Booking Our Room at the Watermark
I decided to use my $200 annual travel credit from American Express towards a one night stay at the Osoyoos Watermark Beach Resort in a two bedroom suite for my birthday weekend. My boyfriend Johnny, and our three dogs, Trevor, Stacy and Hemi would be coming along for the ride, since the Watermark is a pet friendly hotel with no pet restrictions.
Generally this resort is booked solid in the summer months, however, it offers exceptional value in the winter off season months and is a relatively quiet time of year in comparison.
I’ve stayed at this property several times before, dating back to 2012 so I was excited to revisit an old favourite, and take the scenic 3 hour road trip from Chilliwack to Osoyoos with a stop in Manning Park to let the dogs run free on a frozen Lightning Lake.
I was able to redeem my $200 annual travel credit from American Express by calling Platinum services and having the phone rep book the room for me, as it was not available on American Express Travel website. I had to phone in and they used their alternate booking system. Not sure why that’s the case, but if you have an American Express Platinum card, or are curious about the annual travel credit, check out our beginners guide, and a step-by-step guide for how to redeem the travel credit.
The $200 travel credit went a long way for this trip. Taxes included, our room cost $243, so out of pocket we only paid $43 plus the $25 pet fee for a 2 bedroom lakefront suite with a kitchen.
We booked a city view room, but since it was my birthday, I put in a special request to be upgraded to a lake view, and was hopeful there might be a welcome amenity waiting for me as well!
The 2 bedroom suite is approximately 836 sq ft.
- Each suite has either a view of the Osoyoos Lakeside or the town of Osoyoos
- King-size bed in master bedroom with second TV as well as three-piece en-suite bathroom
- Queen-size pullout sofa bed in living room
- Queen-size bed in second bedroom
- Second three-piece bathroom off of living room
- Indoor and outdoor dining table for six
- Fully-equipped gourmet kitchen including stove, fridge/freezer, dishwasher, microwave, blender & coffee maker, as well as china and cookware
- In-suite washer/dryer
Checking Into the Watermark Beach Resort
We picked a great day to visit Osoyoos, as the town’s annual Christmas parade was happening that night. Check in was at 2pm, but we arrived closer to 3:30pm. Check out time is 11am, however we were granted a late checkout of 12pm which was appreciated so we could enjoy the hot tub a little longer.
The Watermark was busy decorating the lobby with Christmas trees and it was a really fun vibe. I was even informed that a special guest was staying at the hotel, true to the hotel’s very pet friendly policy, Larry the Llama was in town filming a Hallmark movie!
After getting our room key, we were able to park the truck in the secure underground parkade. Secure parking is a plus anytime of year, but I especially appreciate it in the winter months.
The lobby has a cozy sitting area with a fireplace, and next to it is the entrance to The Restaurant at Watermark – wine bar, restaurant and patio. I’m a big fan of any restaurant that offers locally inspired cuisine, and with Okanagan wine pairings to go with, that’s a double win.
We took the very quick elevator ride up to floor 2 to find our room. Every time we used the elevators they were very quick to arrive. The hotel isn’t busy in the winter months, so I’d be interested to see if there are any wait times in the summer.
Birthday Amenity and Lake View Upgrade
To my delight we received a lakefront view upgrade that I had requested, and there was even a birthday card waiting for me with a voucher for a free dessert or appetizer to be redeemed in the lobby restaurant! I get really excited over upgrades, free food, swag and basically any extra frills, so this was a great start to the trip.
We had plans to use the voucher the following day before checkout, but unfortunately I didn’t realize the restaurant was operating under its seasonal hours. So when we went down around 11am we found out it didn’t open until 3pm, and by that point we had planned to be on the road home. What a tease!
Watermark Beach Resort 2 Bedroom Suite Review, Osoyoos, BC
The Balcony and View of Osoyoos Lake
The lake view is incredible, and a necessity in my opinion if you’re staying here. We had a great vantage point even though we weren’t facing the lake straight on. I liked that we had the grassy area down below us, and had a nice view of the pool and restaurant patio as well.
I love the balconies at the Watermark. They all seem to be a decent size with a table to seat 6, whether you’re facing the lake or the city. It’s just a really neat spot to hang out, and admire the views, and it’s a good size for entertaining.
Even though it was mostly cloudy and chilly during our stay, it didn’t bother me in the least because it’s very quiet around the property and the beach, and it makes it easier to take the dogs out and let them have fun.
The Fully Stocked Kitchen
The kitchen was very well stocked and could easily accommodate a family for a long term stay, or anyone wanting to host a dinner party. I would feel totally comfortable cooking dinner for a group of people here, which I think is a rare find at hotels, especially at this price point during the off season (can you say Christmas party idea?)
It should be noted that these rooms are essentially apartments, and there isn’t room service, like there is in a traditional hotel. Instead, you have everything you need to stay longterm. In fact, many of the suites at the Watermark are available for purchase.
The kitchen is well stocked with adequate storage space and a number of kitchen amenities including:
- Range oven
- Fridge and freezer
- Pots and pans
- Plates and bowls
- Salad spinner
- Cooking utensils
There were ice cube trays in the freezer, but there was not ready made ice available. However, our floor had an ice machine just down the hall.
You can see everything that’s included in the kitchen throughout the pictures. I also like how there’s a blender to make summer drinks, or smoothies, which is good to note so you can prepare your ingredients beforehand.
As well stocked as the kitchen was, I was surprised, and will be reminded at every hotel stay going forward to bring plenty of bottled water, since there was none provided in the room.
Bottled water in a hotel room isn’t something I normally focus on, but with the bad tasting tap water, and us literally located in a desert, I would have assumed bottled water in the room was a given. I would say it’s essential to stock up on bottled water before your visit. The tap water IS drinkable, it just isn’t great tasting nor thirst quenching.
