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“Perfect romantic winter escape”

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Hastings House Country House Hotel
Certificate of Excellence
Vancouver, Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Perfect romantic winter escape”
Reviewed 3 March 2014

What an incredibly magical place for a romantic weekend getaway! My girlfriend and I visited Hastings House during a rare winter snowfall and seeing the grounds covered in a fresh blanket of snow was a real treat. The staff were incredibly attentive to our needs and we received a tour of the grounds from General Manager Kelly McAree upon checking in that included some history of the property (it was a Hudson’s Bay Company trading post before becoming a farm and then a manor house for British expats). The suites, tea room and dining room all have spectacular views of Ganges Harbour and the grounds.

We had missed our ferry and checked in about 2 ½ hours late and unfortunately missed afternoon tea, but the staff were kind enough to put a plate of the fresh scones in our room for when we checked in, they are some of the best I’ve ever tasted. The bed was incredibly luxurious, large as a small country and unbelievably comfortable. We stayed in the Hawthorne, and greatly enjoyed the heated floors, standing barefoot on the carpet, or by the fireplace and staring out at the falling snow. The bathtub was a real treat, at 6’3” I don’t often find tubs large enough to soak in, but I was so enamored with this one that I took a bath each day of our stay. Waking each morning to delicious warm fresh baked muffins delivered to our doors (still warm despite the snowy weather).

When we checked in our dinner reservations for the following night were confirmed, and we found a printed copy of our itinerary in our room. The dining room staff were courteous and attentive and provided an excellent and relaxed dining experience. The kitchen produced delicious breakfast specials and an elegant afternoon tea with fresh baked goodies, definitely something to do if your schedule allows. We were fortunate enough to stay the weekend of the dining room dinner service resuming after a break for winter. All three courses were elegantly plated, I had a wild mushroom bisque starter, excellent seared scallop entrée, while my girlfriend had the beef tenderloin, which were absolutely delicious, and the dessert of apple-blackberry crumble served with fresh vanilla ice cream was the perfect finish to our meal.

General manager Kelly McAree made sure to confirm with us throughout our stay that we were enjoying ourselves and that we lacked nothing, he also proved an invaluable source of information of locations around Salt Spring Island to visit. We nearly filled our room’s fridge with cheese from the Salt Spring Island Cheese Company.

We had a fantastic visit and can’t wait to visit again in summer to see the gardens in full bloom, and to wander the grounds more extensively. Thank you Hastings House staff for a phenomenal experience and incredibly relaxing romantic weekend, we will return.

  • Stayed March 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Sean B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
KellyMcAree, General Manager at Hastings House Country House Hotel, responded to this review, 8 March 2014
Thank you very much for your review. It is wonderful people such as your selves who make providing excellent service so enjoyable for all of us. It also is the opportunity to welcome new people to our property, provide an outstanding Hastings House experience, befriend and welcome back them back again and again that has awarded Hastings House with the many accolades we have received and also allows us to enjoy staff loyalty that is unheard of in the industry with some our staff being with us for up to 25 years. We all enjoy so much the people we meet and providing the service that is rewarded with reviews like yours.
Thank you so much and we will see you again soon.
Kind Regards
Kelly McAree
General Manager
Hastings House Country House Hotel
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232 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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  • Value
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (71)
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English first
Canada
Level Contributor
8 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 March 2014

My partner and I stayed here for two nights as part of the Relais & Chafteaux Discover the Faces of Western Canada promotion. We were introduced to the Relais & Chateaux fellowship through the Wickaninnish Inn, and I was expecting my stay at Hastings House to be of a similar calibre given the comparable price and affiliation with R&C. Despite the glowing reviews Hastings House continuously receives here, my partner and I were shocked with the poor quality of service that we experienced.

When we arrived we were invited to attend afternoon tea, which was delightful. This ended up being the high point of our stay, unfortunately. We took a walk of the grounds, including a forested boardwalk on the east side of the property, and the small beach facing the marina. The first thing that we noticed was the amount of garbage on the property. We found a pint glass left on the boardwalk that looked like it had been there for days. Beer cans and other litter could be found on the forest floor within reaching distance of the walkway. The beach was full of washed up rope, fishing line, styrofoam, and other garbage. I picked up as much as I could before leaving. I was surprised they couldn't spare the staff to conduct a daily garbage sweep of the grounds - they beach and boardwalk aren't that big and the fact that they aren't maintained shows a lack of pride.

