You can tell a lot about a luxury hotel by the way it greets its guests. You might expect a formal doorman to meet you at the curb and leave you at the front desk. That’s not the case at the Wickaninnish Inn, located on the west coast of Vancouver Island.
A smiling, fit staff member – you may wonder why he’s so cheerful – greets you at the edge of the rainforest, which happens to be at the entrance of the hotel. He escorts you through the hand-carved cedar doors to the lobby where your gaze wanders to the huge windows that look out on the churning ocean and wind-swept coast.
Then, you see them – surfers riding the waves – and you scrutinize the healthy-looking staff again. Ah, you guessed it. Many of them hit the waves – even in the winter – before coming to work.
Located about 195 miles northwest of Victoria, The Wickaninnish Inn is a hybrid of Relais & Chateau luxury and the rugged wilderness of the Pacific Northwest.
You can hike in a rainforest in the morning, go bear or whale watching in the afternoon and go for a sundown stroll before dinner on Chesterman Beach, a stretch of almost 2 miles of white sand. During the winter months many visitors come to watch the crashing waves. And when you’re done, you can snuggle up next to your fireplace with a Pacific Northwest Pinot Noir and use the binoculars to watch for eagles.
All 75 guest rooms boast floor-to-celling picture windows with ocean or beach views, which can also be enjoyed from your private patio or your deep soaking tub inside the room.
Every room also has a fireplace, heated flooring in the bathroom, duvet-covered beds, a hidden pop-up TV, binoculars and bird books. If you wish to sit on the balcony at night or walk the beach during a storm, you’ll find rain slickers and Hudson Bay wool blankets in the closet and rubber boots are available upon request.
Every guest needs to indulge in at least one meal at the Inn’s Pointe Restaurant, which features 240 degree views of the ocean. Chef Warren serves the freshest of Pacific Northwest cuisine paired with superb Pacific Northwest wines you probably can’t find at home.
The Ancient Cedar Spa is nestled between the forest and the ocean, and offers a full range of treatments with an emphasis on relaxation and rejuvenation inspired by our natural surrounds.