The second day of the Okanagan FAM can be summed up in one word: full. It was full of flavor, history, personality, scenery, and experiences. Here’s a recap of our very full day around the Kelowna area:
The day started off with breakfast at Hotel Eldorado; a classic lakeside hotel rich with local history as evident by the art on the walls to the original dance floor in the solarium ballroom. This hotel has prestigious, vintage character; we would love to see vintage boats drive up to their private dock from the roof top patio as guests enjoy a custom cocktail in old fashioned glassware. Their sister property, Manteo Resort¸ is right next door which means you can split a group between the two properties. The onsite restaurant boasts a spectacular patio – arguably the best one in Kelowna – where you could easily captivate your guests with a private lounge as they take in the lake front views.
From there we headed to Summerhill Winery which is quirky, edgy, unconventional and oh so picturesque. You can utilize the existing event space inside, out on the patio or you can create a whole new space by tenting the parking lot, which also has flawless vineyard views. Summerhill has differentiated itself from the other wineries with it’s avant-garde approach to aging wine in a pyramid onsite that is an exact replica of the Great Egyptian Pyramid, but at 1/8th the size. With no technology permitted in the pyramid, this space can be used for groups as a sport for meditation, acoustic music or a meeting space while guests are surrounded by barrels of wine aging in the pyramid’s energy.
We were then fortunate enough to visit the wonderfully special Caldwell Farms; Kristi & James are two charismatic city dwellers turned farmers who are bringing the farm-to-table movement to the distillery industry with their latest venture Wiseacres Distillery. The distillery, which will also be located at their farm, is just one addition to their beautiful home in the woods complete with roaming chickens, two donkeys and Valentine the cow. It’s a unique outdoor space to host a dinner & reception all while checking out the antique farming equipment and family memorabilia on display throughout the farm.
While at Caldwell Farms we experienced the culinary magic of The Paisley Notebook. It’s hard to explain Aman’s cooking until you’ve tried it… through food and the stories behind the recipes her goal is to connect people one meal at a time. She definitely accomplished her goal when she prepared a 4 course Indian meal with a twist using only local ingredients: kale pakoras served with her mom’s dipping sauce, ling-cod served with a spot prawn coconut curry broth, butter chicken like no other butter chicken you’ve ever had (the thighs were prepared sous vide style rather than cooked within the butternut sauce) & poached pear over rice pudding! It’s also typically a family affair with either mom or brother helping – she brought her mixologist brother, Harry, along to serve us some tamarind margaritas as a welcome drink – sensational.
After our delectable lunch, we ventured over to the Okanagan Lavender Farm; the perfect spot to start a day in the Okanagan. We immediately had images in our minds of guests practicing yoga on the back deck overlooking the lavender fields; it is so calm, serene and inviting. To top off our experience there, we made fresh lavender facial toners – a fantastic personalized takeaway!
Returning to downtown Kelowna, we checked out The Laurel Packing House; a great, versatile space to use as an offsite function. With it rustic chic vibe the space can be transformed from a casual, industrial style evening event or a sleek juxtaposition of all white and chrome décor amongst the natural wood beams and brick work. With its close proximity to the Delta, it’s an excellent option for larger groups requiring an offsite space that the hotel can cater.
While staying in the downtown core, we took in a hidden gem along Kelowna’s main drag, Okanagan Spirits offers private tastings of their locally crafted spirits. With a variety of flavors, guests will enjoy trying the various liquors the shop has to offer while they shop.
Sandhill Winery is also (unexpectedly) located downtown; a large, modern venue space that is well suited for a cocktail reception but also a brilliant alternative for an offsite dinner. With the glass enclosed dining space and cleverly designed architecture, there are countless conversation starting design aspects to this winery-that-is-far-more-than-just-a-winery. With the slanted white ceilings, the branding opportunities in here are endless for corporate groups.
Back at the hotel, the Oak + Cru team at the Delta Grand outdid themselves yet again with a mixologist pouring two custom created cocktails to pair with the upscale West Coast infused (un)traditional pub fair they arranged for us for happy hour. Regardless of it being in a hotel, this is not your typical “hotel restaurant”; the food, the atmosphere, the personalities, everything exceeded any of our expectations night after night.
To cap off a very full day, we tried a new restaurant for dinner. The Perch Café is a new, up and coming dining spot in downtown Kelowna with a creative approach to its arrival experience. To get to this top floor venue, you must go through the Innovation Centre to get to the roof, go outside, take in the city views, before stepping into a quaintly modern lounge vibe.
If you thought Day 2 was busy, wait till you read about Day 3 of our Okanagan FAM…