August 1st, 2012
We like our wilderness without too much wildness.
So we were in our element at the West Coast Wilderness Lodge on the Sunshine Coast. Its most recent addition – six ocean-view rooms perched on top of a cliff – is so new, this editor was the first person to stay in her room. But you won’t want to spend all your time in your suite. Hop in a kayak and explore the islands outside your window. Or take a hike to the Skookumchuck Narrows and treat yourself to a Skookum cinnamon bun at the Green Rosette Bake Shop at the trailhead.
It’s a walk on the not-too-wild side.—Kelsey Dundon
From $175 a night. Westcoast Wilderness Lodge, 6649 Maple Rd., Egmont, 604-883-3667, www.wcwl.com
June 24th, 2011
Forget camping. We’d take “glamping” any day.
Especially if it’s at RockWater Secret Cove Resort. We spent a few blissful days at the Sunshine Coast’s most unique resort, indulging in massages by the sea, stuffing our faces with fresh seafood and watching the sunset with a glass of Okanagan wine. The highlight of these highlights? Our tenthouse suite. Perched on the edge of a cliff overlooking the Strait of Georgia, it had canvas walls, heated tile floors, and a bathtub built for two. Pretty much everything but the kitchen sink.
But who needs a kitchen when you have room service? —KD
Summer rates from $459 a night, http://rockwatersecretcoveresort.com
See photos from our trip on today's Editors' Diary.
May 5th, 2011
As kids, we loved summer camp. These days, we’d rather pass on bunk beds and communal showers.
But making new friends on an island getaway? That we can get onboard with. Amrita Yoga’s Summer Bliss Camp is sleep-away camp all grown up. It’s four days of yoga, swimming, hiking, kayaking and bonfires at Galiano Island’s picturesque Bodega Ridge. We were at their first sold-out retreat and our sore muscles can attest to the fact that it was a blast.
Even without the popsicle-stick arts and crafts. —KD
Amrita Yoga’s Summer Bliss Camp takes place July 29-August 1, from $645 per person, http://amritayoga.ca/retreats
November 4th, 2010
Time to get your gale on—it’s storm-watching season in Tofino. Here are the only three things you need for relaxation with a side of rough seas.
There’s nothing cozier than a Pacific Sands’ private two bedroom villa situated steps from the sand in Cox Bay (the top spot to storm watch in town). Specifically request villa 24, which has been redone to reflect its new design direction. Best part? There’s no need to leave your bed in the master suite for a front-row seat to 30 foot swells. Sleeps 4, from $400 a night, www.pacificsands.com
Spend an afternoon at the Wickaninnish Inn’s Ancient Cedars Spa. Take a long steam in the wintergreen and eucalyptus-scented Rainforest Steam Room, then it’s a detoxifying foot soak with a cup of herbal tea before an Aromatic Massage with essential oils whisks you away to your happy place. www.wickinn.com
Head into the downtown Tofino and dine at the new Spotted Bear Bistro. The chef has a history working the kitchens of Pastis and Lumiere and his cuisine is West Coast with a twist done well. Succulent scallops the width of sand dollars anyone? www.spottedbearbistro.com
October 28th, 2010
Escape the urban jungle and live like a Long Beach local for a few days complete with carving (waves or pumpkins) and karaoke.
Long Beach Lodge feels like home (that is, if you’ve ever resided on the beach). Its communal Great Room with wood beams, stone fireplace and picture windows was built to mimic the beautiful beachfront living room of the owner. Take advantage of their Play Hooky Special right now and book a cozy cottage with private hot tub. From $189.50 a night, www.longbeachlodgeresort.com
Learn to master the mush at the Lodge’s new Surf Club. Private instruction and proper equipment ensures you’ll feel calm and confident heading into the water. Head instructor Jamie Bale is the most certified man in town (and cute to boot). From $169 for 2.5 hours.
