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Sunchaser Vacation Villas at Riverside
Reviewed July 26, 2008

After reading the other reviews on Fairmont Vacation Villas at Riverside, I was expecting the worst. Maybe something akin to a Motel 6. However, I was pleasantly surprised by our unit and the friendly Fairmont Vacation Villa staff. We had the 1 bedroom unit with the pull out couch.

Contrary to what other commentators noted, we did have air conditioning and it looked like all the other units at Riverside did as well. Perhaps that is a recent addition. The ceiling fans in the two rooms helped circulate the air as well. We had family staying at Hillside and they too had a/c and ceiling fans. Yes, the kitchen is small but you can't really do anything about that now that the units are built. So, we put our coffee maker and toaster on the breakfast table vice the burners to counter the potential fire hazard. When washing the dishes, we just put the dish rack on the floor with a towel under it. The Hillside unit had a built in dishwasher. We did NOT see any bird droppings whatsoever. Perhaps the swallows don't nest in July.

Our room seemed very clean, including the carpet, which was nice since we had an infant with us. I thought the furnishings, bedspreads, window coverings, and wall paper were nice. I liked the free laundry machines that our unit shared with the unit next door (they even had detergent for us) and I was surprised at the size of the fridge and how many kitchen items were present.

My family at Hillside noted that they didn't have enough towel racks and the window treatments did not block out much sun so it made it hard to put the kids to bed since the sun goes down so lat there. Also, those units would be much nicer if the countertops were upgraded to granite. I hear there are major upgrades in progress, maybe that is one of them. Finally, the wireless router must be at the Rec Center near Riverside so our laptop didn't work real well from Hillside but worked great from Riverside.

The only disappointment was the Riverside Golf Course. Save your money! We played at Copper Point for the same price and there was NO comparison. CP had brand new GPS golf carts, the range balls were free and were new Nike balls, the rental clubs were brand new Nike clubs, and the course was beautiful. This is opposed to the expensive Riverside with mosquitos everywhere, garage sale rental clubs, ugly and costly range balls, old carts, and a mediocre course. They say it is an "award winning course." I'm not sure what decade it won the "award" or what type of award they won but I would NOT play there again. Now that was like a Motel 6 and Copper Point was like a Hyatt.

We did not find the local market to be costly. In fact, we prepared most of our meals in our units using the BBQ and saved a ton of $ that we used to go to the hot spring pools, Banff, Lake Louise, white water rafting etc...

One thing we did not know was that we needed to buy a pass at the Radium Hot Springs Park Entrance to stop at Lake Louise. The sign said to buy a pass if you were stopping in the park. We didn't realize that Lake Louise counted as part of the park and, apparently, you can only buy the passes at the entrances to the park. So, we parked at Lake Louise with no pass. In the end, we didn't get a ticket but we felt bad about it. Oh, we couldn't any real good restaurants or places to eat near Lake Louise except at the Fairmont Hotel so keep that in mind of you are doing Banff and LL the same day.

One thing that the Fairmont Vacation Villas did was have a calendar of things to do all day long. Great stuff for the kids and good free hikes etc...I found it funny that they added things like Tupperware parties, Mary Kay makeovers, and Partylite candle parties. Maybe this is something Canadians enjoy but I just found it to be funny. I certainly wouldn't buy those things there just to transport them all the way home to the US.

In sum, I thought the location was lovely and the unit was just fine. The mountains were breathtaking, the valley was beautiful, and the air was clean. We enjoyed our week there and would consider going back.

  • Stayed: July 2008, traveled with family
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4  Thank Shelby H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed August 18, 2007

The Columbia Valley is largely undiscovered by U.S. Citizens, and so it is off the beaten track. More people should discover this bbeautiful, and largely unspoiled area of the world.

We booked our stay at the Fairmont Hot Springs Riverside Villas as a timeshare exchange with Interval International. The distinction between the Riverside, Hillside and Riverview Villas is important. The Riverside Villas are the least well-equipped in the complex. We booked sight-unseen, and consider ourselves lucky, since we got a fairly reasonable unit in the Riverside section. The Hillside Villas are a separate complex. This is a large vacation complex. It has no proprietory relationship with the Fairmont Hot Springs Lodge, though there has been an attempt to brand everything in town with the same logo. The Fairmont Hot Springs Lodge is at a distance from the Vacation Villas, and they do offer a discount to guests at the villas.

Anyone staying here should call first before booking and be explicit about the amenities. We were fortunate to be in the 800 building. We had air-conditioning, and a readily available washer-drier adjacent to our modest one-bedroom unit with queen bed and hide-a-bed sofa. Two televisions and a DVD player were also in the unit. There was also a medium-sized refrigerator with a freezer, a combination microwave/convection unit, two electric burners and a reasonably full set of kitchen equipment. As mentioned by others, the counter space in the kitchen was inadequate, requiring the dish drainer, the coffee pot or the toaster to be placed on the electric burners or in the sink to operate them--a potential fire hazard. A nice touch was a gas grill on every balcony shared by two units.

The cooking facilities are important, because food in the area is mediocre and horrendously expensive. We paid $25 for two Greek salads and kababs at a take-out food stand. The local grocery store is hugely overpriced. Supermarkets at Invermere, 20 minutes away and some skills with electric burner cookery are important factors in keeping well fed and within a vacation budget.

However, many other units were not so well equipped. Air conditioning and washer-driers were absent from many units, and they were the cause of frequent complaints by other guests.

The Riverview and Hillside Villas are generally better equipped and more luxurious.

Golf, tennis, two swimming pool complexes and lots of opportunites for hiking in the beautiful mountains, as well as nearby hot springs made this a great environment for a vacation.

