Falling in love with British Columbia & Alberta, all over again

Beautiful British Columbia and Wild Rose Country are complete understatements when it come to one of the most beautiful videos ever shot.

Ben Brown, an English videographer, truly encapsulated the beauty and thrill of living in Canada and makes everyone want to get out there and travel.

Watch this mind blowing video and tell us your favourite part. Enjoy!

Stay Warm with Sandman This Winter

Stay warmThe cold winter months have very few redeeming qualities. Many animals find that the best thing to do is simply sleep through it while studies show that human beings sleep more during the winter months as well. One of the few redeeming qualities of winter is snow.

There are few things more magical than looking out the window from your house and discovering those first flurries gently falling to the ground. Then the snow builds up outside our houses and we know the time has come to put on warm slippers, a cozy blanket, and curl up with some hot chocolate.

If snow and cold weather aren’t your thing, don’t worry. Sandman is the perfect place to stay warm this winter.

This winter, the Sandman hotels across British Columbia have the perfect offers to keep you warm.

Sandman Signature Kamloops Hotel

CorpKingDon’t let the winter blues get you down…
Sandman Signature Kamloops Hotel has the perfect warm-up package for you.

Experience British Columbia’s Friendliest City this winter with exclusive rates sure to keep you warm during the cold winter months. Simply book this offer before December 31, 2014 and save 25% off the Best Available Rate. There’s never been an easier way to stay warm and get away at the same time. Book Now

Sandman Hotel Revelstoke

SAND Revelstoke_Lobby 3It pays to plan ahead!

Reserve and pay for your winter getaway booking a minimum of 21 days in advance and save 15% off the Best Available Rate.

Now that’s savings made easy. Book Now

Sandman Hotel & Suites Kelowna

SAND_Kelowna_TowerSuite02Get the royal treatment with Sandman Kelowna’s Suite Deal!

For a limited time you can book an Executive Tower King Suite for $159 (normally starts at $184)! You’ll also receive a $50 gift certificate to Chop per reservation.

With over $75 in savings, you don’t want to miss out on the suitest deal in town!  Book your reservation online today. Book Now

Sandman Signature Vancouver Airport Hotel & Resort

SIG_Vancouver Airport_ExteriorPlan your weekend getaway with Sandman signature Vancouver Airport Hotel & Resort and receive incredible savings.  Book the Weekend Best and save as much as $50 on your accommodations!

Make your reservation online or call us at 1-800-SANDMAN (726-3626).

Sandman Hotel Penticton

poolWant to save while you stay with Sandman? Sandman Penticton’s got the perfect package for you. Simply book 2 or more nights and receive 15% off the Best Available Rate for a room of your choice.

Home to some of BC’s most celebrated wineries and surrounded  by picturesque lakes, mountains and  scenery, you can experience all that Penticton has to offer while enjoying our wonderful accommodations. Book Now

See you this winter!

Congratulations Okanagan Valley!

Okanagan1

Their well-travelled expert nomination panel – a wine educator and a wine buyer – made the original selections and then readers voted daily during the contest’s four-week run.  While British Columbia’s Okananagan Valley enjoyed an early lead, fans of Portugal’s appealing Alentejo region eventually assured it took top honours.

The full list of winners in the USA TODAY 10Best Readers’ Choice contest for ‘Best Wine Region to Visit’ contest category is as follows:

  1. Alentejo, Portugal
  2. Okanagan Valley, British Columbia
  3. Maipo, Chile
  4. Marlborough, New Zealand
  5. Croatia
  6. Napa Valley, California
  7. Tuscany, Italy
  8. Oregon, United States
  9. Hunter Valley, Australia
  10. Virginia, United States
Beautiful view from Sandman Signature Kamloops Hotel

Beautiful view from Sandman Signature Kamloops Hotel

With six hotels in the Okanagan – two in Kamloops, Kelowna, Penticton, Princeton & Vernon – many of which offer amazing Wine Packages, Sandman Hotel Group is absolutely thrilled about the Okanagan Valley receiving this amazing recognition.

