Endless winery options and easygoing waterside vibes have long made Kelowna a go-to British Columbian getaway—Vancouverites enjoy the easy four-hour drive, while the international airport welcomes all for myriad activities, both leisurely and adventurous.
Considering its proximity to both the airport and Kelowna’s quaint downtown, the Delta Hotels Grand Okanagan Resort makes a calm home base. Nestled off the boardwalk by a quiet lagoon, the seven-acre property is enveloped in greenery, with 262 guestrooms and 60 vacation homes in the main hub and 70 Royal Private Residence Club accommodations in a separate dwelling for further seclusion. These Tuscan-inspired residences are available with one- to three- bedrooms, equipped with a full kitchen, living room, and lakeview balcony, making for peaceful sunrises and sets—though be sure to visit the club’s rooftop infinity pool, exclusive to Royal Private Residence guests, for an unparalleled view over the lake.
For dinner with a view, visit Oak + Cru, the Grand Okanagan Resort’s new restaurant unveiled last year along with a redesigned lobby as part of a $9.4-million renovation from MackayWong—the same team behind Ivan Reitman’s Montecito restaurant in Toronto. While private wine tastings and paired meals can be arranged in the wine experience centre (also part of the resort’s renovation), Oak + Cru has become a social destination. A rotating cocktail menu mixing house-crafted bitters with the local Okanagan Spirits provide refreshing sips (if available, try the gin- and elderflower-based Oasis) alongside the locally-oriented menu. Perhaps begin with a crisp compressed watermelon salad before indulging in the seared sablefish drizzled with a rich Vancouver Island spot prawn broth.
Endless winery options and easygoing waterside vibes have long made Kelowna a go-to British Columbian getaway.
Indeed, many eateries in town boast homegrown and house-crafted dining options. Locals love brunch at the Bohemian Café, where freshly baked bread, homemade strawberry jam, and back bacon cured in-house star. For lighter fare, house-made charcuterie awaits at the Salted Brick, and refined comfort food—think chicken sausages made with Sterling Springs poultry from nearby Falkland, or rich duck breast from the Fraser Valley’s Yarrow Meadows—is on the menu for dinner at Waterfront Wines. Outside of the downtown core, head south into the valley for wine-paired seasonal meals at Cedar Creek Estate Winery’s Vineyard Terrace, maybe even booking for a tasting at the winery, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year.
After all, what’s a trip to the Okanagan without a winery stop—or five? Riesling and pinot gris reign here, the latter being the most planted white grape in the Valley. A shuttled tour with Okanagan Wine Country Tours, or by helicopter with Valhalla Helicopters, showcases the region’s diverse offerings. The Lakeshore shuttle route might lead you to Kitsch, a hip single-vineyard newcomer, with both a dry riesling and a more traditional sweet option from 2016; the View with a cute canned sparkling wine called Bling; Spierhead Winery, “With five chardonnays, it’s like visiting five different wineries,” says one guide; or Summerhill Pyramid Winery with its namesake structure storing the organic wines to clarify the qualities.
Once you’ve had your fill of vino, take some time to explore the great outdoors. As the largest city on Okanagan Lake, Kelowna offers many ways to enjoy the waters: adventurous folk can rent paddleboards or sea-doos from the downtown marina, while those who prefer a languid approach might rent a yacht from Okanagan Yacht Tours. After conquering the waves, head for the hills. A leisurely trek in Myra Canyon turns historical by following the trestles along the Kettle Valley Railway Trail—a restored early 20th-century railroad now traversable by foot or bikes from Myra Canyon Bike Rentals, which also offers guided tours. A sunset tour during the summer months shows a truly spectacular side of Kelowna: the craggy, tree-lined canyons stretch before verdant vineyards and, in the distance, the twinkle of Okanagan Lake.
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