Please note: As ordered by health officials, non-essential travel between regions in BC is not permitted at this time. Currently, indoor gatherings of up to five visitors or one other household are allowed. Outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people are also permitted, but use COVID-19 layers of protection and maintain physical distancing. Please adhere to COVID-19 health and safety measures, including proper physical distancing and frequent hand washing, and wearing a mask or face-covering in public indoor and retail spaces. If you are sick, please stay home.
After an extensive renovation, one of the country’s most pristine wilderness resorts is about to open its doors.
Clayoquot Wilderness Lodge will reopen on June 17. This luxury lodge is tucked away in the vast, pristine wilderness of Vancouver Island’s west coast.
Bookings are pouring in from British Columbians eager for a relaxing getaway after a stressful year of lockdowns and travel restrictions.
The interiors of the lodge’s 25 luxury tents have been refurbished to provide a more contemporary look and feel. New king beds, luxurious linens and generous lounging areas all give the tents a fresher, lighter vibe, while furnishings commissioned from local designers add a strong sense of place.
What hasn’t changed are the stunning views. Each tent opens directly onto the tranquil beauty of Clayoquot Sound, a 62-mile-wide inlet of the Pacific Ocean.
The area boasts a rich biodiversity, with thousands of species of flora and fauna in a range of ecosystems. And the lodge is so far removed from the hustle and bustle of the city that the only ways to get there are by boat, seaplane or helicopter.
Once at the luxury lodge, an abundance of outdoor adventures await. Each guest receives a personalized itinerary of the lodge’s signature experiences based on individual preferences.
Extremely popular is canyoning, which involves exploring the picturesque valleys and waterways by kayak or stand-up paddle board. Make your way along the glacier-fed Bedwell River to find a waterfall channel and explore hidden waterholes.
Hiking opportunities range from one hour for beginners all the way up to full-day adventures for those more experienced. Follow cedar boardwalk trails through the ancient forest, and discover abandoned roads now bursting with lush new growth.
Another way to explore the wilderness is on horseback. Riding trails meander through the forest, meadows and fern gardens, crossing over rivers and leading to abandoned gold mines.
Also popular are watersports. The lodge has a fleet of canoes, kayaks and paddle boards that are ideal for guided trips through the pristine marine environment.
Sights of the Sound is a half-day adventure that focuses on spotting the area’s abundant wildlife. The trip starts by searching for bears, which head to the beach at low tide to hunt for crabs and other tasty crustaceans, then continues out to sea to look for orcas, humpback whales, porpoises, California sea lions and seals.
For those seeking even more, Walk the Wildside is a full-day excursion that delivers the lodge’s essential adventures all in one package. It includes sightseeing in a Zodiac to look for bears, whales, sea otters, eagles and more.
In addition to the lodge’s signature experiences, guests can also choose from a menu of à la carte activities such as archery, catch-and-release fishing, disc golf, mountain biking and rock climbing. Highly recommended is the tree climb: using a system of ropes and pulleys, you ascend to a viewing platform at the level of the forest canopy and take in sweeping bird’s-eye views.
For anyone wanting even more breathtaking views—along with a jolt of adrenaline—bespoke heli experiences and scenic flights are available. Let a helicopter whisk you even farther into the remote wilderness for a picnic or perhaps some swimming, hiking or fly fishing. Avid anglers can discover secret lakes and rivers accessible only by helicopter. Or how about a toast at the top of Ursus Mountain, 4,000 feet above sea level?
After an invigorating day of outdoor adventures, unwind with a relaxation treatment or massage at the Healing Grounds Spa. It’s sure to rejuvenate both body and soul. The spa is offering a limited menu due to the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, and the hot tubs and sauna are closed until the provincial health restrictions are updated. (For more information about the lodge’s safety plan and protocols regarding COVID-19, click here.)
Eating & Drinking
Of course, a luxury lodge wouldn’t be complete without mouth-watering dining, and Clayoquot Wilderness Lodge is no exception. The Cookhouse’s gourmet menu changes daily, to best showcase ingredients sustainably sourced from Vancouver Island and the rest of British Columbia.
Executive chef Asher Blackford, who hails from Australia, has been delighted to discover the wealth of ingredients native to BC. A few of his recent favourites include licorice fern root, oyster mushrooms and locally foraged seaweed. Guests who are also fervent foodies are welcome to go foraging with the culinary staff.
In the Ivanhoe Lounge, the drinks menu shines a spotlight on wines and beers from the Pacific Northwest. Also on offer are small-batch spirits and handcrafted cocktails. But be warned: it can be difficult to leave this enchanting lounge after getting comfy in front of the floor-to-ceiling windows, especially when blue herons or eagles go soaring past.
Clayoquot Wilderness Lodge has a second stage of renovations planned for late 2022, so a return visit might just be required. Checking out the planned changes to the restaurant and spa seems like a good excuse for another luxury lodge vacation.
For more information about visiting, click here.