To me there is no better place in the world than the Pacific North West. The fact that you can smell the ocean air dancing with the aroma of the ancient forests immediately after stepping off the airplane or while driving towards the immense coastline is something that cannot be beat. Pair that with spending your youth on the idyllic island of Salt Spring you can imagine that the PNW calls me back time and time again.
On my last travels west I wanted to do something really special for my mom for Mother's Day. She still resides on Salt Spring and I visit as much as possible but wanted to give her a new experience. An experience at home, a 'staycation' as some call it. There is a magical little establishment tucked away in the Ganges Harbour called the Hastings House Country Hotel which belongs to the esteemed Relais & Chateaux Group, boutique five star accommodations at their finest. We had visited here a few times during my youth for dinner with friends or family, and I had stayed in the Farmhouse East in 2015 but my mom had never stayed so it was settled, we booked a night thanks to the lovely team at the Hastings House.
The Manor House has been standing since it was built in Sussex-style by the English Naval architect Warren Hastings in 1939 after moving to Salt Spring Island from England.
Other historical buildings comprise the Hastings House propery. The Farmhouse was built at the turn of the century and the Hastings Family lived there until they moved into The Manor House. The Farmhouse was later converted into two premier guest suites in 1980.
The Post Cottage was the first Hudson’s Bay post on Salt Spring Island and originally stood where Manor House stands today. The Barn was rebuilt to its original exterior dimensions when the estate was converted into a hotel and now hosts five guest suites and Wellspring Spa.
You can feel the history and a taste of the 'old-world' in every building, which was the perfect setting for me to treat my mom to some relaxation, luxury and outstanding food. We arrived on Sunday afternoon and got settled in our rooms.
We stayed in the Manor West rooms which are located in the main building with 2 bedrooms, a view of the harbour and a small balcony off the back. We then set out to wander the grounds, explore the sculpture path in the forest that borders the property where local artists have placed their art around every turn. We took the little trail down to the private beach and beach combed for shells and watched the boats come and go. We then changed for dinner.
The Hastings House has two dining options; Fine Dining or The Bistro. We opted for The Bistro which has a more casual vibe and were shown out to a beautiful veranda that is enclosed by large glass windows.
The food at the Hastings House is perfection, I love to eat and I especially love to eat farm to plate style. Salt Spring Island is the best of the best for farm to plate dining, often providing organic options. We started with the House Smoked Albacore Tuna, Onion Compote, Caper Berries, the compote may have been the most delicious garnish in life. Mom had the Goat Cheese, Kale, Pecan Ravioli, Roma Tomato Sauce , Basil Pesto and I had Sautéed Pacific Prawns, Organic Garden Greens, Straw Potatoes.
The menu is comprised of primarily local ingredients from fisheries or farms on the island or surrounding areas. Supporting local is something we at Styleista really focus on and cultivate in our fashion community and it is of the same importance in every community, the Hastings House is a prime example of supporting the local food community on the island. Compliments to Chef Kauer and his team!
After dinner we took a stroll and then turned in for the night where I must say, because I live in the city now, I got one of the best sleeps I have had in a long time. There were no sounds of cars or sirens and no bright street lights shining in the windows. Just the sound of birds and wind. Perfection.
We woke the next morning and went to the dining room for the complimentary breakfast, which in my option, because I am a huge breakfast snob, is THE best breakfast at any hotel. You have the option of a full english style breakfast of eggs (from their chickens), toast, sausage/bacon and potatoes or continental or the feature of the day which was in this case, a salmon benedict.
The northern end of the original barn structure houses the Wellspring Spa which pampers guests with local skincare and floral infusions from the garden. My mom and I opted for a flower petal foot bath on the lawn over looking the pond. Wellspring Spa is rated one of the Top 100 spas in North America and I would definitely agree.
Enjoying the Wellspring Spa - Photo Credit @jonsuk
If you are heading to the west coast, maybe you live there already, the Hastings House is a place you must visit. Whether it be to stay the weekend, book a dinner reservation or to stop in for afternoon tea, I am sure you will want to return again and again because of the quality of the rooms, service and food. I am planning for my next stay there to be in the shoulder or holiday season so that I can get super cozy, light a fire and completely get lost in the old world charm that is the Hastings House on Salt Spring Island.