If you have ever had the pleasure of travelling through the Okanagan, you have experienced great wines from a world where the most skilled grape-growers and winemakers create absolute works of art.

The below is an excerpt from one lucky traveller’s journal.

Driving south from Okanagan Falls, with a quick stop at the famous Tickleberry’s for a double-scoop black cherry ice cream cone (irresistible, by the way), the Valley not only heats up to over 40C most of the summer, but flattens into a narrow, guarded valley.

The terroir of the South Okanagan begins at the McIntyre Bluff, which lies on the western side of Okanagan Valley, halfway between Oliver, the self-anointed Wine Capital of Canada, and Okanagan Falls. Vaseux Lake, part of the Okanagan River system, nearly abuts this prominent landmark. This cliff is the steepest and most dramatic in the Okanagan Valley, and the valley itself is the narrowest and most constricted in the Okanagan at this spot.  It is here that the soils and climate begin to define a truly southern region unlike any other in British Columbia, or Canada, for that matter.

This distinctive valley is actually the northern most tip of the transcontinental Sonoran Desert with an annual rainfall of 9 inches or less and some of hottest temperatures in Canada. Its latitude is similar to France with long daylight growing hours, clear unpolluted skies and a light intensity that rivals any wine growing region in the world.

Okanagan vineyards_86651131It is gorgeous here, as everywhere you look the stunning landscape of sunburned hills, sandy desert with its silver sage, antelope bush, and prickly pear cactus, is abutted to the lush greenery of vineyard after vineyard. It is a beautiful collision of raw natural splendor and intrepid winemaker, lured here by both the potential and the challenges of a region so unlike any other in the world.

The South Okanagan is made up of three distinct benches each with its own microclimates that define each appellation.

• The Black Sage Bench sits on top of sandy soil that can run up to 300 feet deep. Parts of this area are protected ecological habitats that preserve antelope-brush, bunchgrass, sage and prickly pear cactus.

• The Osoyoos Bench is comprised of soils such as Stepney, Trepanier and Trewitt. These soils have developed in deep gravel-free and stone-free sandy, coarse-textured fluvioglacial deposits and minor fluvial fan deposits. The soils are well to rapidly drained.

• The Golden Mile Bench soils vary from Ponderosa, Ratnip and Stemwinder. They have developed in gravelly, cobbly, stony and bouldery coarse to medium-textured fluvial fan deposits.

OkanaganEach of these areas bring distinct wine characteristics equal to any appellation found in Burgundy, Bordeaux or the Rhone Valley in France.

The South Okanagan is fertile ground for B.C.’s ripest grapes and is home to the best Bordeaux-style (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc) and Rhone-style (Syrah) wines being made in Canada. On the white side, Pinot Gris is a specialty of the region along with Chardonnay and Gewuztraminer.

The area, collectively known as the South Okanagan Wine Association (formerly called Oliver Osoyoos Wine Country), is a region that includes 21 wineries, from McIntyre Bluff to the north to the U.S. border in the south. The stunning beauty of the South Okanagan combined with the near-perfect growing conditions for the major vinifera grapes make it an ideal location for touring, staying and tasting.

The region still has a rural feel to it and is unspoiled by major development, other than the rush by wineries to plant more vineyards, build larger tasting rooms and gorgeous hilltop winery restaurants.

Touring in this region is a wonderful mix of wine, pastoral beauty with creeks, lakes, the historic and aboriginal influences, and stunning lake-side resort relaxation in near-perfect weather conditions from spring to fall.

20 Things You Didn’t Know about Queen Victoria

Victoria, British Columbia

Canada has been celebrating Queen Victoria’s birthday since 1845, but there’s a lot about the woman, to whom we owe the first unofficial long weekend of the summer, that you may not have realized.

Queen Victoria

Queen Victoria

Victoria, born May 24, 1819, was the daughter of Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn and Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld. She married Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha in 1840, and the union produced four sons and five daughters. She died at 81 years old, on January 22, 1901, and was the longest sitting sovereign in history after a reign of 63 years and 216 days.

