Western Luxury with a Thai Twist: Echo Valley Ranch & Spa

LEADbcThai[1]What happens when you take a remote Canadian location, add some cowboy flair and sprinkle in a Thai spa?  You would have the unusual blend that is the Echo Valley Ranch & Spa.

Set in the pristine Cariboo Region of British Columbia, this luxury dude ranch caters to those seeking tranquility, a beautiful setting and a western experience. The 160-acre working ranch is located in a remote, mountainous area just a five-hour drive from Vancouver.

The drive via Highway 1 through the Fraser Valley and then along Highway 97 to Clinton is an experience on its own and passes through spectacular scenery.

Once you arrive at Echo Valley Ranch & Spa, though, it’s obvious this is not your usual dude ranch. Exotic Thai structures sit next to tidy cabins in the middle of a lush green valley. The sight is quite otherworldly.

The resort is a direct reflection of its owners, Norm and Nan Dove. Norm was born in England, but immigrated to Canada in the ’60s.

An engineer, he spent years as a leading innovator in newspaper manufacturing technology and built up a large company. He met Nan in Bangkok, where she was studying at the time, and the two married.

Planning to sell his company in 1989, Dave began looking for something new to do. He eventually came across a small, working cattle ranch in British Columbia.

The couple immediately fell in love with the property and purchased it, even though they knew nothing about ranching. With the help of some local cowboys, the property was soon running smoothly.

But Dave and Nan had bigger dreams for the location. Little by little, they began transforming it into a guest ranch. At first, they only invited friends and family to visit, but soon realized the location’s draw.

Eventually they built Dove Lodge, then added private cabins and a recreational center. Horseback riding and other soft adventures were added to the ranch’s offerings.

And because the couple had enjoyed many wonderful Thai massage treatments during their trips to Thailand over the years, they decided to bring that experience to the ranch.

That’s when the Baan Thai Spa was born. A well-known Thai architect was hired to design North America’s first Baan Thai spa pavilion and massage therapists were brought in from Thailand.

The result is an authentic Asian spa experience in the heart of the Canadian wilderness. In addition to the usual western treatments, Thai spa packages are also offered, including the popular luk pra kob treatment. A luk pra kob is a blend of herbs wrapped in cloth. The compress is steamed and applied all over the body for relief of aches and stress.

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