There were literally hundreds of very small children at this resort. For those who have children, this may be welcome, but for couples coming without children, this may be a distraction. The best place for adults to congregate may be the bar at the Riverside golf course, which has occasional entertainment.

  • Stayed: August 2007, traveled as a couple
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8  Thank wbeeman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 4, 2006

My stay at the Fairmont Vacation Villas at Riverside in Fairmont Hot Springs was my worts vacation experience in my 59 years.

General Conditions
The area surrounding the unit, in particular the steps and the outside vestibule were filled with bird droppings from the swallows that had nests in the rafters. Some of the steps had torn pieces of cardboard, which were removed every few days and replaced with a fresh piece of cardboard, which was soon covered with new droppings. When I complained, I was told that the government did not permit the removal of the nests and that the areas were supposed to be washed down daily. THE AREAS WERE NOT WASHED DOWN, LEAVING A DISGUSTING, UNHEALTHY AND UNSIGHTLY MESS THAT HAD TO BE STEPPED OVER IN ORDER TO GAIN ACCESS TO THE UNIT!

The cement patio/balcony was all broken-up and crumbling, making it impossible to walk on it without shoes or other foot coverings.

Apartment Conditions
Bedroom
One tiny window, approximately 8” by 16” that opened onto what would be the equivalent of a shaft way, was the only ventilation and natural light in the room. As there was only a ceiling fan and no air conditioning, the room was extremely uncomfortable to sleep in.

Kitchen
There was no counter space. There was a sink right next to the electric stovetop (2 burners). The entire area was approx 36” by 20”, including the sink and stovetop. The only electrical receptacle in the entire kitchen area was above the stovetop. If you wanted to make coffee or toast, you had to place them on top of the burners. It was impossible to make eggs and toast, eggs and coffee or coffee and toast at the same time. When you washed the dishes, you had to place the dish drain on top of the burners.

Housekeeping
None

Towels
Provided upon arrival, but when asked for fresh ones, I was told in a very snide way that is what the washer and dryer in the common area were for.

  • Stayed: July 2006, traveled as a couple
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11  Thank Jake0512
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
231
Reviewed October 7, 2004

Fairmont Resorts - The location is ideal. It is in the Kootenay Area of British Columbia and as such is close to several British Columbia/Alberta National Parks. We enjoyed our drives from here to Banff, Kootenay, Glacier, and Yoho National Parks. It is also close to a hot springs - the closest being just up the hill from the condo; the second being up at Radium Hot Springs (simply wonderful!). We enjoyed local exploring including the Railroad Museum at Creston; the Fort there; and visiting many rivers and lakes. Watching the Canadian Railroads (for rail road buffs) is quite fun in this area!

As for the resort itself, we very much enjoyed the inside of our condo - too bad however they did not put in air conditioning. The buildings are so well insulated you had to open the windows, the fan, etc. to sleep comfortably.

The furnishings themselves were quite comfortable and we enjoyed it. We found the golf course quite pleasant - but the rest of the grounds doesn't quite fit into the British Columbia Experience. They could have spent some thought and time into putting in more landscaping to make it fit better into the beautiful local surroundings. Instead we had a quite big covered patio - with simply a view of the parking lot. Ugh!!!! They could have easily put in trees, etc. and did some thinking.

In addition, they have lots of daily activities to keep everyone busy. This is a plus...however the lodge itself should have again looked more like a mountain lodge. Instead, it looked like your average church hall - stark, boring, and a tad worn. They closed the pool at the lodge while we were there and even though they had another pool did not even take the time to compensage by longer hours there. In short, the resort is great for a place to park yourself at night, but not one to enjoy during the day (except the golf course).

The people at the lodge were interesting.....We checked in and they warned us not to eat at the restaurant but instead to eat at a local filling station???? Luckly there are many fine restaurants in the area (especially if you like German and European cooking) so we were able to enjoy the foods in the area.

In short - the location is a plus; the inside of the condo is great----but the place itself needs to start to decide how to make the place much more beautiful and fit into the local surroundings.

27  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 5, 2003

We stayed at Fairmont Mountainside Vacation Villas. The condo was lovely and we were right on a picturesque part of the golf course. The amenities at the Recreation center are free, including pool and hot tubs. There are also the spa and hot springs nearby for a reduced fee if you are staying at the Villas. Just down the trail at the hot springs are canyon type run offs of warm hot springs water, there is a waterfall and a pool of water which is simply lovely to swim in.

I have one complaint. Our unit was supposed to have one bedroom and a "comfortable" pullout in the living room....HA! The pullout was such torture I was willing to pay ANYTHING to be upgraded. The woman I spoke to about this was actually rude, and refused to upgrade us, as there were only 4 adults in our unit. The end result is that I slept in my Van at a 5 star resort. Have I been duped? I think it is possible..........

  • Stayed: June 2003
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31  Thank SolangeDelamer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 14, 2012
Google Translation

  • Stayed: June 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank jjalon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 24, 2012
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  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled with family
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Thank gigiduru
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Sunchaser Vacation Villas at Riverside

Address: 5129 Riverview Gate Rd | Highways 93 & 95, Fairmont Hot Springs, British Columbia V0B 1L0, Canada (Formerly Fairmont Vacation Villas)
Location: Canada > British Columbia > Kootenay Rockies > Fairmont Hot Springs
Amenities:
Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 4 Hotels in Fairmont Hot Springs
Price Range: $78 - $124 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 116
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Also Known As:
Sunchaser Vacation Villas At Riverside Hotel Fairmont Hot Springs
Fairmont Vacation Hotel

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