British Columbia Hotels
Clayoquot Wilderness Resort
UNESCO Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Reserve, Tofino
This sustainability-minded, hyper-luxe hotel-slash-campsite nestled into the stunning UNESCO Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Reserve is one of those once-in-a-lifetime experience. The team does everything for you, from picking you upon arrival via a floatplane to catering to every hospitality need when you're staying in your own private–and lavish–safari-style tent. The daily activities are seemingly endless, from hiking to horseback riding to salmon fishing–all of which leave you hungry and even more appreciative of the decadent, local, chef-prepared meals served daily. There's even a spa on location, offering restorative massages and yoga.
The Wickaninnish Inn
Wickaninnish Inn, Osprey Lane, Tofino
With the rolling waves of the Pacific Ocean out front, a dense rainforest in the back, and jagged cliffs or beaches on either side, family-owned hotel The Wickaninnish Inn is about as close to nature as you can get without pitching a tent among the pine trees. Though overused, in the context of its driftwood-dotted interiors, ample fireplaces (there’s one in every room), and on-site woodcarving shed, “rustic” is by far the best adjective for describing the inn’s warm, welcoming personality. For storm chasers, observation points to take in the drama from a comfortable distance are scattered throughout the property, including the guestrooms, where floor-to-ceiling windows, overstuffed chairs, and binoculars are worked into the minimalist décor for that very purpose. (For those hell-bent on experiencing some weather first hand, each room comes with rain gear and wellies). Best of all, you can get a view from the top before you even step foot on the grounds by hopping on a seaplane over from the mainland.
1200 Mt Maxwell Rd, Salt Spring Island
A stone’s throw from Vancouver, Salt Island is something of a creative enclave for the culinarily inclined. Think impossibly picturesque, rugged setting where you’ll find vintners, cheese makers, and other creative types in residence year-around. It’s just that spirit that inspired Michael Abelman and Jeanne-Marie Herman to open Foxglove Farm, a 121-acre organic farm which holds cooking and gardening classes, plus mushroom-foraging and cheese-making courses. Its location, 1,200 feet above sea level, means they regularly grow everything from peaches, plus, quince, figs, cherries, plus a nourishing mix of veggies and legumes. (As a result their veggies have graced the table at the likes of Chez Panisse and Zuni Cafe, too.)
Long Beach Lodge Resort
1441 Pacific Rim Hwy, Tofino
A splendid marriage of five-star luxury and rugged wilderness, Vancouver Island’s Long Beach Lodge, speaks to both serenity seekers and adrenaline junkies. Watch surfers tackle the waves of Cox Bay Beach (considered the crème de la crème of Canadian surf breaks) from the floor-to-ceiling windows of the Great Room or get in on the action by hiring a certified instructor from the surf club for a lesson. Other water activities come in the form of whale watching, deep-sea fishing, and scuba diving. If dry land is more your speed, hike the legendary trails of the Pacific Rim, take in the sights from a bike, or embark on a guided wildlife tour; Banana slug hunts, zip-line excursions, and the Ucluelet Aquarium pique the interests of adventurous tykes. Take a fish burrito break at the SandBar Bistro or retreat to your oceanfront lodgings: split-level rai forest cottages are ideal for families while the standard rooms and penthouse suites offer the perfect accommodations for couples.
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