Visit Kamloops… Get a Gift Card!

Photo courtesy of Destination BC

Photo courtesy of Tourism Kamloops

Fun Facts about Kamloops (courtesy of Tourism Kamloops):

  • The annual average of sunny skies is 2,047 hours, with an annual rainfall of 217.9 mm.
  • Kamloops has a growing season of 166 days.
  • The city area covers 311 sq km (Manhanttan is 59.47 sq km with 10 x the population!)
  • There are 82 parks in Kamloops, covering a total of 1,350 hectares.
  • Kamloops is one of only two places in Canada where the two national railways (CP and CN) intersect in city limits.
  • Kamloops is 250 km north of the Washington border; 310 km northeast of Vancouver, and 4,387 km west of Toronto.
  • Kamloops comes from the Secwepemc word “T’Kumlups”, referring to the flowing together of the North and South Thompson rivers.
  • Europeans arrived in Kamloops around 1811.
  • In 1893, Kamloops was incorporated with less than 1,000 people. Today, it has a population of nearly 85,000 and growing.
  • Riverside Park used to be owned by James McIntosh, one of the most influential men in Kamloops’ early history. McIntosh was employed by HBC. He helped build some of Kamloops’ first roads, developed hydro-electric power for the town, and acted as magistrate. His property includes 100 acres right on the river, which was sold to the city after his death.
  • Kamloops was once home to famous Canadian poet Robert Service who wrote recognizable hits like “The Cremation of SamMcGee”. He used to work at the Commerce Bank, which is now know as the Brownstone Restaraunt.
  • In 1888, the first electric light was installed on the corner of 1st and Seymour near City Hall.
  • Kamloops is Canada’s Tournament Capital and hosts over 100 tournaments each year consisting of 27,878 participants.

SIG_Kamloops_Exterior9957-edit$20 Gift Card – Opening Special

Travelling to Kamloops this winter or spring?

Book any rate at Sandman Signature Kamloops Hotel through our website, mobile app, or by phone and stay before April 30, 2015 to receive your choice of a $20 gift card to Esso, Starbucks, or Shark Club Bar & Grill. Simply print the voucher below and redeem upon check-in to make your gift card selection.

Click here for voucher

In addition, receive 200 bonus points just for booking your stay at Sandman Signature Kamloops Hotel via the Sandman mobile app before April 30, 2015.

Click here for more information about Sandman’s mobile app.

Book/Stay Dates: now – April 30, 2015


Kamloops view

Sandman Signature Kamloops Hotel faces both Riverside Park and The Thompson River, is located directly across the street from the Interior Savings Centre, home of the Kamloops Blazers, and provides a relaxed, elegant comfort.

Each of the 202 beautifully appointed guest rooms at this downtown Kamloops hotel, including the 100 suites, provides the perfect setting to unwind. Relax by the indoor swimming pool and hot tub, enjoy a delicious meal at Shark Club Bar & Grill, or exercise in the state-of-the-art fitness room. Modern amenities, such as complimentary Internet access and a business centre, makes travelling for work or leisure easier and elegant.


Voucher restrictions: Offer valid until April 30, 2015. Maximum of one (1) voucher per stay and can only be redeemed upon check-in. Reservations must be made directly through the hotel, the Sandman website, the Sandman mobile app, or through Central Reservations. Third party reservations do not qualify. Mobile app bonus points will be awarded for Sandman Signature Kamloops Hotel reservations only. Bonus points will be allocated to the guest’s mobile app account after hotel check-out.

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.

Take a Road Trip to Wine Country

A mere few decades ago, if you told a sommelier that world-renowned wine could come from BC’s Interior valleys, they’d likely tell your that you were either nuts, misinformed about Canada’s climate, or just plain strange. Yet, if you were a ‘strange’ visionary, you likely are now reaping the delicious rewards of your years of labour, patience and impeccable foresight into one of Canada’s most luscious wine-producing areas.
Ah, to be ahead of the times. Before the late ’80s, most of the wine produced in BC’s now famed Okanagan Valley was nowhere near the calibre that it is today, and most wine aficionados had written the stuff off as local backyard brew that couldn’t hold its own in international competitions.

