Destination: Osoyoos, B.C.

I just had the pleasure of being a guest at the luxurious Walnut Beach Resort.Walnut Beach Resort is a waterfront haven overlooking Lake Osoyoos in sunny South Okanagan,  which is located in Canada’s desert wine country, about a five hour scenic drive from Vancouver.

Osoyoos from a distance

It was originally built to be private condos before deciding to turn the three-storey building into a resort which is run like a stylish boutique hotel.The lakeside rooms are all one or two bedroom designer suites with kitchenette and balcony.  And a most comfortable bed. Our suite was pristine, the service was excellent, the poolside restaurant had a variety of mouth watering dishes or if guests prefer to do their own thing, there are several barbecues set up alongside the pool area for them to use.

Normally there is a private sandy beach but at this time the water was high so most of the sand was covered.

Local things to do include wine tours, championship golf, water sports or just lying by the pool guilty or a swim in the lake.

It’s a chic, comfortable place.

My only complaint is that I wish we stayed there longer.  Which only means I’ll have to go back!

www.walnutbeachresort.com

Tell them I sent you.

Photos: d. king

 

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Travel/healing SPA/ – Two Bunch Palms

Find your “Better Self” at this famous spa/resort with healing waters that have been flowing for over 600 years.two1Nestled within 77 lush park-like acres is the legendary Two Bunch Palms, built in 1919.  A 70 room, hot mineral springs spa resort that offers healing waters, gourmet farm-to-table cuisine, movement & enrichment classes and an award winning spa that offers a “gangster wrap” spa treatment.  You’ll find out why when you read on.two3

two6It comes with panoramic desert and mountain views, meditation ponds, gardens and wildlife, labyrinth and relaxation pool.  But that’s not all…..

It also comes with a fabulous story

Nearly a century ago Two Bunch Palms Resort and Spa welcomed its most elusive visitor even more so than us – Al “Scarface” Capone.  Legend has it the infamous gangster long pursued by the Feds transformed the private Desert Hot Springs, CA property into his winter desert hideout, outfitting his “fortress west” with a network of hidden escape tunnels, a gambling hall, a brothel, and a stone sentry tower for machine gun-toting bodyguards. We saw the outside of a multi-bedroom suite where Capone once slept and narrowly escaped assassination, evidenced by a mysterious bullet hole in the mirror.

The "room" although the stained glass came later.
The “room” although the stained glass came later.

A security guard told us that every weekend for years a man by the name of John Walton, who is the illegitimate son of Al Capone and Gladys Walton, would give talks in the restaurant about his family.  He wrote the books “Gladys and Capone”and “Capone’s Fortress West”.  The books are filled with information about prohibition, the hideaway, action packed roaring 20’s and bootleggers.  Walton is still alive and living somewhere in California.  Perhaps he’s living at Two Bunch Palms although they won’t say for sure.

The resort continues to be a hideaway for the less conspicuous kind, not only for those escaping Chicago’s chilly winters like Capone, but also for business executives needing to unplug, Hollywood celebrities looking for anonymity and people like us, seeking a luxury escape

ducks, turtles and fish a plenty
also ducks, turtles and fish that like to relax

and a nice healthy lunch.

Classes
Classes

Photos: d. king

Travel/Treasures: Dream Destination – Jake’s

When you just want to RELAX with no outside interruptions – the very essence of a perfect vacation…you might want to go to Jake’s Treasure Beach, Jamaica.jakes1

Jamaica is a great place to unwind but when you think of places to travel in Jamaica what usually comes to mind?  Is it fast paced and touristy Montego Bay, Ocho Rios for newlyweds and honeymooners or Negril for miles and miles of white sand beach and many all-inclusives? 20141005_193909

When I travel I love to explore places off the beaten path and find little hidden treasures. If you drive for one hour outside Montego Bay you will find a beautiful tropical countryside with breathtaking views of fishing villages, beaches, centuries old great houses, natural waterfalls and wetlands.  You’ll find the South Coast of Jamaica.20141005_193605

Stumbled upon this stylishly funky hotel/spa by accident while driving along the South Coast. It’s a world away from the island’s  high-pressure resort towns. 20141005_193409 A welcome opposite of Ocho Rios while still maintaining tropical charm with a beautiful low-key seafront setting and lovely gardens. The brightly painted cottages stretch along the water’s edge, in the sleepy settlement of Treasure Beach in south-west Jamaica. Centred on a lovely open-air dining ‘room’, the pool and Dougie’s bar, Jakes has really lovely, raffish Jamaican charm.

The Bar
The Bar

The PROS:

  • Friendly staffers who know every guest by name
  • On-site art classes for everyone, all ages
  • Daily yoga and Pilates workshops
  • One of Jamaica’s best spas
  • Excellent restaurant with fresh, locally produced Jamaican fare.
  • No nearby tourist attractions or nightlife20141005_193718

 THE CONS:                                                                                                                        Remote location on the South Coast                                                                                  No nearby tourist attractions                                                                                                No nightlife                                                                                                                          Coarse black-sand beaches less desirable for swimming                                                    A  hike – two hour drive ($120 by taxicab) from Montego Bay’s airport                                No in-room TV, phone, or Internet

20141005_193534

In a NUTSHELL:

With just 30 hippy-chic cottages in secluded Treasure Beach, Jake’s is a member of Bespoke Hotels, a trendy, luxury hotel group. Guests come to unplug — there’s no phone, Internet, or TV in the cottages (but there are CD players and CD’s in each room with an extensive CD library). The black-sand beaches aren’t Jamaica’s most impressive, but the Driftwood Spa, on-site painting classes for all and yoga/pilates workshops, and excellent locally prepared food make this a particular favorite.20141005_194217And that is exactly why I recommend Jake’s.

And if you’re lucky there may be some other hidden treasures…but we can’t discuss them here.  If you catch my drift wood.

Photos: d. king                                                                                           http://www.jakeshotel.com/