Yes, it’s about the journey. But if you’re listening to chattering bald eagles and watching black bears forage in the distance from your hot tub in the B.C. wilderness, the place itself is pretty incredible, too. Here are five truly blow-your-mind calibre places to stay in Canada. We guarantee each is 100 per cent Facebook-brag worthy.
1. Glamping in the British Columbia Wilderness
Thanks to eco-activists, Clayoquot Sound is the largest intact unlogged area on Vancouver Island. The pristine coastal temperate rainforest is habitat for wolves, cougars, grey whales, bears and orcas. It’s also a 3,500-square-kilometre UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Your digs: luxe safari-style tents decked out with Persian rugs, oil lanterns, fireplaces, down duvets and antiques. Fly-in Clayoquot Wilderness Resort is the equivalent of iced champagne in crystal paired with raw wilderness.
2. Sweet Isolation on Fogo Island
A “cultural movement that brings together contemporary artists, designers, architects, geologists, academics, fishermen, artisans, growers and chefs,” describes far-flung, fantasy-worthy Fogo Island Inn. Remote is an understatement, and it’s as much luxury hotel as community revitalization project. At its heart: a 29-room contemporary inn and central public space, plus four avant-garde, off-the-grid artist studios scattered across the volcanic rock on Newfoundland and Labrador’s largest offshore island. Backdrop: the thrashing Atlantic ocean.
3. Sleep Beneath the Aurora Borealis
The Northwest Territory’s eco, solar-powered Blachford Lake Lodge is serene. It’s a 25-minute floatplane flight from Yellowknife, and you might spot migrating caribou. Filled with interesting artifacts (rocks and fossils, antlers, antique snow shoes), native textiles and art, it’s got handsome peeled-log design, huge windows overlooking the water and red rock shore, and quiet like you’ve likely never experienced. But it’s the Aurora Borealis that seals the deal. Eerie and fleeting, it’s something you really do have to see for yourself. Listening to the loons at sunset is also a quintessential Canadian must.
4. Quebec’s Ice Hotel
Every year, they construct Quebec’s Hôtel de Glace from 15,000 tonnes of snow and 500,000 tonnes of ice for the three-month season. It may seem a bit much, but seriously, how fun is that to stay in a room made of ice? Especially when you’re snuggled on cozy furs by the fireplace. There are 44 theme rooms and suites to choose from. Adding to the ambiance: hot tub under the stars, ice chandeliers and sculptures, a frozen chapel and cocktail glasses made of ice. Gloves provided.
5. Rural Meets Urban Outside Montreal
If you drive four hours from Montréal through the lovely Charlevoix region of Quebec, you’ll find yourself in Baie-Saint-Paul — between mountains and the St. Lawrence River. Fans of architecture and design won’t be disappointed by the locavore-minded Hotel la Ferme.
This was Canada’s largest standing wooden farm, the footprint reimagined in 2012 into an unusual lodging combining rural and urban, expansive and snug. Not only does it host Sunday farmers markets, the train stop is incorporated into the compound. The owners call the 145-room, five-building complex open to its surroundings and community an “anti-resort.”