We made the Lake Okanagan Resort the centerpiece of our Northwest vacation because of a segment about the place that I saw on a San Francisco Bay area travel show on television. The TV show highlighted a beautiful, gleaming place sited alongside a sparkling lake where you could rent bicycles or boats to loll along the day. You could also play golf or tennis on the immense grounds. At night, you could dine in an elegant white pyramidal building with a great looking lounge.
Today, Lake Okanagan Resort looks nothing like it did in the travel show. The gleaming white pyramid, shown all lit up in the resort’s advertising photos, is no longer open for dining and is not lit at night. Based on comments left on other TripAdvisor reviews, it closed last year.
There’s a much smaller restaurant that’s still open beneath the pyramid and you can choose to eat indoors or outdoors on he adjacent patio. Both times we used the restaurant, some nearby lout was speaking loudly into his cellphone conducting some sort of business (two different louts) and there was no escape for us, which was unfortunate considering that we and the lout were pretty much the only restaurant customers each time. Dinner was tasty but very, very rich. Breakfast included stale croissants for two of us. These were quickly replaced by the wait staff with hot microwaved (resuscitated) croissants.
A note about the staff: they were uniformly polite, cheerful, helpful, and friendly. No problems there.
Speaking of escape, be aware that Lake Okanagan Resort is 10 miles down a narrow 2-lane, winding lakefront road from the main highway into Kelowna, so you’re pretty much of a captive audience. You’re not going to zip into town on the spur of the moment. That’s OK if you plan to use the finely manicured 9-hole, par-3 golf course, the tennis courts, or the lake amenities.
Of course if it rains, as it did while we stayed at Lake Okanagan Resort you can’t play tennis or golf or use the lake and none of us did while we were there. Perhaps that’s our fault, coming in too early in the season, but we were told the weather we encountered was unusual. Just our bad luck. However, be advised that if it rains, you either drive into town for the day or watch DVDs, which is what we did. DVD rentals are almost $5 a pop at the small resort store behind the check-in desk, which also carries a limited selection of junk food. If you want actual groceries to cook in the kitchenette, be sure to bring them with you. The larger resort store is also now closed up.
The rooms we stayed in are from the 1970s or early 1980s, as announced by the almond bathroom fixtures. There’s nothing wrong with the fixtures, so no complaints there. However, the mattresses are also quite old and have taken quite a set in the middles (at least for the two rooms our two couples had). As a result, both couples elected to split up and sleep in separate beds. That was much more comfortable than rolling together into the mattress valley in the middle of the night.
The kitchenette studio rooms we had were actually pretty comfortable with the exception of the beds and the between-room floor noise. Another party checked in above us the second night we stayed and they sounded like a herd of elephants clomping around. We also heard a lot of nail squeaks from the overhead flooring. Suffice it to say there’s virtually no sound insulation in the floors of the unit we stayed in, so be sure to ask for a top-floor room if you’re sensitive to noise. However, be aware that there are no elevators, so you’ll be carrying luggage up those stairs.
There are spacious grounds, which require a fair amount of uphill and downhill walking. I’m not in particularly good shape but I was able to walk back and forth to the restaurant without much trouble and I enjoyed the walk. The grounds are actually very well kept and very pretty. We attempted to take a less hilly route back after dinner the first night and discovered some clay tennis courts that are now cracked and weedy and are being used for boat-trailer parking. We also discovered a couple of dumps for fill dirt, concrete, and old discarded furniture. These too don’t appear in the advertising photos but they’re hard by the walking trails prominently featured in the resort’s marketing.
One day was enough for us. We decided to check out a day early (there’s just nothing to do when it rains but read, watch TV, or rent DVDs). The power went out at 2:30am prior to our departure confirming our decision to leave early. Without power, there’s truly nothing to do during a rainy day at Lake Okanagan Resort. I followed up on this incident online and found out that nearly 2000 BC Hydro electricity customers lost power along the west shore of Lake Okanagan that day, thanks to a bird’s nest built on a power pole that shorted out the power lines in the heavy rain. The power pole caught fire so the repairs took a while. The power didn’t come back on until 7pm that evening. By then, we’d driven back across the border and across the state of Washington to Seattle.
We paid $139 a night for our rooms. That’s about what we’d pay for a chain motel but on a nice day, you could have gotten tennis, golf, and a spectacular view for the same price at Lake Okanagan Resort. Instead, unfortunately, it rained. It could have been great, but for us it was all more of a disappointment.
If you're sensitive to noise, ask for a top-floor room but be prepared to carry your bags up the...
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.