Mexico meets Pacific Northwest at Tacofino. Find the bright orange food truck emblazoned with a masticating Virgin Mary parked behind surf shop Live to Surf and order a fish taco or any special of the day that involves fresh catch. www.tacofino.com
For cheap drinks and a chance at seeing the coast guard sing classic rap head to Wednesday night karaoke at The Maquinna Pub (dubbed The Maq). Since many Tofinoites don’t work regular jobs, this is their Friday night. www.themaquinna.com
If Halloween plans are still in limbo, pull a fast one and get out of town this weekend. The haunted holiday is hallowed here and dressing up de rigueur. Just ask a local for directions to the biggest bash.
For snaps from our time in Tofino and more insider surf scoop, check out the Editors’ Diary.
August 12th, 2010
No need to cruise the Caribbean to find a luxury resort on a private island situated in turquoise waters when there’s one in our own backyard. North of Desolation Sound, the five star Sonora Resort is anything but desolate.
Take London Air Services’ 15-seat helicopter, which runs regular flights between Richmond and Sonora Island, and arrive swiftly (45 minutes from take-off to touch-down) and in style.
Feast like royalty on Pacific Northwest fare with flair dreamt up by Executive Chef Terry Pichor. Did we mention drinking and dining is all-inclusive? The 6-course nightly tasting menu will arouse many ohs and ahs. And if you’re still thirsty after dinner, a fully-stocked gratis mini bar awaits you back at your room.
Slow down and spa it up at the full-service Island Currents Spa on site. Take a tension-relieving massage then sip a smoothie in the sun afterwards or simply soak in the outdoor mineral pools.
Book one of the lovely lodges or splurge on Sea Lion Pointe. The palatial structure on its own peninsula contains four lavish suites, a kitchen fit for an iron chef and a two million dollar collection of commissioned West Coast art.
Fun is had with amenities that include a tennis court, hiking trails, movie theatre, virtual golf, pool (both cue and chlorine varieties) and plenty of hot tubs. If you feel especially outdoorsy, book a salmon fishing expedition aboard a 25’ Grady-White or traverse tidal rapids in search of seal, whale, dolphin and grizzly sightings on an eco-tour.
Michelle Pfeiffer summers nearby. Are we surprised?
Room rates start at $500, Sonora Resort, Sonora Island, 604-233-0460, www.sonoraresort.com
April 16th, 2009
Our foodie tour of Victoria will make for a well-fed weekend.
If a weekend in Kyoto is out of the question, get your Zen moment at Victoria’s lush Inn at Laurel Point. Chill out by the waterfall in the hand-tended Japanese garden by the sea, watch the harbour action from the chaise lounge in your sleek Arthur Erickson Wing room, and check out the museum-quality art lining the hallways. Yes, that really is a Henry Hunt sun mask in the lobby. Spring rates from $130, 680 Montreal St., Victoria, 800-663-7667, www.laurelpoint.com
All those micro-produced island wines you haven’t yet sampled are at the sleek, waterfront Aura restaurant. The menu leans local, from sea asparagus garnishes to the Zanatta Damasco by the glass. Chef Brad Horen’s surf and turf is a good reason to hop that ferry. Aura at the Inn at Laurel Point, 680 Montreal St, Victoria, 250-414-6739, www.aurarestaurant.ca
Eat. Walk. Eat. On a Travel With Taste urban culinary walking tour, local foodie Kathy McAree reveals Victoria’s food and drink secrets, from the inside scoop on tea blending to where to find the best banana bread in town. Bonus? You get to meet the experts behind the city’s booming dining scene. Travel with Taste, 250-385-1527, www.travelwithtaste.com
Fort Street’s Antique Row is morphing into Eco Row, with several great eco-tiques. Two faves: Not Just Pretty, with its sustainable, sweat-shop free frocks, tees and and The Good Planet Company, which stocks practical organic bedding, bio-degradable dog toys, muffin tins, and compostable dishes made from fallen palm leaves.
