Our Weekend at Hastings House on Salt Spring Island


Monday, May 23rd, 2011 — 4:16pm PST
Comments 12

Following a quick pit-stop at home to sleep and re-pack after a trip to the Cariboo, John and I were off to Salt Spring Island for the weekend. This member of the Gulf Island chain in the Georgia Strait, between Vancouver Island and the mainland of BC, is a favourite destination of ours (that we fell in love with years ago).

Saltspring Island from the air

Salt Spring has rolling hills, lush meadows, evergreen forests, groves of Arbutus trees, rocky seaside cliffs, and more artisans, artists, and farmers than you can count (among a full-time population of about 10,500). From Tourism BC: “Artists and young neo-hippies, retired millionaires and restaurateurs, trades people and boot-clad farmers, writers and musicians all happily co-exist on what the Washington Post once called ‘the coolest island in Canada.'”

Groves of Arbutus trees

While we usually take the ferry over to the Island (departing from Tsawwassen) we hitched a ride with Saltspring Air from Coal Harbour, just outside the Westin Bayshore. After a quick 30-minute flight, we were already landing on the water in Salt Spring’s Ganges Harbour.

Flying to Ganges, B.C. on Salt Spring Air

We were invited out to Hastings House a few times last summer for their Chefs Across the Water series and were never able to make it. They were kind enough to host us this time around and a staff member met us at the float plane dock to drive us up to the inn, which is just a few minutes away.

Hastings House Hotel photowalk, Salt Spring Island, B.C.

Hastings House was originally built by English Navel officer Warren Hastings in 1940. His family owned the estate until 1980 when he sold it to a couple from Alberta to turned it into the resort we see today, perched on top of a hill overlooking Ganges.

Hastings House, Ganges, B.C.

Hastings House Hotel photowalk, Salt Spring Island, B.C. Hastings House Hotel photowalk, Salt Spring Island, B.C.

Hastings House Hotel photowalk, Salt Spring Island, B.C.
Photo credit: John Bollwitt on Flickr

The estate currently consists of several buildings, from green houses, cottages, farmhouse, and a barn to the Manor House (where the famous dining room is located), and several hillside suites where ours was located.

Hastings House Hotel photowalk, Salt Spring Island, B.C.

Hastings House, Ganges, B.C. Hastings House, Ganges, B.C.

Hastings House, Ganges, B.C. Hastings House, Ganges, B.C.

Hastings House, Ganges, B.C.
Photo credit: John Bollwitt on Flickr

On our second day, we borrowed two bikes from Hastings House (they have half a dozen for guest use, including helmets) and we set out for Vesuvius Bay where we got our fill of our favourite fish and chips at Seaside Restaurant.

Vesuvius Bay

Braving the non-stop hills and inclines, we ended up cycling 28 kilometers that day, returning the bikes about 4 hours later. Well sunned and sore, we walked down to the Salt Spring Saturday Market the following day to pick up a selection of bath bombs from Saltspring Soapworks. We then promptly put them to use in our suite’s large soaker tub.

On our last morning, we took to the gravel and bark mulch path that circles the property, which follows a trail of public art on display.

Hastings House Hotel photowalk, Salt Spring Island, B.C.

Hastings House Hotel photowalk, Salt Spring Island, B.C. Hastings House Hotel photowalk, Salt Spring Island, B.C. Hastings House Hotel photowalk, Salt Spring Island, B.C.

Hastings House Hotel photowalk, Salt Spring Island, B.C.

Hastings House Hotel photowalk, Salt Spring Island, B.C. Hastings House Hotel photowalk, Salt Spring Island, B.C.

Hastings House Hotel photowalk, Salt Spring Island, B.C.

Hastings House Hotel photowalk, Salt Spring Island, B.C. Hastings House Hotel photowalk, Salt Spring Island, B.C.