We stayed in Farm East room, which was offered to us as a complimentary upgrade from our Barn reservation. The suite was spacious and the view was good, but in general was not very comfortable and I had a terrible time trying to sleep. Each room was controlled by a different thermostat, but this system and the locations of the thermostats were not pointed out to us when we checked in. As a result, the bedroom was sweltering while the downstairs room was freezing. It also rained overnight, and the old style roof drainage produced a metronome taping of water right above the bedroom. Finally, a family of about a dozen blackflies had taken up residence in the suite. I understand this is supposed to be a quaint country residence, but the constant buzz of flies does not add to the experience.

We had a dinner reservation in the Dining Room. It was very small and only seated about 4 tables with one server between them. While the food was good, the service was not. Our server was young and inexperienced. I don't want to fault him as he was very friendly and attentive and we really enjoyed talking to him, but he was neither knowledgeable nor confident in the wine selection and could not assist us in choosing a wine pairing. I understand that he is still new and I don't blame him personally, but would it be too much for the Dining Room to pair him with a more experienced server so that he may learn the trade without impacting the diners' experience?

When I made my reservation I emailed Hastings House about my partner's dietary restrictions; she is vegan, and General Manager Kelly McAree assured me that they "accommodate special diets on a regular basis." However, dining room staff were repeatedly unable to determine whether the food they were offering contained animal products. Our " morning hamper" (brown paper bag) of baked goods contained butter croissants. When we went for breakfast neither the server nor the kitchen were able to confirm if any of the baked goods contained dairy, as none of them were baked on site and the staff had not obtained a list of ingredients. According to our server, the bread was obtained from a restaurant supply store without a list of ingredients.

We brought these issues to the manager when checking out, and his first response was an unapologetic retort that the hotel had already given us a complimentary upgrade, as if that made our complaints invalid. It was very unprofessional, and not the kind of attitude I was expecting from a gentleman operating a R&C property. We weren't bringing the complaints to him as a ploy to get free stuff, but because we were genuinely disappointed with the lack of attention to detail that we consistently saw during out stay. To top it off, the manager seemed unaware of the Discover the Faces of Western Canada promotion (stay at multiple R&C properties and receive a benefit at each) so our benefit was not prepared for us. We were offered a cookbook as consolation.

Maybe they had fewer staff or they just didn't care as much because it was the off season, but I had such a terrible experience that I would never return and it has certainly made me hesitant to try new Relais & Chateaux properties.

  • Stayed October 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
10 Thank Marc R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
KellyMcAree, General Manager at Hastings House Country House Hotel, responded to this review, 2 March 2014
Thank you for your comments. We indeed have detailed records of your one night stay with us last year with notes on how we interacted with you, handled your concerns and the compensation we extended. I can email you a receipt if you have lost it. And after every interaction of this nature, an after incident report is made and lessons are learned.
As part of the Discover the Many Faces of Relais & Chateaux, clients who reserve more than one property consecutively in a vacation are entitled to complimentary upgrades when available. When you reserved our smallest studio forest view room for $395.00 per night, on the day of arrival our largest Farmhouse Premier ocean-view suite was available and you were given a complimentary upgrade.
All of us are intimately aware with this program as we have many guests take advantage of the opportunity to visit all the very different faces of Relais & Chateaux in Western Canada and the program includes, again a complimentary upgrade and an afternoon picnic during your stay at Hastings House. Other properties offer different welcoming incentives.
Our staff does indeed deal with complex dietary requirements on a daily basis and on any given day we can have several guests with different requirements that we accommodate because we make everything from scratch. Although these requirements are communicated to each staff member clearly, our staff does sometimes need to ask our chef specific questions regarding the preparation of special needs items to clearly communicate those items to the clients and our breakfast server was being thorough when asked each of your questions when verifying with the chef.
Your comments about the thermostats are curious as they are mounted in highly visible areas and regulation height and as our units have both wood or gas fireplaces and supplementary electric heat the fact that we have thermostats in each room is a standard setup for all structures of this type whether it be hotel rooms or private homes.
Throughout your short visit I spoke with you. Whether at tea, while strolling the grounds, or after breakfast and at checkout, our visits were apparently friendly. I was made aware of your wake-up hamper and I apologized sincerely, and extended a substantial refund. As you were only here for one night, we were unable to supply the afternoon picnic so instead offered you our cookbook which is also an upgrade in value. Our interactions appeared to be pleasant throughout, shaking hands as you departed and wishing you a good day so I am surprised at your comments. I take pride in the relationship I develop with every guest and that pays huge dividends with over 40% growth of our returning guests last year and this year far exceeding that already. To read that my interpretation of a pleasant interaction with an apparent satisfactory conclusion now after six months was something else, is troubling. We will all try to be better at determining what guests aren’t telling us and graciously come up with solutions when possible but I encourage you to voice your concerns clearly and express how we as hoteliers can make you happy . As the General Manager of one of the most awarded hotels in Relais & Chateaux for customer service, I thoroughly enjoy making every person happy and welcoming them back again and again.
We all wish you well and good travels.

