Where to Stay in British Columbia
From stilted ‘tenthouses’ overlooking the waters of the Pacific ocean, to historic B&Bs in the centre of Vancouver, British Columbia’s choices in accommodations are as diverse and beautiful as the natural landscapes in which they are located. Keep in mind, though, that Vancouver is Canada’s most expensive city, so if you want to stay in the heart of the action, be prepared to spend a little more. Ditto for some of the more remote accommodations as well, since some places are only accessible by water or air, making it more pricey to bring you the kind of ‘grownup’ amenities you deserve!
ROCKWATER SECRET COVE RESORT, Half-moon Bay, Sunshine Coast
If glamping is how you’d like to experience British Columbia, there’s no better place to do it on the Sunshine Coast than at Halfmoon Bay’s in one of Rockwater Secret Cove’s ‘tenthouses’. These permanent structures are perched on stilts along the coastline and are the very definition of luxury camping. From the heated slate floors to the jacuzzi tub, these romantic accommodations offer every luxury and amenity you would expect at a 5-star resort, but with private views of the ocean and a zen location where you can unplug if you’d like. The main resort offers local gourmet dining as well, which may be the only reason you’ll want to leave your room. For more photos and details, read a full review of the experienrce offered here.
O CANADA HOUSE BED & BREAKFAST, Downtown Vancouver
Built in 1897, this beautiful 3-story Victorian mansion has a long history in downtown Vancouver, and a storied one at that. It was here in 1908 that Ewing Buchan would pen one of the first English versions of Canada’s national anthem (hence the name of the inn). But this B&B has more going for it than just its place in Canadian history: its graceful rooms and beautiful Queen Anne exterior were saved from the wrecking ball in 1995 and meticulously restored to become the heritage-award-winning B&B it is today. Not only are the rooms generous and comfortable with huge beds and charming ensuites, but the management provides all kinds of goodies beyond their delicilous breakfasts: the kitchen is stocked 24/7 with coffee, tea, homemade cookies and treats, and there are chocolates, salty snacks and sherry in the living room for guests to enjoy. With up to 16 guests, this B&B is larger than most and is run more like a boutique hotel than a private home, but the service is still both personal and professional. Enjoy a storied stay in a downtown location.
VANCOUVER ISLAND – VICTORIA
HOTEL ZED, Victoria
Funky, retro, cool and just plain a gas, baby! That’s Hotel Zed. Or probably better described as ‘motel’ Zed, since this is a re-imagined update of a classic motor hotel of the 1960s. Owner Mandy Farmer (a grownup herself) is the visionary behind the concept, who wanted to take a rundown motel and turn it into a hipster haven – an idea that met with a lot of raised eyebrows in the boardroom at Accent Inn (the company who runs a small chain of local properties). But after 10 years of ‘no’, Farmer got the ‘yes’ she wanted, and that enabled her to bring Hotel Zed to life. It’s colourful, it’s purposefully playful, it has all the modern conveniences you want, and its restaurant, The Ruby, is one of the best places in Victoria for breakfast. If you have an ounce of fun or whimsy in you, stay at the Zed.
VILLA AERIE RESORT, Malahat, Vancouver Island
Billion-dollar views. There’s no other way to describe the location of Villa Eyrie, a Mediterranean-inspired hilltop villa about 30 minutes outside of Victoria overlooking Finlayson Arm and the Pacific Ocean. Practically everything at this hotel has been designed to take advantage of the incredible panorama below, from the elegant dining room, to the glass-walled pool area, to the upper terrace and full-service spa. There’s even an amphitheatre at the top of the property that is used for outdoor concerts, special events and dining-under-the-stars. Coming to Villa Eyrie truly feels like an escape not just from the city, but from the country, (you can even rent an Alfa Romeo for the day to really feel like you are up in the Italian countryside.) Guests enjoy tastefully decorated rooms, fine dining with ingredients grown right on the property and friendly staff who are happy to help you with any request.
WILD RENFREW, Port Renfrew Vancouver Island
“Wilderness Within Reach” is how Wild Renfrew Resort describes the experience it offers its guests, and for once, this isn’t just marketing speak. Located in Port Renfrew, a collection of tiny communities that cannot even be classified as a ‘town’, this wilderness lodge sits at the end of Vancouver Island’s West Coast Road on an ocean inlet that offers guests unrivalled views of mountain, ocean and forest. In fact, the resort’s ocean-side cabins are not just the epitome of ‘rustic luxury’, they offer balconies that are only feet above the high tide water mark. During the day check out the outdoor activities available, or hike to an old-growth forest. Then enjoy a dinner at the resort which offers on-pointe west coast cuisine, before heading back to your cabin to cuddle under a blanket on your deck and watch the stars come out. This isn’t just a place to stay, it’s a true destination.
THE SHORELINE INN, Tofino Vancouver Island
Combine one part growing-up-at-a-cottage nostalgia, one part amazing ocean-front views and one part affordable comfort, and you have the Shoreline Inn in Tofino. Originally a group of A-frame style cottages built in the 1960s, these cozy cabins will bring back all the wonderful memories of cottage life, from the board games tucked into the shelves, to the tongue-and-groove wood decor. And while the owners have purposely kept much of the original charm, (even outfitting the cabins with some funky retro-style furnishings), these cottages have been updated to make them more suitable for today’s travellers. There are beach towels waiting for you, toiletries in the bathroom, a flat screen TV, and of course fast and reliable wifi. After all, you’ll want to share the incredible view that is just outside your window.
TIP: The top cabins are cozy and intimate with a private upper deck, but if you’d like a little more living space, opt for the lower cabin as it gives you more room.
FREE SPIRIT SPHERES, Qualicum Bay, Vancouver Island
If you have ever dreamed of sleeping in a treehouse, then you definitely want to check out Free Spirit Spheres. These tree houses aren’t just meticulously crafted down to the smallest detail – they are completely spherical! Suspended between trees in a small forested property that surrounds a small pond, these balls-in-trees provide a total escape from the ordinary. Everything here is pretty and private and the people behind the whole concept are just as extraordinary: welcoming, creative and down-to-earth (even if their spheres aren’t), they’ll make sure your visit here is as magical as their spheres. With only a few tree houses on the property, though, you’ll want to plan ahead if you’d like to stay here.
Read more about what it’s like to stay in a Free Spirit Sphere, and you’ll see why a night here is not one you’ll soon forget.
Want to read more about our experiences in British Columbia? Click here.