Main Bathroom, Utility Closet, and In-suite Laundry
Next to the kitchen is a utility closet with an iron, ironing board, broom and plenty of storage space. There’s also in-suite laundry which is a huge plus! We visited the hot tub in the evening, and in the morning, and it was incredibly nice to throw our swimsuits and robes in the dryer between visits.
Then there’s the main bathroom with a nice tile shower. There are towels, lotion, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and soap provided.
Main Living Area
The dining table included 4 chairs, but could accommodate 6 people if needed. The living room was comfortable, except for the glass top on the coffee table which seemed to slide around and was an easy target for someone’s knees, kids, or dogs running into. We ended up placing it on the dining room table as it was a hazard. Safety first.
There is Telus cable TV which has basic programming, and movies available. There is also free high speed Internet included in the room. I checked to see if there was Netflix but couldn’t find it on the Telus programming guide. There is also a DVD player available. We ended up plugging our phones into the back of the TV to charge, which wasn’t ideal.
The rooms are in need of a technology refresh. I would like to see some proper USB chargers installed in the room, Netflix, and some modern alarm clocks. Bring your USB adapters.
Master Bedroom and Second Bedroom
The second bedroom has a queen bed, a sliding door closet, dresser, and TV. It’s a good size and is across the living room/kitchen area from the master bedroom.
The master bedroom is spacious and has a similar layout to the second bedroom, except it features a king size bed and the ensuite bathroom. The bathtub shower combo is a standard size with a towel rack and handrails. The bathroom itself is a really comfortable size.
Overall, I really enjoy the rooms at the Watermark. They’re very comfortable, well thought out, and the kitchen is exceptionally well stocked (with the exception of bottled water).
The Watermark is Extremely Pet Friendly!
Ok, let me clarify when I say “pet friendly”. Pet friendly means different things to different hotels. Some “pet friendly hotels” charge $50 a night, for 1 dog, to a maximum of 25lbs. I wouldn’t call that pet friendly at all.
On the other hand, the Fairmont embraces pets which is why they are one of my favourite hotel brands. They have set the standard in my mind for what a pet friendly hotel should be.
However, as pet friendly as the Fairmont is, there is a 2 pet restriction per room. That was normally fine when I was just travelling with Trevor and Stacy, my two German Shepherds. I’m pretty sure they’re the only two German Shepherds that have stay at almost every luxury hotel in Vancouver.
But now, enter Hemi, my boyfriend’s 125lb Rottweiler. We have a pack of 80’s dogs, and they go everywhere with us. That’s 300lbs and 12 legs combined. And they have hair. LOTS of hair. I understand objectively why most hotels wouldn’t allow all of them in the room. But the Watermark actually is THAT pet friendly.
We were able to bring all 3 of our fur kids along for my birthday weekend (because what is a birthday weekend without dogs?) for a reasonable $25 pet fee. Although we only stayed one night and were charged that, my understanding is that fee would have been applied to our entire stay.
Proud dog mom side note: I’m super proud of how well all our dogs behaved during our stay! Look how pleased they are, acting like they own Osoyoos!
Pool / Hot Tubs / Steam Rooms
Unfortunately during the off season, the pool and waterslide are closed. The kid in me really, really, really wishes the pool was heated and open during the winter months, but to make up for it, the hot tub is HUGE! I think it would be fair to say that a hot tub this size doesn’t exist at most 5 star hotels. I’m struggling to think of one that exists in Vancouver, BC, which commands a much higher room rate.
We made a point to visit the hot tub in the evening and in the morning before checkout, and it was certainly one of the highlights of the stay. It was very relaxing to be a nice size hot tub, with just a couple of other guests the first night, and we had it to ourselves in the morning. It was heated to the perfect temperature, and the jets are powerful and seem to stay on a long time.
The change room had easily accessible showers with glass doors, lockers, bathroom stalls, and sinks. I was surprised to see there were no towels provided in the change room though! We didn’t bring our own down from the room, but we did wear our robes down. Lesson learned. Bring your own towels down.
Oh, but did I mention there is a steam room?! There are steam rooms in the men’s and women’s bathrooms. The steam room was off when I took the picture, but after I turned the switch on, it took a few minutes to get going, and it was great!
Spa and Fitness Center
We didn’t have enough time to visit the yoga and fitness studio, Breathe Fitness, or the Levia Spa, but here are a couple of pictures of the facilities (property of the Watermark Beach Resort website).
Getting Into The Christmas Spirit
Before dinner, we had the pleasure of walking our 3 dog up town and sharing in the Christmas spirit. Shop vendors were handing out popcorn and apple cider, and other treats I’m sure. It was a really neat experience to see everyone dressed up and the town was lit up.
We had planned to visit the Owl Pub right nextdoor to the Watermark for dinner, but was informed they were closed for a private Christmas party. Instead, we ended up eating at the Boston Pizza which is attached to the Watermark. Can’t go wrong with pizza, beer, and ranch dip.
After the parade, Santa, Mrs. Claus and Santa’s Elf came into the Boston Pizza and took their time to take photos with everyone. What a fun Christmas vibe!
Should You Stay At the Watermark?
Absolutely. I’ve thought this hotel has been a hidden gem for years, and now since I’m involved with PointsWise, here I am doing a review for it.
I just can’t think of a hotel near my home, and as it was this was a 3 hour drive, that offers better value, a better location, better staff, better hard product, is pet friendly, and lakefront, that isn’t a 5 star hotel.
The rooms aren’t flashy. It doesn’t pretend to be anything it’s not. The Watermark just gets it right.
I’m more of a small town girl so take my recommendation accordingly, but it should be no secret why retirees sell their home in Vancouver to come live at the Watermark in small town Osoyoos, BC. What more could you want?