Sparkling Hill Resort: Home to a Structural Gem

Sparkling Hill Resort is a six-story boutique hotel in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley. Its design is based on the concept of a luxury European spa and wellness treatment center, and guests can consult with onsite physicians, nutritionists, and physiotherapists, as well as medical and spa practitioners.  
Sparkling Hill Resort
The hotel offers a variety of services, including cryotherapy, reputed to help relieve frozen shoulder syndrome and arthritis. Clients hardy enough to sign up for this treatment spend up to three minutes in a cold sauna (the first of its type in North America) set to -110 degrees Celsius.  


The owner of the resort is none other than Gernot Langes-Swarovski, creator of the world-famous crystal artwork and jewelry line. In keeping with the building’s legacy, the entrance to the resort was designed to resemble a diamond or crystal that had fallen from the sky.
A geometrically complex steel structure supports a floating glazing system, and this presented a unique challenge: the glass entrance was designed in three-dimensional coordinates, with the whole resembling an asymmetrical geodesic sphere. The framework consists of thirty-eight lengths of pipe, joined together at twenty-four vertex points. None of the vertex points attach directly to the concrete structure of the building, and only two reference points on the framework link to known grid lines. 
For the survey methods they developed to build the entranceway, PCL received an innovation award from the Southern Interior Construction Association.


Geography and climate were complicating factors, as well. The hotel is perched at the very top of Royce Mountain and had to be essentially blasted into the rock, as PCL general superintendent Gord Hiebert describes it. Also making construction difficult was a harsh winter that was followed by the threat of forest fires.
But nature also has a gentler side: with Okanagan Lake on one side, and Kalamalka Lake on the other, the resort overlooks the Predator Ridge golf course. Many on the project team felt it was the most picturesque location they had ever worked in. “We had no problem finding crane operators,” PCL construction manager Wayne Bilawchuk said, “because they could set up in that beautiful landscape.”
A sparkling jewel set in an exquisite natural setting: that’s what everyone who helped built Sparkling Hill had a hand in creating.