What We Love
- Chef Marcel Kauer’s stellar menu and dedication to local, seasonal ingredients
- Luxury treatments in the spa, or in front of your room’s fireplace
- A Relais & Chateax property
What To Know
- Children 11 and under are not permitted in the dining room for dinner service
- The island is fairly large; if you want the convenience of a car, rent one on the mainland and take a car ferry over (be sure to make car ferry reservations in advance)
- The hotel is popular for weddings
- These are historic buildings, and WiFi service in guestrooms can be sporadic
- Pets are permitted for a fee of $50 to $100 per stay, depending on the room type
- Free WiFi
- Handicap Accessible
- Parking On Site
About two hours by ferry from Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal in Vancouver, Hastings House rests at the end of a leafy, winding drive on British Columbia’s picture-perfect Salt Spring Island. Overlooking the marina from one side, it’s bordered on the other by a long meadow filled with grazing sheep. Hastings House’s sprawling collection includes a Manor House, cottages and other historic buildings turned into luxury accommodations. Seven Deluxe Hillside Suites are housed in a 1997 building that mimics the property’s barn, which has a batten-wood and shake-shingle aesthetic. Each is uniquely furnished and decorated, but each has heated slate floors, a fireplace and a bathroom with a large soaking tub and a separate shower. The focal point of each suite is the view of Ganges Harbor through the expansive picture windows or from the private balcony. Expect fresh muffins delivered to your door each morning, as well as a full English breakfast in the dining room. Dinner is in the rustic dining room in the Manor House; the menu, which changes seasonally, incorporates products from the island’s many farmers and artisanal foodmakers.
In the Area
Salt Spring Island has long been a respected colony for artists, so head out on a self-guided tour to check them out; there are established art routes to help you navigate the many galleries and workshops. If birdwatching is your thing, you’re in luck. Salt Spring Island is home to a multitude of songbirds, birds of prey and waterfowl. Rather do something a bit more romantic? Request a gourmet picnic basket from the inn, add a bottle of wine from one of the island’s vineyards and head for one of the many secluded beaches. For active types, the island offers prime hiking and cycling, or you can sail and paddle the waters; day or moonlight kayaking is available (book in advance).
How to Get There
My husband and I recently spent two nights here as part of a group biking trip. It's a lovely older hotel in a beautiful setting. I do not know what we paid as it was part of our package. I do know that it was expensive and for the high price the service really should have been better. My sons arrived before us and their room was not ready until 5 PM. We also had requested two separate beds. Somehow this was missed and it was not until after we arrived and checked our rooms that someone came to take care of that. The rooms are very nice and well appointed. The sheets, towels and blankets top quality. Two things account for the 3 star review. First while most likely not the fault of the hotel there was construction going on in the water right outside our room. This continued until around 7 - 8 PM and made sitting on the terrace attached to our room very unpleasant. Maybe these rooms should not be occupied during the time the work is taking place. Second and unacceptable is that our toilet broke around 8 PM. The chain snapped and the toilet would not flush. We called the front desk and received no answer. My husband walked over to discover they were closed and found an emergency number. We called the number and never received a response,. Eventually we called our tour guide who came over and somehow used a paper clip to connect our chain and got the toilet to flush. Cudos to our great guide, but that is really bad service on behaf of the hotel. When I checked out and let them know what happened they told me that everyone goes home at 8 and they did not seem too sorry about it. If you have an emergency number why would you not have a response? Really for a hotel of this caliber this should have been handled better.
We returned to Hastings House after 7 years as we wanted to treat our parents to a stay at this lovely property. If anything, the property is even more pretty and well-run than before and all looks idyllic. The rooms are well-maintained and the food is great, with friendly staff too. Special mention to Elza who was a wonderful waitress with wonderful manners - exactly what you expect at Relais & Chateaux.
However, the point of the trip was very much about sitting in the magical gardens, spending quality time with my parents together. Unfortunately this was not to be, as the hotel had not informed us of the dredging of the bay the hotel sits on during our stay. The dredging machinery and crane were as close to the hotel as they could be and the machinery grinded continually from 11am until 8pm both days of our stay. 8pm! When I have paid $2500 for a 2 night stay, I would expect an email beforehand to warn me of this. It was almost impossible to sit out during these hours, as you couldn’t chat or concentrate on a book, etc while it was going on. I did try to sit out for an hour and ignore it. You could also hear it in the hotel rooms and main house. Other guests felt the same. The dredging is out of the hotel’s control, but the way they handled it was poor, and if I’m honest, we would have gone elsewhere if we had known in advance. The trip was all about the hotel, and we just never got to enjoy its magic. I feel bad for the hotel, but fundamentally I begrudge the money I paid, which is not my normal Relais & Chateaux experience.
Beautiful grounds, good food, most rooms are lovely, some staff has lots of attitude, though. Placed in creepy "Hayloft" room -- up 8 rickety stairs, dark, old furniture, small windows overlooking parking lot. Complained and was moved to lovely "Meadow" room overlooking a field and gardens. Much better. Upon checkout and thanking for improved room, was told by woman clerk that "last guest said the Hayloft was one of the nicest rooms she had ever stayed in. I guess it's not the room, it's the person." Then she berated me for returning the key to the front desk and not leaving it in the room as stated by "the rules," which were never explained or distributed.
I told her that if I didn't return the key, it would have probably ended up back in Brooklyn. I wanted to tell her that if I ever saw her in Brooklyn, I'd kick her ass -- but I restrained myself.
Also, she berated other members of our group that the keys were meant to stay in their rooms.
Finally, as we were discussing this witchy woman, a hotel staffer chuckled. "Yeah, I know who you're talking about," he said. "This morning, she yelled at me for 'being too early' for my shift. She's a piece of work!"
Well, beautiful, not inexpensive stay kinda ruined by attitude-full front desk staffer. Either some retraining is needed or she should be moved to a non-customer-facing role.
Oh, and make sure to avoid the creepy, depressing "Hayloft."