On our first trip to the town of Harrison Hot Springs, Braden and I were in the middle of a short, two week vacation through BC. Having places to stay nearly everywhere we went, we only had to pay for a hotel room twice, and so we splurged for Harrison Hot Spring Resort that shares the town's name. Our experience was top notch. For the cost of a room (about $150) you had unlimited access to the pools and the grounds. The pools were immaculate, the landscaping whimsical, and the facilities modern.
When we returned to Harrison on our overlanding trip, we figured we would spend a little extra money and pay to use the pools at the resort. They wanted $150 from us, just for day use of the pools! They told us (as if in consolation) that the $150 was the price for up to four people. "But we're only two people, can't we just pay half?" The answer was no. We were disgruntled, to say the least. This was clearly a rip off, and a nearly overt way of saying that they didn't want non-guests bathing in their pools. So, we went around the corner to the municipal hot springs and paid the much more comfortable price of $16/person.
It was pouring rain that day. We were damp and cold and sour over our rejection from the fancy resort next door. When we entered the pool area, it felt like we were in a repurposed high-school swimming pool from the 1980s with the exception of the rounded stairs in to the pool at one end. Despite the beautiful dark wood ceiling with large support beams, everything seemed dated, and perhaps in a slight state of disrepair. Regardless, the pool was full of contented locals zening out along the edge of the pool. The whispers of some wafted up into the stale air, heavy with humidity, in they way that voices do at indoor pools. To our dismay, the stunning vista of the lake and mountains beyond was obscured by windows stained with time and the minerals of the natural spring water. To be fair to this modest local resource we entered the building with crappy attitudes over our experience at the resort, and were wishing that we could be there instead of in the municipal pool. Looking back, I feel we cast our judgement unfairly, although it doesn't change the fact that the municipal pool COULD have been maintained a little better. Sure, they weren't charging much, but they were charging as much as, or even more than some of the other, ritzier hot springs in the area (except HHS, of course). This begs the question, why couldn't they put a little more effort into making this a more competitive place to soak? Perhaps if they did, they could give HHS Resort a run for its money....
Cleanliness - 3
Amenities - 3
Exclusivity - 1
Scenery - 1
Community - 1 (even though this was a community pool, it still seemed like people were eager to bathe in solitude, and not much conversation was made)
Camping - 2 (perhaps you could park on the street somewhere in town if you're stealthy, but if you take a short five minute drive, you can find yourself in a treed municipal park on Harrison lake on the North East side of town)