Then came the fateful year of 1988, when new Canadian trade policy laws allowed cheap and flavourful international wines to make their way into Canada. This resulted in more competition for BC wines, and thereafter, a rallied effort by both the government and winemakers to change how wine was made in the Okanagan. With help and faith from all sides, those cunning few who knew there was a future for some incredible varietals, started hunting for the best vines – and began growing grapes that entered the valley into a ‘Golden Age’ of fine wine.

Soon great red and whites were popping up everywhere, and the unthinkable happened: In 1994, Mission Hill’s 1992 Chardonnay won the coveted ‘Best Chardonnay in the World’ award at the International Wine and Spirits Competition.

So shocking was this win that, in the blind tasting, judges decided to do a second round of tasting– just to make sure. And of course, even the second time, the award-winning wine still reigned supreme. Not only were the judges stunned by the quality of wine, but so was the rest of the wine world (who now had good reason to take this flourishing BC wine area seriously). Zoom forward a few more decades and you’ll find amazing wineries stretching all the way from Victoria, Langley, Penticton, Osoyoos, Naramata, Kelowna and beyond.

With wine as one of the biggest tourist attractions for the Okanagan Valley area these days, you can find a whole vino culture just ripe for the picking here. From excellent tours, tastings, pairing events to annual festivals, celebrations and harvests, there is never a dry moment.

This meteoric industry change has caused a chain reaction within other industries in the area too. Our very own hotels have seen a vast shift in how wine, hospitality and accommodations are connecting together to create an entire experience for visitors.

“We’ve definitely witnessed a lot of change with both the wine and hotel industry up here over the years,” says Kelly Watt, General Manager of Sandman Hotel & Suites Kelowna. “Things are much more consumer focused with tons of variety – whether it’s concerts, restaurants, great tasting rooms, accommodation and tour packages – they’re all connected to create the ideal vacation experience. The tasting rooms especially – they are very inviting and welcoming. They have amazing views and often display local art. It’s very engaging.”

Sandman Hotel & Suites Kelowna

No longer do wine tasters breeze in and out of mom-and-pop shops for a quick sip. Instead, large groups can experience pairings with food, they can go on long guided tours, and they can enjoy local wine from the comfort of their hotel rooms. “The potential in the valley is vast,” says Irene Burrell, Front Desk Manager at Sandman Hotel Penticton. “For us, the Naramata Bench continues to grow with new wineries that are exceeding everyone’s expectations… and with that growth people want to come here for longer periods of time. It’s not just about the wine anymore; it’s about experiencing the entire area – with wine.

Sandman Hotel Penticton

And the area doesn’t dissapoint. From gorgeous lake side beaches to vast hiking trails, plus one of the most coveted foodie scenes in Canada, many compare the OKV (as the locals say) to Napa Valley.

“It really is amazing to see how well everyone in the hospitality, wine, and tourism industry works together here,” remarks Burrell. “We all believe that the perfect stay includes elements of all industries… you can taste, explore, eat, relax… and of course with us, get a good night’s sleep.”

Now that’s one blend that goes down easy.

To see the Sandman Hotel & Suites Kelowna Wine Lovers’ Package, click here: http://ht.ly/bK4ut

Nearby Kelowna wineries:
• Vibrant Vines
• Summer Hill Pyramid Winery
• Spierhead Winery
• Sperling Vineyards
• Cedar Creek Estate Winery
• St. Hubertus
• Tantalus Vineyards
• The View Winery & Vineyard
• Rollingdale Winery
• Mt. Boucherie Estate Winery
• Volcanic Hills Estate Winery
• Little Straw Vineyards
• Mission Hill Family Estate
• Gray Monk Estate Winery
• Quails Gate Estate Winery

To see Sandman Hotel Penticton’s Wine Lovers’ Pick-a-Perk Package, click here:  http://ht.ly/bK4F5

Nearby Penticton wineries:
• Monster Vineyards
• Poplar Grove Winery
• Township 7 Vineyards & Winery
• Black Cloud
• La Frenz Estate Winery
• Red Rooster Winery
• Spiller Estate Fruit Winery
• Ruby Blues Winery
• Hillside Estate Winery & Bistro
• Laughing Stock Vineyards
• Black Widow Winery
• Elephant Island Orchard Wines