There’s regular vodka, then there’s Grey Goose. There is regular camping…then there’s Clayoquot Wilderness Resort. Picture an authentic, pristine Canadian wilderness adventure with a glamorous twist in a nothing-like-you’ve-ever-experienced camping (or “glamping”) trip. The west coast’s Clayoquot Wilderness Resort offers a remote escape in the warmer months that inspires guests to appreciate and connect with nature in a temperate rainforest, yet indulge and pamper themselves in the process.
Located in Tofino Village on Vancouver Island in the ultimate fusion of raw with luxurious, this isn’t your typical campground, with its five-star cuisine, large white luxurious canvas tents (some complete with ensuite bathrooms), plush white down duvets, heated bathroom floors, lounge and spa tents and top-of-the-line sporting equipment and adventure accessories. A far cry from “roughing it,” we can guarantee the Clayoquot Wilderness Resort experience is nothing your last camping trip.
Offering a true definition of the term escape, this resort is accessible via a 45-minute private seaplane transfer from Vancouver or a 30-minute boat ride from Tofino. This 21st-century safari-style retreat truly provides breathtakingly beautiful trip of a lifetime, the kind you gush to friends about, with adventures destined to fill social networking sites with photos and create lasting memories. Widely acclaimed (yet with still with a hidden gem quality to it), Clayoquot Wilderness Resort received Condé Nast Johansens 2012 Awards for Excellence Most Excellent Eco Resort in United States and Canada.
Located in the Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Reserve Area, the concept 5-star wilderness resort is inspired by the 19th century great camps of the Adarondaks and features 20 guest and family suite “tents” complete with antique furnishings, luxurious Persian rugs, remote-controlled, propane-powered wood stoves and lavish amenities. Think the new, white canvass Luxury Ensuite Bathroom Tents, furnished with a king sized bed, queen sized day bed, full luxury ensuite bathroom with in-floor heating, a flush toilet and a stunning large indoor/outdoor shower with double showerheads.
All eight smaller Deluxe Tents offer a choice of one queen or two single Adirondack-style beds (of course, with lush down duvets) and private composting environmental toilets are located just outside of each tent, with a private shower in a nearby shower house designated for each Deluxe Tent’s personal use. Very “Swiss Family Robinson-esque,” the tents are built on quality and discreet raised wooden platforms that are connected by cedar boardwalks and are either blanketed under a canopy of the rainforest along the water or are nestled amongst the hillside trees.
Guests may also use two large lounge tents, a games tent and a library tent. The games tent features good old fashioned, unplugged fun with board games and a pool table; but don’t get anxious, the library tent is actually a modern Internet café if you must do a little work. A spa tent provides some pampering to complete the vacation and savour the precious time spent so seemingly removed from the rest of the world. Guests may also use the two enormous cedar hot tubs and sauna.
While it’s all very relaxing, there is no shortage of things to do and adventures to be had, with activities like surfing, kayaking, fly fishing, hiking, whale and bear watching, shooting, archery, climbing and zip lining, and mountain biking. Or, of course, you could opt to simply unwind with a cocktail. With velvet chairs and couches in front of the huge fireplaces, the self-serve bar is open 24/7 and all drinks are included as part of the guest package. Naturally, Grey Goose is always fully stocked, with plentiful mix options so guests are free to pour their favourite cocktail – or savour it on its own.
The refined experience is reflected in the resort’s culinary offerings. Clayoquot Wilderness Resort’s unique dining lounge spoils guests with five-course gourmet meals, complete with wine pairings from local wineries lead by a top-notch sommelier. Executive Chef and Victoria native Ryan Orr offers a cuisine that can be described as “modern natural,” which is clean, simple and fresh, with a heavy focus on an array of local ingredients. “Modern” relates an adaptation of new cooking styles with traditional techniques, while staying true to the basics. “Natural” describes how the food is prepared to allow the pure, natural flavours to come through each dish. Signature dishes and actual detailed recipes may be found on the resort’s website so that you may try them yourself during the “off season.”
The resort maintains a strong commitment to restoring the land and aims to educate guests on sustainable practices, allowing you to be part of important salmon and wildlife restoration work through the Environmental Legacy Program. All aspects of the resort’s operations are low-impact and employ the most technologically up-to-date sustainable practices in everything from thorough recycling and organic gardens to high-efficiency wood furnaces to produce domestic hot water and heat hot tubs.
Clayoquot Wilderness Resort is open May to September and offers three, four and seven-night adventure packages. A friendly warning: Although it is a breathtakingly romantic destination, there are children… potentially screaming children with the ability to break moments of serenity. As such, May and September may be more appropriate for couples. The season fills up quickly, with 2013 packages already online.