Hastings House in Salt Spring Island, British Columbia

Global Yodel recently had the pleasure of visiting Salt Spring Island in British Columbia and staying at The Hastings House. The property is tucked away on a private bluff overlooking Ganges Harbor on 22 acres of waterfront. There are 18 different rooms to choose from and a great restaurant. This is a perfect place to visit if you want to slow way down and enjoy the simple/good things in life. We caught up with General Manager Kelly McAree and asked him some questions about life and culture on Salt Spring Island and the Hastings House. We also took some pics to document the trip. Enjoy!

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Name: Kelly McAree

Place you live: Salt Spring Island, BC

Can you sum up Salt Springs Island? Salt Spring is the largest (70 square miles or 180 square kilometres), most populated (10,500) and, some might say most popular, of the Southern Gulf Islands.

Salt Spring is located between Vancouver Island and the Mainland in the Strait of Georgia alongside its neighbouring islands of Galiano, Pender, Saturna, Maine and Prevost.

Artists, farmers, chefs, mechanics, romantics, writers, retirees and dreamers have been drawn to its shores and have recognized it as one of the world’s best places to stay. The accommodations on Salt Spring Island range from quaint cabins to luxurious Bed & Breakfasts to motels and hotels.

Offering a wide range of experience, from horizon gazing to challenging hikes, there is something on Salt Spring for everyone. See some things to do on Salt Spring here.

Occupation: General Manager, Hastings House

How many rooms are there at the Hastings House? 18

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What is the property like? The Relais & Chateaux Hastings House Country House Hotel is a small luxury country resort, spa and restaurant sitting on 22 acres on the waterfront of Ganges Harbour, Salt Spring Island, British Columbia. You can enjoy luxury lodging, fine dining, wellness and relaxation in a casually-elegant atmosphere.

What is unique about the Hastings House? Historic setting, lush manicured grounds, waterfront location

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Tell us a little about the history of Hastings House. In 1937, Warren Hastings, an English naval architect with a gift for story-telling, moved to Salt Spring Island from Sussex, England with his new bride Barbara.  According to Hastings, he and Barbara “decided to build on Salt Spring Island because we love the sea and we think it is one of the most beautiful places in the world, with a lovely climate.”  Hastings built the Manor House in 1940 to resemble his 11th century Sussex-style family home because their “furniture was suitable for a house of this type.”

The large Inglenook fireplace in the Manor House is a reproduction of a type found in Tudor homes in Sussex. The stones for the fireplaces and chimneys were all quarried on the estate’s own land.  The wood floors are of end-grain fir, random width, fastened with black boat nails. The iron hardware for hinges on the doors and iron window frames were made by the local blacksmith. The hand split shakes for the roof were made locally as well. A clay pot Mr. Hastings had brought from England is buried beneath the hearth “to keep the witches away.”

Four other historical buildings comprise the Hastings House Resort. Of special note is The Farmhouse, which was built around the turn of the century and was long thought to be haunted because of its colourful history. It was converted into a workshop after the Manor House was built, and finally into a pair of two-story premier guest suites in 1980. The Post was the first Hudson’s Bay Post on Salt Spring Island where trading was conducted on the honour system. The Post was moved to its present location next to the garden in preparation for building the Manor House, and was used as a caretaker’s residence for many years. The Barn was rebuilt to its original exterior dimensions when the estate was converted into a hotel and now houses 5 guest suites and a spa in place of horses.

In 1980, Warren Hastings sold the property to Shan and Donald Cross of Calgary, Alberta, who turned the estate into an elegant hotel with ten guest suites and 30 seats in the dining room. Fifteen years later the current owners Bonny O’Connor and Jerry Parks purchased the property with the goal of maintaining the courtesy and charm of Hastings House.

The new owners added seven new Hillside Suites overlooking Ganges Harbour in 1999. In 2000 they built the Verandah over an outdoor patio to increase dining capacity and provide an all-weather spot for weddings and other gatherings. The former manager’s residence has been refurbished as a 3-bedroom guest cottage overlooking the hotel grounds and harbour, bringing the total number of guest accommodations to eighteen.

What is a perfect day on Salt Springs Island? Attending the Saturday market, then lunch at Tree House café, then a tour of the downtown art galleries followed by dinner at Hastings House.

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If someone was visiting Salt Springs Island, what must they do? Visit the Saturday market, cheese factories and art galleries

A perfect meal on Salt Springs Island? Salt Spring Lamb at Hastings House

What is the best thing about your spot? Historic setting, lush manicured grounds, waterfront location

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A little known fact about Salt Springs Island? It was originally settled by Hawaiians from merchant ships and escaped slaves from the US then later by draft dodgers from the Vietnam war.