Not Just Pretty, 1036 Fort St., Victoria, 250-414-0414, www.notjustpretty.com
The Good Planet Co., 764 Fort St., Victoria, 888-590-3505, www.goodplanet.com
March 26th, 2009
Looking to get closer to mother nature without compromising your own cosmopolitan nature? We got the very first in-person peek at the beautiful new Black Rock Oceanfront Resort in Ucluelet and can't wait to bring back the beau.
Situated on a promontory overlooking the Pacific, the property is definitely more luxe than lodge. Styled in Zen Contemporary, the spacious suites are fitted with Miele appliances, marble countertops, big soaker tubs, and expansive balconies for watching swells.
On the main floor you’ll find a cool blue bar in the shape of a curling wave, a 90-seat fine dining room helmed by lauded local chef Andrew Springett, a stunning sunken wine grotto set within an active surge channel for private events, and a signature spa that will provide oceanview mani-pedis (among other things) starting in May.
Listing off all its perks has made us parched, speaking of cosmopolitan….
February 12th, 2009
We opted out of the standard reso, roses and box of chocolates and whisked our current amour off to whimsical Salt Spring Island for the weekend.
Stage a love-in at Oceanside Cottages’ seaside Love Shack. The cozy, shagadelic shed, where there’s fresh fruit, flowers and firewood waiting for you, has its very own outdoor soaker tub overlooking a private beach. Come nightfall throw a log in the fire and dig into the in-suite vinyl record collection of crooners before hitting the deck for a skinny dip under the stars. From $135 a night. Love Shack, Oceanside Cottages, Salt Spring Island, 866-341-0007, www.oceansidecottages.com
Grab a free Salt Spring Studio Tour guide and leisurely weave from artisan to artisan. Stop by ceramicist Julie MacKinnon’s studio for the prettiest shades of tableware from her Surburban collection and pick out some matching mugs for your morning lattes. And be sure to take a little piece of island bliss home by way of the all-natural Salt Spring Soapworks (its Body Gelato is must-have).
Julie MacKinnon Ceramics, 805 Long Harbour Rd., Salt Spring Island, 250-537-2100, www.juliemackinnonceramics.com
Salt Spring Soapworks, 1-150 Fulford Ganges Rd., Salt Spring Island 250-537-2701, www.saltspringsoapworks.com
The Love Shack is outfitted with a mini-kitchen and BBQ, so gather some delicious local fare from Salt Spring Island Bread Company (its brick oven beauties are well worth the $7 loaf tag) and gooey caramels and handmade treats from Harlans Chocolate. Pick up a bottle of Zeta at the Garry Oaks Winery and, for a late-night love toast, the 2005 Morning Star Methode Champenoise from Salt Spring Vineyards.
Salt Spring Island Bread Company, 251 Forest Ridge Rd., Salt Spring Island, 250-653-4809.
Harlans Chocolates & Salt Spring Gelato, 100 Lower Ganges Rd., Salt Spring Island, 250-537-4434, www.harlanschocolates.com
Garry Oaks Winery, 1880 Fulford-Ganges Rd., Salt Spring Island, 250-653-4687, www.garryoakswine.com
Salt Spring Vineyards, 151 Lee Rd., Salt Spring Island, 250-653- 9463, www.saltspringvineyards.com
January 8th, 2009
When it comes to boat rides, we’d rather be ferrying between the balmy Fiji Islands this time of year. But In lieu, a more pleasurable glide across the Strait of Georgia will do.
On a recent ocean voyage to Vancouver Island we tried out the Seawest Lounge and we’re convinced there’s no better way to sail (other than Clooney’s private yacht that is). Available on four ships in the BC Ferries fleet, the lounge offers a quiet, cozy atmosphere, private washroom and its very own newsstand where you can borrow fashion mags just like you would at the hair salon. Also included are complimentary bevvies and healthy snacks like almonds, cheeses and granola bars to keep the greasy burger cravings at bay.
The $10 fee is well worth it when you find yourself disembarking cool, calm and caught up on celeb gossip with nary an arcade game ringing in your ear.