Thank you
Kelly McAree
General Manager
Hastings House Country House Hotel
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London W.8.
Level Contributor
96 reviews
86 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 158 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 February 2014

Salt Spring Island is a delight, floating off the east coast of Vancouver Island. The main town, Ganges, is a pretty harbour with quite enough to do to fill in a few days - a great bookshop run by an extraordinarily helpful woman on the occasion that we were there, plenty of little restaurants serving the freshest of food without pretension, the kind of hardware store that we all want in our home towns and plenty more besides. Below the hotel, a mere trip down the hill, is Moby's, an unpretentious pub which serves delicious chowder and a good Bloody Mary and opposite is a curious tiny Patisserie, la Patronne and her husband escapees from the urbanisation of South West France, and she produces pastries of sublime lightness and flavour.

What of Hastings House, you ask? We did not know what to expect. It's perched above the bay, looking towards Ganges and is developed around a pastiche of a medieval farm house, an attempt by Warren Hastings to recreate his home in Sussex. It's not great and misses the original by a mile and I'm not sure that it's worth slavishly trying to maintain that connection. The main property is in dire need of refurbishment. But, strange as it may seem, the whole place works. Because the whole island embraces yesteryear and the values far removed from hectic urbanity, Hastings House feels right. Kelly and Cherryann, the general manager and his wife, steer their ship with a calm and steady hand and have a staff around them of talent who give real attention to the needs and wants of their guests. We could not have been happier and four idle and easy days simply slipped by in the most relaxing fashion. We just wish that we lived close enough to return in the summer when I imagine that the gardens are filled with colour. Vancouver is only 30 minutes away by floatplane which leaves from Ganges - we watched as it hoisted itself into the air like a bloated dragonfly - and wished that we could return to Hastings House and Salt Spring Island before very long.

Room Tip: Probably avoid the Manor House rooms - they are pretty tired.
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  • Stayed February 2014, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
1 Thank Shellfire
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Los Angeles, California
Level Contributor
7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 February 2014

While on a spontaneous trip to Salt Spring Island, we chose this hotel. We ended up extending our stay two nights because we felt so comfortable and cozy here. Perfect place for a romantic getaway.

Hastings House was built as a manor home and farm for some British ex-patriots about a century ago. It has been kept beautifully intact throughout the years. The grounds are lovely, the views onto the protected bay were magical and much of the food you will eat is grown right on-site. I hadn't know anything about this place and was constantly delighted by what I found.

We stayed in the Hayloft, which was the least expensive of the rooms but so darn cute on-line that I decided to book it. It was just as cute in person. Nice gas stove in the corner, a very comfy bed and a large room with comfortable squishy armchairs. The windows open the room up and let us enjoy the views.

The breakfasts are simply wonderful. This morning the special was poached eggs and smoked salmon with asparagus and hollandaise, alongside perfectly roasted potatoes and lightly grilled tomatoes. The sourdough toast buttered and topped with the jams made by the kitchen staff were the perfect touch. And, very importantly, the coffee was top notch (could have been a little warmer though). Also, my boyfriend reminds me, they served a very fresh and tasty winter apple juice that was local and non-pasteurized. It was very good.

