Soaring mountains, vast untouched forests, crystal clear lakes and extraordinary wildlife are just a few of the ingredients that make British Columbia exhilarating for travellers. Dig even deeper and you’ll find B.C. offers a full feast for the senses. Its dynamic food scene and flourishing wine culture reach deep into the province — so even when you feel far from civilization, you’ll still find absolute luxury.
After fishing for wild salmon and watching bears in the deep-green rainforest, imagine sinking into a comfy chair by the fire with a glass of wine, or soaking in a cedar hot tub — cocktail in hand — at the foot of a waterfall. Sound like a daydream? Not in British Columbia.
Many of B.C.’s top wilderness lodges aren’t connected by roads so the journey is often an adventure in itself. As you hop on and off boats or float planes, you can’t help but feel like you’re entering another world.
Perched at the edge of the thick Great Bear Rainforest, Nimmo Bay Wilderness Lodge is the perfect example of the new generation of luxury wilderness lodge.
Here you can go hiking into the mountains, take a canoe, kayak or paddle board out on the water, go for a boat tour or even a swim. Whether you’re on the water spotting orca whales, humpback whales and sea lions, or tracking grizzly bears under the thick forest canopy, or fishing for salmon on the riverbed, you’re bound to be left invigorated and humbled.
The helicopter on the dock promises even more adventure. Heli fly-fishing on a river where you’re the only anglers for hundreds of miles is a popular request. But the pilot will also happily drop you off on a secluded island for a champagne picnic, or on the top of a 6,000-year-old glacier where guides are known to lay out a spread of homemade bread, smoked salmon and other treats.
But after a day of activity in the fresh air, it’s time for pure relaxation. You can unwind in the lodge’s spa with a professional massage, relax in the cedar wood hot tub or join a yoga lesson on the dock. And then there is the food. Everything is freshly-made, on-site, with the best local ingredients.
Vancouver Island is home to many resorts that, like Nimmo, wrap the best of B.C. into an amazing wildlife lodge experience.
Also on the edge of the Great Bear Rainforest, many miles away, you can find the Knight Inlet Lodge, a secluded, floating eco-lodge at day’s end; rest easy in a well-appointed suite. Knight Inlet is one of B.C.’s largest great saltwater fjords. Here you can witness one of nature’s great spectacles the migration of tens of thousands of salmon that draws in grizzly bears weighing 300 kilograms or more. As the bears scoop up the fish with their paws, bald eagles’ talons swoop in and grab the leftovers. The lodge has three discreet viewing platforms, where guests can safely watch it all unfold, and also offers daily land or boat-based safari-style tours.
For a Canadian west coast glamping experience, you can hop on a seaplane and fly into Clayoquot Sound, a 3,500 square kilometre UNESCO Biosphere Reserve on Vancouver Island and home to a range of ecosystems, including temperate coastal rainforest, ocean and rocky coastal shores. In the midst of this largely untouched area is the Clayoquot Sound Wilderness Resort, an eco-resort and luxury outpost. It is a tent resort, but the 20 luxury, safari-style tents are furnished with antiques, Persian rugs, oil lanterns, propane fireplaces and candlelit turndown service for your down duvets.
During the day, guests set out on wildlife-watching boat tours to see grey, orca and humpback whales as well as dolphins and porpoises playing in the surf. Or, you can ride a horse, join blissful yoga sessions or pamper yourself with spa treatments such as a deep tissue massage.
In the evening the menu is fresh and modern with dishes such as Dungeness crab, pan-seared wild salmon and oyster chowder – all paired with fine B.C. wines and topped off with decadent desserts.
For summer camp crossed with luxury, there’s Strathcona Park Lodge tucked in a remote and pristine corner of British Columbia’s oldest park. The lodge’s guides teach visitors that the secret to animal spotting in the dense old-growth forest is to think like an animal: to learn to see like an owl, hear like a deer, smell like a bear, touch like a raccoon and move like a wolf.
After a day of getting in touch with your primal side, you can pamper yourself by relaxing in the wood-fired sauna on the beach, reading by the river-stone fireplace or soaking in a geothermal pool at Hot Springs Cove surrounded by thousand-year-old evergreens. Strathcona’s rustic lakeside restaurants to dine the fresh and healthy is the theme of the menu, which includes dishes such as B.C.’s ubiquitous wild salmon, vegetarian stuffed peppers, barbecued tofu and huckleberry salad.
B.C. is a pioneer of this new generation of wilderness lodges that combine spectacular surroundings with the serenity of a spa by paying attention to the smallest details in the vast wilderness.