Echo Valley

By Margaret Coventry / September 14, 2011

This award-winning guest ranch and spa, situated in a spectacular natural environment— it lies in a unique, bio-diverse area of the Cariboo Region with four very distinct ecological systems surrounding it—has been drawing nature-lovers and spa aficionados since it first opened 10 years ago. The realized dream of owners and husband-and-wife team, Norman and Nanthawon Dove, Echo Valley is truly a labor of love. The couple (who were on the verge of selling a family business) were looking for a new adventure back in 1989, when they first visited the 160-acre cattle ranch with the idea of purchasing it for a weekend getaway. They were, in a word, wowed by its natural beauty and by the end of that year, had purchased it. By 1995, they had turned Echo Valley into their full-time home. Over the years, it has grown from a ranch house with 180 head of cattle to a sought-after spa destination where one can go to commune with nature via a variety of outdoor adventures and activities that offer a little something for everyone (easy to challenging mountain treks, gold panning, whitewater river rafting, horseback riding, fishing for local rainbow trout, some excellent bird watching, and falconry to name a few!). They were way ahead of the spa trend in 1996, when the couple hired their first Thai massage therapist from Bangkok, creating a unique east-west fusion. Continuing along this theme, they worked with a renowned architect to the Thai Royal family to create North America’s first authentic Baan Thai spa pavilion. This officially opened in 2001, and today you can choose from a multitude of signature Thai spa packages and services, including the traditional luk pra kob hot compress (a blend of medicinal herbs that are wrapped in cotton, steam, and applied to the body as a healing compress), ruesri dat ton (an ancient exercise regimen made up of 80 postures and stretches), and three-step meditation, another ancient Thai practice that ultimately leads to inner harmony. You can also choose from a Western spa menu at The Cariboo Spa that offers a good selection of traditional esthetic and massage services. In addition to all of this, and despite Echo Valley’s many accolades, it remains refreshingly unpretentious and a great getaway for the eco-minded traveler. www.evranch.com

Margaret Coventry
Margaret Coventry

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