The view from Watermark: An ever changing panorama

The view from Watermark Resort: An ever changing panorama

I’ll admit it: when I’m in full-on writing mode, I’m a bit of a home-body, which can be challenging on the road. All the more reason why I’m very happy to be ensconced in the Watermark Beach Resort, in Osoyoos, in southern BC.

Yes, I’m being hosted here. Thank you, friendly Watermark people. But this time around I’m more than impressed for any number of reasons, some of which will resonate with anyone who’s a frequent traveler.

Here are a few:

• Not only are the suites deluxe but they’re solidly put together and, more importantly, everything works. Including the shower. Think I’m kidding? I’m so over showers that not only require a manual to operate but also burn or freeze you while you’re fiddling with them. Oh, and I can actually see to shave.

• WiFi. It’s free. On all the time. And you can get it everywhere except maybe in the deepest corner of the underground parking. Thank you again. It’s my lifeline. I now make a point of avoiding hotels that gouge you for wifi.

• The balcony. It’s massive. If I had six friends they could all come to dinner  with a spectacular view.

• The food. I’m liking it. See below.

• The room (well, it’s a suite) is spotless. And spacious.

• Everything works, especially in the kitchen, which is equipped to the max. That’s important. My expectations include a decent knife, cutting board, electric kettle, proper teapot, and so on. They’re all here, as well as a full sized fridge, dishwasher and a serious sink with wicked single spout and spray combo faucet. I could go on. But I can actually cook here… Plus there’s a full set (six) of decent wine, beer and old fashioned glasses.

In short. I’m a happy camper. Here’s (part of) what you’ll read in this weekend’s North Shore News…

Looking north from Stoneboat Vineyards in Oliver, BC

Looking north from Stoneboat Vineyards in Oliver, BC

There’s nothing quite like being in the Okanagan during harvest (or any wine region for that matter), although the Valley is particularly beautiful at this time of the year. After a promising start, due to some localized hail and unusually torrential rains, the vintage has turned out to be more challenging than expected as growers keep a wary eye on the weather for the next few weeks.

Okanagan Wine Festivals signalled the start of the upcoming signature fall festival this week with a bit of a fanfare. We’ve known all along that BC’s burgeoning wine industry does a fair bit for tourism but the numbers in this latest report suggest that festivals and wine tourism contribute some $139 million in economic impact annually to the Okanagan—and that the average visiting wine tourist drops $475 per day enjoying local wine and cuisine in the heart of Canada’s premier wine country.

Part of the reason for that surge is thanks to the arrival of quality accommodation, which for the most part—particularly in the south Okanagan—was sadly lacking a decade ago. Now the south has spread its wings, thanks to a number of premier properties, such as Osoyoos Watermark Beach Resort, which epitomizes the levels of comfort and convenience now available.

Watermark chef Jonas Stadtlander - a strong locally focused pedigree

Watermark chef Jonas Stadtländer – a strong locally focused pedigree

Recently the lakeside Watermark has upped its game, in part thanks to the arrival of well traveled chef Jonas Stadtländer, who’s brings a welcome local twist to the resort’s buzzing wine bar and patio. You may recognise the name: Jonas is the son of Michael Stadtländer, a founding father of Canada’s early farm to table movement.

His tapas styled offerings roam from superb pan-seared local beef with shallot jus to seared spiced Albacore tuna with local greens and include an excellent tasting plate with house made charcuterie, chicken liver mousse, artisan cheeses and more.

Watermark's bountiful in season salad with heritage tomatoes and more ...

Watermark’s bountiful in season salad with heritage tomatoes and more …

The wine list yields no shortage of good local drops and the hotel now partners with respected Orofino winemaker John Weber to make its own label, including a well structured “Really, Really, Red” blend of Similkameen Syrah, Cab. Sauv and Merlot.

Among the most polished in the valley, Watermark’s very well appointed, fully self-catering suites, pool and spa (not to mention a range of well priced packages, including electric bicycle tours) make it more than a good reason to head “down south.”