First-time oenophile tourists to the Okanagan usually come away with two thoughts: these are the most beautiful vineyards on the continent; and, the lodging isn’t quite there yet. We have some top drawer urban hotels (the Nick Bevanda-designed annex to the Penticton Lakeside Resort pops to mind) and some great rooms attached to wineries (Burrowing Owl is the OG; Hester Creek; the modern rooms at Orofino) but we don’t have that wine country inn that’s so prevalent in California—great design, great food, cool, stylish owners who know all the good wineries to hit.
Chef Ned Bell. Photo by John Holland.
Until now. Chef Ned Bell, wife Kate Colley and partners Maria Wiesner and Paul Hollands have transformed the 112 years of raw potential that was the Naramata Inn into our first great wine country lodging. The Okanagan-born Bell has perhaps the greatest Western Canadian resumé (Calgary’s Murrieta, Kelowna’s Cabana, Vancouver’s Yew, OceanWise) and early reports from the kitchen are stellar. The 12 rooms are that right blend of thread count, casual and location. In a season of staying close to home, we finally have our own Napa experience.
Photo by John Holland.
Apricot Halibut from the Naramata Inn. Photo by John Holland.