grey décor. The basement also houses the spa, which offers organic Eminence skincare treatments such as pumpkin peel facials ($60/£35) and 90-minute Thai massages ($140/£83).
Daily wine tasting sessions between 4pm-6pm in the beautiful bottle-lined lobby ‘wine cellar’ offer a chance to taste the unique terroir of the Okanagan Valley ($10/£6); make sure you try some sparkling wine and some of the excellent pinot noirs and chardonnays. There is a complimentary airport shuttle and also a shuttle for trips downtown.
The Grand offers 324 pleasingly spacious rooms, some of which sleep up to six. Rooms are split between two high-rise towers and 60 low-rise apartment-style holiday homes, which include fully-equipped kitchens with dishwashers. Although Marriotts usually tend towards a streamlined palette of business-like beiges; the Grand has a jazzier wine country resort vibe with pops of grape, apricot, and green amongst the relaxing creamy white walls and blonde wood.
Sleek but spacious is the order of the day in the gleaming off-white and brown bathrooms, some come with just-big-enough-for-two whirlpool tubs, all have pleasingly powerful showers. Rooms also have coffee machines and free bottled water as standard. The views either take in the lake and marina, or city and mountains.
Guests on the Club floor have access to a private lounge with a complimentary buffet breakfast, as well as non-alcoholic drinks and hors d’oeuvres throughout the day.
The main focus of the lobby area, the OAK+CRU Social Kitchen & Wine Bar, makes for a sociable welcoming space in the heart of the hotel. It’s open all day for breakfast, lunch, happy hour, weekend brunch and dinner, and serves up an impressive menu of mostly local and organic crowd-pleasing dishes with a subtly cheffy touch.
Share plates of prawns swimming in garlic butter with a lick of Vadouvan spice (the French take on a masala blend) ($19/£11), and juicy chicken satay paired with a fruity fresh slaw ($17/£10). Crisp Roman-style pizzas are done in the wood-fired oven; try the Carnivore spiked with pepperoni, smoked chorizo and spicy calabrese ($18/£10.50).
For breakfast, dive into a hearty Canadian bacon benedict with silky citrus hollandaise ($16/£9.50) or keep it light with a blend of six fruits and veggies with a tasty super juice ($6/£3.50). If you’re stopping in for a cocktail, sit at the bar and try a British Columbia take on a classic Negroni with OK Spirits craft gin and local kombucha. Servers are impressively knowledgeable about the BC wines on the menu, so put yourself in their hands and let them pair your meal with something grown just a few miles away.
This is a very family-friendly hotel, from the gift bag packed with crayons, stickers and a toy on check-in to the family entertainment room where there’s ping pong tables, table football and a Nintendo Wii on the big screen. The outdoorsy delights of paddleboats, kayaks and other lakeside treats will keep younger guests happy too.