SLEEP MASTERS
Finding Echo Valley Ranch & Spa
An interview by Yvan Vermeesch

The XO Private Founder, Yvan Vermeesch, sits down for the exclusive interview series with Norm Dove, Owner & Founder of Echo Valley Ranch & Spa. Echo Valley Ranch & Spa is a unique combination of many things coming together, the incredible geography, the animals and birds, the people who live and visit, their home, and much more. They all contribute to what makes Echo Valley Ranch & Spa a unique and an ideal place to connect with nature, oneself, and feel what wellness is really all about.

W

hen did you start your Echo Valley Ranch & Spa adventure? What motivated you?

During 1991/92 I was going through the final stages of selling a company that I founded in 1972, having reached the point in my life when I wanted to put operating a corporate business behind me. It was time for a lifestyle change. During this period, my wife, Nan, and I took my mother and close family members to a ranch that is 10 kilometres away from what is now Echo Valley Ranch & Spa; a wrangler at that ranch told me of a beautiful property that was up for sale. Upon arrival at the property, an instant feeling of peace came over my wife and I; it is a truly beautiful property which we believe was put in our path, as a gift, since we were not looking to purchase property at that time. I decided to purchase the property there and then, for our family and close friends to use and enjoy.

How long did it take you to get the property up and running in the way you envisioned it? What were the major challenges and hurdles you came across?

The first building was the one we call the Dove Lodge, its purpose being to accommodate friends and family should they decide to spend time there. I did not have any deadlines to meet; it was simply a joy to design and have it built, with hurdles dealt with as they came along; that is, stress-free. By now, I had sold my company, so had time on my hands, I like building things so over the following ten years added new buildings, one by one, again I was under no stress at all.

In 1994, Nan and I moved from our condo in North Vancouver to live in the Dove Lodge, our new home; in 1995 we decided to open up our home to share the experience of living there with others, we had decided at that time to open a guest ranch.  

My wife, Nanthawan, was with me throughout the development of Echo Valley Ranch and she, of course, influenced the construction of the Baan Thai and Thai Spa, seeing as Nan is from Thailand. 
"Echo Valley Ranch & Spa a unique and an ideal place to connect with nature, oneself, and feel what wellness is really all about."
"The trend is towards more people wanting to experience and connect with nature"
"Echo Valley Ranch is in harmony with nature and exudes a feeling of peace and wonder"
When asked to describe the DNA of Echo Valley Ranch & Spa, how would that sound?

Echo Valley Ranch & Spa is Norm and Nan Dove's home, all who visit with us feel at home, and at peace with themselves and their surroundings.

Was starting a hospitality business a natural career evolution for you? What did you do before kicking off Echo Valley Ranch & Spa?

I had no intention of starting a business; it was a natural evolution of leaving the corporate world to one more meaningful, connected to nature. I was the CEO and President of a company I founded in 1972.

I am a mechanical engineer, with thirty-two patents to my name, for products that control the cross-machine paper variables of paper as made on papermaking machines.

Which are your most important geographical markets in terms of guests today? Which new markets are you seeking to enter?

Post-Covid, our markets will be in Europe, USA and Canada.

The industry has changed significantly over the years. What trend or similar has impacted your operations most?

The trend is towards more people wanting to experience and connect with nature; we have always serviced such a market but anticipate more demand for the experience we offer.

Echo Valley Ranch sits on a truly unique location for this, at the intersection of four distinct geographic regions, Echo Valley is surrounded by a diverse range of natural beauty.

We’ve complemented this oasis with an extraordinary range of soft adventures and wellness programs. Making it the perfect place to connect, with spectacular surroundings, sharing a sense of community, adventure, and stimulating your senses, mind, body and soul.
"Echo Valley Ranch is in harmony with nature and exudes a feeling of peace and wonder"
"The trend is towards more people wanting to experience and connect with nature"
Which are the most unique experiences available to your guests both on as well as off property?

We have many unique experiences made possible by our wilderness location, at the centre of four different geographic regions. Guests from a city or urban environment find many experiences to be unique. The most important of all is that the experience of being at Echo Valley Ranch & Spa awakens their wonder.

Could you share a most inspiring or hilarious anecdote that happened under your watch at your property?

We are inspired by the friendships we form with our guests, and sharing with them the magic, the transitional feelings, they experience, having connected with nature, a strong feeling of a spiritual nature.

You have been operating in British Columbia, Canada for quite some years. How has your destination developed over the years and what are the USPs of your corner of the world in comparison with other regions/destinations?

We are in a unique location, amid four geographical areas that make possible a diverse range of experiences, Echo Valley Ranch is in harmony with nature and exudes a feeling of peace and wonder. 

What would be your most important piece of advice for anyone seeking to start a similar adventure?

Only do so if it is something that resonates with who you are, do not do so if the driving force is to make money.

What has come together in Echo Valley is a focal point amid four distinctly different geographic regions. It’s a “Spirit of Place”, an area where life-giving water is supplied from the caverns of the Marble Range mountains, where the air is pure, where the absence of city lights reveals an infinite amount of stars, where city noise is replaced by the music of living beings we share this valley with.

I believe that everyone who visits this special place we call home - was meant to do so. And they discover and feel for the first time in a long while, a spiritual connection with nature and the universe around us.
"Surrounded by an abundance of life, Echo Valley Ranch & Spa was built with pride in the midst of one of the most beautiful places on earth"
Norm Dove, Owner & Founder of Echo Valley Ranch & Spa
Yvan Vermeesch
                          
A Belgian by birth, Yvan Vermeesch grew up across Africa before heading to the Caribbean followed by the stunning city of Prague before calling the Mediterranean island of Mallorca home. Always looking to innovate across the board and with a clear penchant for everything experiential in travel, Yvan Vermeesch takes great pride in connecting the finest players in bespoke travel around the globe.
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