on February 4, 2006
The Wickaninnish Inn (frequently voted one of the top-ten hotels in North America by the readers of Travel + Leisure magazine) is where the forest meets the ocean, literally. Located on Vancouver Island's west coast, it's just minutes away from Tofino and borders on Pacific Rim National Park. Overlooking Chesterman Beach (part of the famous Clayoquot Sound), the hotel succeeds in blending into the wilderness, surrounded by ocean on three sides and nestled amongst the trees of an old growth forest.With so much to offer, you'll have to open your wallet to the tune of between C$220 and C$440 per night for a standard room (prices range up to C$1,500 for the Canopy Suite in summer), depending on the season. The Wickaninnish currently designates four seasons: Winter Storm Season (November 1 to February 28), Whale Watching Season (March 1 to June 15), Summer Season (June 16 to September 30), and Fall Special (October 1 to 31). Of course, winter will cost you the least, summer the most.The inn is hard to spot until you actually arrive at the reception area--it has been built to blend in seamlessly with the forest surrounding it. The first thing that struck us was the staff, which was incredibly welcoming and courteous, and everyone made you feel as if you were the only guest. After check-in, we were led to our room by the concierge (a very nice touch), and she made sure we were pleased with our room before volunteering to make a reservation for dinner (which we already had) or any activities for us.We had a very spacious king-size room, which included a fireplace, deep soaker bathtub (definitely big enough for two!), fluffy duvet, and private balcony with a forest/ocean view. The rooms all feature welcome touches, like a book collection, binoculars, private bar, CD clock radio, writing desk, microwave, coffeemaker, and big-screen television in the armoire. The bathroom include a large shower, the wonderful bathtub (with a view over the balcony to the ocean), fluffy oversize bathrobes, and a selection of Aveda bath and body products. Everything is top-quality, and it seems they've thought of every detail possible.The decor throughout the hotel is artisan-quality West Coast casual, with many earthy materials (natural woods, fabrics, and stone tiles) and colours used to create harmony with the outside environment. Each room even features a handmade driftwood chair. The result is very relaxing and comfortable and adds to the magic of the spectacular location.The Wickaninnish boasts a superb restaurant (The Pointe) built out over Chesterman Beach with beautiful ocean views and a cozy lounge (On The Rocks). The Ancient Cedars Spa is located on-site, with ocean-view treatment rooms. The spa utilizes Aveda body and haircare products and offers a number of specialty signature treatments.Wickaninnish Inn was a highlight of our trip and is at the top of my list for a return visit. It's perfect for honeymooners or couples wanting a romantic retreat.
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