If you come here, make sure to enjoy the afternoon tea, served between 3-4pm. We were going to skip it because, though I love a good afternoon tea, generally they aren't very good. Fortunately we didn't skip the Hastings House tea! The scones were fresh made, petite and had a sugary glaze. There were two types of tea, Earl Grey and Orange Pekoe, along with hot water to make any other tea for yourself. The other offerings included chocolate chip cookies one day, shortbread another, delicious gluten free coconut bites, small chocolate cake squares and an assortment of berries alongside the pastries. The delicious homemade jams were again provided each afternoon - the orange marmalade was deeelightful!

The dining room was not open during our stay, it opens March 1st.

I took advantage of the $50 credit toward a spa service and enjoyed a very competent, deep yet relaxing, massage from Tara. I love a good massage and the spa at Hastings House is small but professionally run. I was given a warm scented foot bath right away and throughout the massage Tara used perfectly heated hot towels to remove the excess oils so that I left not only feeling relaxed and refreshed but ready to go straight to our afternoon tea. It was wonderful. She knows how to find your kinks and knots.

We were able to indulge our love of cold water dipping by walking down to the beach on the property. I recommend this and a nice hot shower before your afternoon tiffin.

  • Stayed February 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank Isabella L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Edmonton, Canada
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 17 February 2014

We spent a cosy winter weekend at this magnificent country hotel. Gorgeous room. Fantastic gourmet breakfasts (included). Thoughtful and attentive service. We were delighted to escape urban life and enjoy the tranquil elegance of this fabulous hotel. Highly recommended.

  • Stayed February 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank CatrinElsbeth
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Victoria, Canada
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 February 2014

We were looking for a relaxed, celebratory weekend not too far from our home, but special nonetheless. Hastings House Country House Hotel filled the bill most admirably. The room was comfortable and beautifully furnished (gorgeous sofa!), with a wood burning fireplace and a view of woods and meadow - the Woodland room. The bed was deliciously comfy, and there were tasteful touches, like fresh flowers, a complimentary bottle of wine and treats on our arrival. The chef went out of her way to accommodate our special dietary needs, even for 'special' morning muffins (warm and delivered discreetly to the door). While the kitchen was closed for evening meals in midwinter, the hotel is close enough to the village of Ganges that a 10 minute walk put us in range of a variety of restaurants. The (included) breakfast was wonderful, in a tasteful traditional room overlooking the harbour. The whole place is casually elegant, and the grounds are dotted with gardens and sculptures. We were made to feel special, and we loved the rustic ambiance and history of the place.

  • Stayed January 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank lovelock2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Everett, Washington
Level Contributor
146 reviews
53 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 95 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 January 2014

We stayed two nights from Jan 18 to 19, 2014. Since it was winter time, we felt like we had the whole place to ourselves. The room is comfortable with fireplace. At 7:30 am, the hot muffins showed up at our door, it tasted like it's right out of the oven. The breakfast was wonderful with the view of harbor. At 3:30 pm, the tea time at another room with delicious treats. If you cannot make it, they will bring to your room so you can still enjoy. The spa service is amazing, I had a very luxurious massage. I would highly recommend this place for a couple for romantic getaway.

Room Tip: We stayed at the room with garden view, an excellent value.
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  • Stayed January 2014, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Mei Y
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Hastings House Country House Hotel

Property: Hastings House Country House Hotel
Address: 160 Upper Ganges Rd | British Columbia, British Columbia V8K 2S2, Canada
Region: Canada > British Columbia > Salt Spring Island
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Business Centre with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Salt Spring Island
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £££
Hotel Class:4 star — Hastings House Country House Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 18
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Hastings House Country House Hotel is a small waterfront luxury country resort, spa and restaurant sitting on 22 acres on the waterfront of Ganges Harbour, Salt Spring Island, British Columbia. Enjoy luxury lodging, fine dining, wellness and relaxation in a casually-elegant atmosphere. Explore British Columbia’s natural beauty, Salt Spring’s mild climate and the warmth and creativity of its people. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Hastings Hotel Saltspring Island

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