North Okanagan Travel
Last month we had a few occasions to be in the North Okanagan – specifically Kamloops and Salmon Arm. We stayed at two different hotels on two different visits and thought we would share our feedback for all of you travelling to the Interior this summer.

Hotel 540 – Kamloops
“The 540” is located in downtown Kamloops. It used to be known as the Stockman’s Hotel but has undergone a transformation under new ownership. It is a transformation indeed. When we lived in Kamloops from 1997 – 1999 the hotel looked completely different and was surely in need of an upgrade then. We stayed in a Club Room (higher than Standard and Deluxe but lower than the Junior Club Suites and the Club Suites). The in-room renovations included a 37″ flat screen TV, bar fridge, complimentary bottled water, a walk-in shower, wine glasses (nice touch) and robes. There was still work in progress as the Standard Rooms were currently being renovated to bring them in line with the other room types. The lounge, restaurant and meeting spaces have also been renovated and the whole facility has been given new energy efficient windows, individual heat/air conditioning units and low demand showers. The best upgrade to us was that the internet was PERFECT! To us, this is almost the most important feature in any hotel and after speaking to the General Manager we were told how much effort was made to ensure that the signal was strong in every room and throughout ‘every nook and cranny’ of the hotel.

We spent two nights at the hotel and the front desk staff was fast and friendly with both check-in and check-out. We ate breakfast one morning in Café 540 and enjoyed fast and friendly service and good food. We tried the Eggs Blackstone and a Ham and Cheese Omlette (guess who had which). The Eggs Blackstone was an eggs benny with tomato instead of ham. The hollandaise was very good as were the hashbrowns.

Before this trip we spent a significant amount of time searching the internet for a new hotel in Kamloops that had the services and amenities we were looking for. While technically not new the renovation and upgraded amenities and services make Hotel 540 the best choice. And the internet is great for business travelers.

Podollan Inn – Salmon Arm
The Podollan Inn had only been open about a year when we lived in Kamloops (until 2005) and while we had been on a tour of the hotel we had never stayed there. After searching the internet for rates at The Prestige Inn, the Podollan Inn and the Holiday Inn Express, the Podollan Inn gave us the best room for the best price and a good location. The hotel is located right on Highway #1 so is good if you are just passing through. The hotel has great views of Shuswap Lake and the snow on the mountains (which was not supposed to be there in May). The rooms are individually decorated so I cannot comment on the décor except for the room we were in, which was OK. The bathroom was large, which we like since ours at home is so small, and featured a walk-in shower. The best part of the room was the duvet which was just the right weight and not too hot. While the weather was not great for swimming the free form pool and grounds would be a great reason to stay here in summer. The service was average at check-in and check-out. Not too slow but the staff member was focused on other tasks than just us in both cases.

Salmon Arm does not offer many choices in dining beyond the neighborhood pub (which there are many) and Boston Pizza. Since it was a Canucks Game night we opted for the Boston Pizza because we new that the TV’s would be ample and the pizza good. It was not even very busy so we got a large booth right in front of the TV for the night.

If you have any questions about our experiences at ether of these hotels leave a comment or send us a tweet.

We are embarking on a 12 day route through the Kootenays in mid-June for a bit of work and a bit of vacation and will share our hotel experiences from then as well.