Minnekhada hunting lodge, in Minnekhada's, National Park, in Northeast Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada, was built in the 1930's, and was used by the then owner, Eric Hamber, to wine, dine, and entertain his affluent freinds.
Today, the Lodge, which is looked after by my brother, Simon, and sister in law, Karen, is a popular event, and wedding venue, which, is how we came to spend Christmas in this wonderful place.
Arriving the day before Christmas Eve, we made our way by car, up the long, winding, icy road, the surrounding landscape of forest and mountains, glowing white in the dusk around us. And as we turned down the sloping driveway, the lodge, covered in snow and lit by tasteful, lights, stood out like a house in a
scene from a Christmas movie.
Past guests at the lodge have included the famous actress and singer, Gracie Fields, the Earl of Athlone, and his wife, Princess Alice, as well as various Hollywood stars. Queen Elizabeth, and King George VI are also rumoured to have stayed at Minnekhada in 1939.
The picturesque, mountainous park which, covers 200 hectares and lies beside Pitt-Addington marsh, and the Pitt River, is popular for its trails, rock knolls, and cedar forests. There's also an abundance of wildlife, such as Deer, Beavers, Eagles, and Herons. Brown bears are also spotted regularly in the spring and summer months.
The night before Christmas Eve, inside the lodge, gathered around an 8ft Christmas tree and with the huge, log fire, crackling in the hearth, the snow began to fall heavily, giving us a warm Christmas glow that we hadn't' felt in years.
On Christmas morning, after breakfast, we crunched over the fresh, sparkling snow in the sushine through a winter wonderland, of glistening icicles, that clung to the snow-covered trees, as we trudged down to the spectacular, frozen lake.
A perfect way to work up an appetite for the beautifully cooked, Christmas dinner with all the trimmings, presented to us later, in the oak beamed, wood pannelled, main hall.
And sitting at the table, with the fire, blissfully, crackling away, and with tradional Christmas music playing softly in the background, I pictured Bing Crosby, crooning, at the piano, and Fred Astaire, in top hat and tails, with cane twirling, tap dancing down the stairs, from the gallery. And in true ''Holiday Inn,'' style, I drifted pleasantly back to a more romantic era.
A wonderful Christmas & New year - one that we'll never forget.
A tip - if you go - Visit Harrison hot springs and book a night at the Hotel. Simon and Karen treated us and I promise you it's an experience you'll never forget. The Hotel which has captilised on the natural hot springs is warm and welcoming. Provided with a bathrobe you can step into the springs as soon as you are ready.
The Hotel has a quaint tradition of serving tea, and homemade cake and cookies at 4pm every day. Don't miss it. The Copperhouse Restaurant is first class and after cocktails in the bar, we enjoyed the exquisite beef, lamb and other dishes from the menu, before finishing the night back in the hot springs under the stars - truly an experience to remember.
The Lodge at Christmas - it was magical
Dreaming of a White Christmas ?
Helen Burke found hers'