But while the day bears her name, here are 20 things you never knew about Queen Victoria or her holiday – or have long since forgotten.

1. Victoria Day is a Canadian tradition and doesn’t actually exist in most of England. But it is celebrated in parts of Scotland, especially Edinburgh, where it remains an official holiday.

2. While the holiday moves around a lot now (falling this year on May 19th), the original rules stated it be celebrated annually on May 24th, regardless of what day that was, unless it was a Sunday – and then the observance would be moved to the 25th.

That changed with an amendment to the Statutes of Canada in 1952, when the government declared Victoria Day would fall on the Monday preceding the 25th of May. It’s been there ever since.

And those of us who appreciate our long weekends are glad they made the change or we’d all be working on Monday – and getting Sunday off.

3. Victoria Day is a legal Canadian stat, which means it’s also observed in Quebec. But the idea of honouring a British monarch doesn’t sit well with many in Le Belle Province, where it’s known it be another name. Up until three years ago, it was called Fête de Dollard after Adam Dollard des Ormeaux a French hero who helped lead a force in what is now Montreal against the Iroquois in 1660.

In 2003, it was renamed National Patriots Day in Quebec, ignoring the Queen reference altogether.

4. When Victoria was just a little girl, she was known by her nickname, Drina.

5. Despite being born in England, Victoria only spoke German up until the age of three.

6. She was the first member of the Royal Family known to suffer from hemophilia, a fact that had many questioning the circumstances of her parentage.

Queen Victoria and Prince Albert

7. She married Prince Albert in 1840, although they’d known each other since she was 16. And it really was a family affair.

Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha was her first cousin and his father was her mother’s brother!

8. Because she was Queen, she had to propose to Albert, and not vice versa.

9. She took over the throne in 1837, after the death of William IV. She was just 18 years old.

10. Despite the somewhat imposing figure she’s been portrayed as in history, the real Victoria didn’t completely measure up. She stood just 5 feet tall.

11. She was the subject of at least six serious assassination attempts.

In 1840, an 18-year-old named Edward Oxford took two shots at her carriage as she was riding in London. He was accused of high treason but found not guilty by reason of insanity.

Two years later, a man named John Francis fired a gun at her carriage but missed. He was caught, convicted of treason, but avoided the death penalty and was shipped to a penal colony.

Less than two months later, a youngster named John William Bean fired ammo made out of tobacco and paper at the Queen.

And in 1849, it happened again when William Hamilton, who history books describe as an ‘angry Irishman’, fired a pistol at her carriage. He pled guilty and was also exiled to a penal colony.

They say if you stay around in politics long enough, you’re bound to make enemies. Victoria was living proof of that. The Queen was set upon again in 1850, when ex-Army officer Robert Pate hit her with his cane. He pleaded insanity but the courts didn’t buy it, leaving him to the same fate as Hamilton.

Incredibly, in 1882, there was yet another attempt on her life, this time by Roderick Maclean, who also missed her with a bullet from a gun. He was found insane and sent to an asylum for life.

Queen Victoria

Queen Victoria

12. When you see pictures or actresses playing Victoria, she’s almost always wearing black. That’s because when her husband died in December 1861, she went into seclusion and a perpetual state of mourning and never wore any other colour.

It’s long been rumoured she later married her Scottish butler John Brown, but that’s never been proven. She didn’t get back into the public eye until the early 1870′s.

13. She became a grandma at 39 and a great grandmother 20 years later.

14. The mother of nine suffered one of the major drawbacks of such a long life, tragically outliving three of her own children.

15. She was the first Queen of Canada, sitting on the throne when this country was founded in 1867.

16. She liked to drink a concoction called Vin Mariani.

17. It was Victoria who started the tradition of a bride wearing white. Before her wedding, a woman would simply wear her best dress, no matter what colour it was.

18. She was named the 18th greatest Briton in a BBC poll conducted in 2002. Winston Churchill was number one. Victoria was beaten out by, among others, Princess Diana (#3), William Shakespeare (#5), and John Lennon (#8). She was followed on the list by Paul McCartney.

