Clayoquot Wilderness Resort: A Secret Summer Hideaway
As you can tell from reading my blog, there are certain things that really get me excited: namely, eating great food, planning great events, and traveling whenever I can. I do a ton of research for all of the above—especially for traveling—and over the past few years I’ve fielded countless phone calls and emails from friends, friends of friends, and those friends’ friends (otherwise known as total strangers) about my recommendations for great places to go. They know that while I’m by no means a travel expert, I always do my homework to find tips and tricks that will make venturing anywhere an even more enjoyable experience.
I wanted to use my blog to share the advice I’ve collected over the years. I hope you’ll email me at email@example.com with your feedback so I know what you enjoy hearing about and what you’d still like to know!
The first family trip I’d like to tell you about is to a place called Clayoquot Wilderness Resort in British Columbia, a bit outside Vancouver. I’d heard of the concept of “glamping” (luxury camping) for a while, and when I came across Clayoquot I decided the time was right to try it for myself.
We started our trip with a two-night stay in Vancouver; I fell in love with the city because it’s a foodie paradise, but there’s so much to do for all ages and interests.
We stayed at the beautiful and modern Rosewood Hotel Georgia; I chose it because it’s in a great central location, and, after a 2011 renovation, it’s one of the prettiest and most modern hotels in the city.
The hotel has a beautiful indoor rooftop pool, which is great for kids.
I highly recommend having dinner one night at Hawksworth, the hotel’s restaurant, as it was excellent. I usually stay away from hotel restaurants but was told by a Vancouver “foodie friend” that it was a must—and I was so glad we did.
We really enjoyed renting bikes to ride around Vancouver’s famous seawall, which includes an outer tour of Stanley Park, Vancouver’s 1,000-acre Central Park.
We also took a trip to the incredible Richmond Night Market, where you’ll find sweets, bubble teas, and an assortment of delicious ethnic foods.
Our favorite find was the Rotato stand, which offers fried potatoes cut in a spiral and served on a stick—so different and delicious!
We took a culinary tour of the Granville Island Market by Edible Canada, which I highly recommend. Edible Canada has a great restaurant for brunch on Granville Island that also serves as the meeting point for the tour. We went in a group, with ten others, but I would recommend a private tour so you can spend more time at the places that interest you. Most of the vendors give out samples along the way, which is always a treat for kids. My children aren’t huge fans of touring, but when yummy snacks are involved, I get a lot more smiles!
After two days of eating and exploring, we headed to Clayoquot. The resort is pretty much off the grid—to get there you hop onto a seaplane for about an hour’s ride. Watching it take off and land is so cool.
Upon landing at the private dock, you’re greeted by the resort’s entire staff, along with some of the many dogs that live on the property. Clayoquot only accommodates about 50 people, so the individual attention and service is phenomenal.
The resort offers a wide range of activities—or you can come up with an activity and they will make it happen. While we were there, one family wanted to hike and picnic on top of the mountain, so the resort brought in a helicopter to take them up!
There are two options for accommodations: tents with en-suite bathrooms and outdoor rain showers or tents with a bath house a few feet away. I was set on the tents with the outdoor rain showers—and they were even better than I imagined. Talk about “Mindy-style” camping!
Unlike some other wilderness resorts, Clayoquot is on an island, so make sure to try some of the many water activities available, such as salmon fishing and whale watching.
My family tried our hands at being fishermen. A resort staffer takes you out on a boat for a four- to six-hour trip—and no matter how much you think you have your sea legs, I recommend taking a Dramamine beforehand. Half my family didn’t handle the swells so well, including the more seasoned sailor in the family (hint: not me!).
We did manage to catch salmon, which the resort can arrange to have prepared several ways (for a fee)—smoked, cured, or candied. Three months later we were enjoying our catch on blinis and bagels in Baltimore.
We also enjoyed horseback riding through jungle-like terrain, rock climbing, kayaking, taking part in a paintball tournament, and zipping down a flight line at what felt like 50 miles an hour—exhilarating!
Meals are served in a traditional yet elegant log cabin, and every one is better than the next. Each group is invited to eat dinner in the private dining tent one night during their stay. It’s a memorable evening, as you can see from the photo below. The executive chef is Ryan Orr, a Vancouver native, and he’s always present during meals in the open kitchen; his fabulous personality adds to the already fantastic meals. During the day, the chef and his team leave out glass jars of delicious baked treats and candy to nibble on—my type of place! I even asked for the recipe for the amazing and (I thought) super-healthy morning bars—but when the first word out of Chef Ryan’s mouth was “butter” I decided I’d better just enjoy them in blissful ignorance.
Clayoquot is a very special place, and my family and I created so many amazing memories during our stay there. I hope these tips will help you and your family have an equally fabulous experience.