Hastings House Hotel photowalk, Salt Spring Island, B.C. Hastings House Hotel photowalk, Salt Spring Island, B.C.

Hastings House Hotel photowalk, Salt Spring Island, B.C.
Photo credit: John Bollwitt on Flickr

Aside from the hillside meadow dotted with sheep, the edible flower gardens, the sculptures, and the unobstructed harbour views, our favourite part of Hastings House was meal time. After a morning hamper was delivered to our suite each day including fresh-baked muffins and coffee, we could then head down for breakfast (included with your stay) which was served with farm-fresh eggs.

Hastings House

Breakfast at Hastings House Breakfast at Hastings House

Hastings House

The three-course dinner was perfectly paired with local Island and BC wines thanks to Executive Marcel Kauer and Maitre’d Michael Coughlin.

Dinner at Hastings House

Dinner at Hastings House
Amuse bouche: Free-range chicken and quinoa with Sumac Ridge Brute

Dinner at Hastings House Dinner at Hastings House
(Left) Mushroom & caramelized onion bisque with Stag’s Hollow Sauvignon Blanc
(Right) Local spot prawns with Garry Oaks Pinot Gris

Dinner at Hastings House
Crusted Halibut, fiddlehead ferns, grilled corn with Lake Breeze Pinot Blanc

Dinner at Hastings House
Lemon cream tart with Quail’s Gate Optima

If you have the opportunity to visit Salt Spring Island one day, take a walk around the harbour, visit the market, do a studio tour, go for a hike and explore hidden coves, visit one of the many farms, or snuggle up and enjoy the scenery. You can determine your level of activity and we made sure to take advantage of the great outdoors as well as the comforts of our hillside suite. Whether you get to the Island by float plane, boat, or ferry, it’s an experience that is not to be missed.

You can view the rest of our photos in John’s set or my set on Flickr.

Disclosure: Review
I was not paid by any publication, individual or business to write this post. We were guests of Hastings House however all other expenses were our own.

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12 comments

  1. kickpleat says:

    I love Salt Spring and I’ve biked there before – hilly! Looks like a wonderful get away!

  2. Raul says:

    Beautiful post and photos, Rebecca! I love Salt Spring Island, and after I visited earlier this year, I think I left part of my heart there.

    As for your host, he was probably Kelly McAree, the general manager of Hastings House. And he is a total sweetheart and an amazing host, as is his wife.

  3. Sherri says:

    I only spent an hour then while on the mail run with Harbour Air a few years ago. Looks like a weekend stay is in order… Great pictures!

  4. Rebecca Bollwitt says:

    @Raul No, we met Kelly earlier and he was certainly not our server in the dining room. I’ve already emailed him to get the right name though.

  5. Philip says:

    I am so pleased you had fun, and you got some great shots, i hope Harold the pilot on your flight tweeted you well. Thanks for coming over and please come again soon. Best Philip.

  6. Tyler says:

    Loving your trip reports more and more and the photography definitely is awesome at showcasing them properties etc!

  7. Robert says:

    Oh wow, beautiful photos of such a beautiful treasure! I haven’t been to Salt Spring since I was a child, but it certainly looks like I’m overdue for a visit. If only next weekend could be a long weekend too 😉

  8. Sharon says:

    It has been at least a decade since I stayed at Hastings House. I am soooooo jealous. Happy to see the food continues to be fabulous and the accommodations utterly indulgent.

  9. Helene says:

    Great photo-reportage that really shows off the diversity of the island. Salt Spring really does offer good accommodation choices for all budgets, and the scenery is gratis. Thanks for doing such a super job on this post, I’m sure you’ve whet the interest of many 😉

  10. Mae says:

    Wow, it looks so idyllic. I really enjoy your local travel posts. You have the best job!

  11. jeff says:

    Beautiful pictures….

  12. victor says:

    i was there last year for chef’s across the water! absolutely amazing… the food, and the morning muffins – to die for! beautiful pictures!

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