Victoria, British Columbia

19. Victoria, British Columbia is named after her, but so is the capital of Saskatchewan – Regina.

20. She was the only British monarch in modern music history to be honoured by name in the title of a rock and roll song. “Victoria”, by the Kinks, #62 on the Billboard charts in 1970, although the record did understandably better on this side of the border.

Paul McCartney famously wrote his 23-second ditty “Her Majesty” tune for the Beatles’ Abbey Road LP, but it wasn’t put out as a single and it never mentioned the current Queen by name.

Romance. Love. Passion. Valentine’s Day is Back!

love_92877334“For it was not into my ear you whispered, but into my heart. It was not my lips you kissed, but my soul.” ~Judy Garland

“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.” ~Charles M. Schulz

“There’s a long life ahead of you and it’s going to be beautiful, as long as you keep loving and hugging each other.” ~Yoko Ono

“I love romance. I’m a sucker for it. I love it so much. It’s pathetic.” ~Drew Barrymore

“I like perfume and flowers.” ~Donatella Versace

february 14_93828682Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, and whether you’re looking to spend quality time with your loved one, romance them, or both, Sandman Hotel Group has you covered. Give the perfect gift of a Sandman stay this February 14th.

A few of our hotels in British Columbia have embraced romance and assembled a variety of packages to suit every couple’s needs.

Sandman Suites Vancouver – Davie Street

Grab your loved one and spend Valentine’s in one of the amazing suites overlooking Vancouver.

Choose from one of two packages and create a night (or nights) to remember.

The Experience Package includes: a night’s accommodation in a one-bedroom suite, sparkling wine on ice in your room upon arrival, chocolate covered strawberries, rose petals scattered on your bed, breakfast for two at Moxie’s, and free parking.

The Valentine’s Indulgence Package includes: a night’s accommodation in a one-bedroom Jacuzzi suite on the penthouse floor, sparkling wine on ice in your room upon arrival, chocolate covered strawberries, an edible bouquet in a keepsake container, LUSH bath bomb and bubble bar, floating candles in your Jacuzzi tub, breakfast for two at Moxie’s, and free parking.

Sandman Hotel & Suites Kelowna

Treat your sweetheart to a Valentine’s weekend to remember. Indulge your passionate side with a night of decadence, sparkling wine and roses upon arrival, $100 Chop Steakhouse & Bar, and memories to last a lifetime.

Sandman Hotel & Suites Squamish

love_129289046Every day is Valentine’s Day in Squamish . With beautiful surroundings and an array of activities, all you have to do is add elegance and indulgence to your getaway. Spend a beautiful night in the mountains with a bottle of sparkling wine, chocolates, a rose on arrival, complimentary early check-in of 1pm and late check-out of 1pm, and complimentary upgrade to the next best room upon check-in (based on availability).

But BC is not the only province that knows how to spoil a loved one. Numerous Sandmans in Alberta have created beautiful packages sure to please your significant other.

Sandman Hotel & Suites Calgary West

The perfect getaway gift for you and your sweetheart awaits you. We’ll make sure you experience pure romance from start to finish! Treat your significant other to a romantic night away from home with our complete Romance Package, including a bottle of sparkling wine, a box of chocolates, and 2 – $10 Denny’s gift cards.

Sandman Hotel & Suites Calgary South

Treat your sweetheart to a romantic Valentine’s weekend away from home with our complete Valentine’s Packages. Simply book before February 7, 2014 and choose between our 3 offers:

chocolate_strawberry_93030673Package A: 1 Night Stay

  • 1 bottle of sparkling wine
  • chocolate covered strawberries
  • 1 $30 gift card to Denny’s

Package B: 2 Night Stay

  • Everything from Package A AND
  • 1 $75 gift card to Chinook Mall
  • 1 $30 gift card to Moxie’s Grill & Bar

Package C: 3 Night Stay

  • Everything from Package A & B AND
  • 25% off your 3rd night
  • 1 $30 gift card to Denny’s

No matter where you are or what you’re looking for, Sandman has the perfect amount of romance for you.

Rose Petals of Love