For some, a vacation means shuffling around in an oversized robe, spa days, incredible restaurants and first-class accommodation fit with five star views. For others, it means living out of a backpack, sleeping on the ground and scraping mud and dirt off of hiking boots for weeks following. But what about those who live somewhere in the middle of the vacation spectrum? The people who appreciate the finer things in life, but aren’t afraid to get a little muddy? Well, that contradictory, nature-meets-luxury style vacation has a home and the name of the destination is Tofino, British Columbia.
Back in the day, long before the road to paradise was paved, Tofino was a rough-and-tumble town of loggers and fishermen. Then, there were the hippies and the surf bums. As of today, Tofino is still a top surfing destination and is considered Canada’s unofficial surf capital. Its limitless hikes, incredible rainforests and endless adventures certainly draw out those who seek adrenaline and unforgettable, rugged coastal experiences. However, the breathtaking beauty of the coast and its boundless sandy beaches did not go unseen by the crowd that lives for the fluffy robe. Soon, they too began to make their way to the untapped haven of the far west coast of Vancouver Island.
While the epic scenery and landscape of the coast make it a place for wild adventures and intense back-to-nature experiences, it can also be a place of recuperation, recharging and relaxation. All along the twisting road into Tofino, signs mark the way to some of the most luxurious accommodation on Vancouver Island. Many have private beachfronts, or are tucked away into the rainforest. Styled in classic west coast décor, the warm fireplaces, lofty ceilings and towering cedar accents draw visitors in from the outside. Nautical treasures are laced within the buildings in the form of shells, driftwood, sea stars and glass floats, adding subdued, beach house tones to the otherwise luxe affect. From beachfront resorts and lodges, to forested cabins, the sense of being alone on the coast, while remaining just minutes away from a top tourist destination, is at a high. With the accommodation options, luxury or otherwise, literally surrounded by nature, getting back to it is as easy as stepping out onto the balcony, or out the door onto the beach. Adventures take the form of surfing, whale watching, grizzly bear watching and hiking – all just moments away from Tofino’s accommodation options.
As for the fluffy robes… A number of the top accommodation in Tofino also possess in-house spas. When the wave soundtrack featured in spas naturally plays outside the windows, it’s only logical to open a few coastal-themed ones, right? The rejuvenating setting of the stunning coastal rainforest and stretches of endless sandy beach make for the ultimate nature-meets-luxury collision. Do yoga while breathing in the scent of the living rainforests, melt during a message to the natural cadence of the ocean, or relax in an outdoor Jacuzzi taking in the sunset over the sea. With so much natural goodness at hand, many spas also use products that are made in town with locally sourced ingredients. Having it applied directly to your skin takes “getting back to nature” one step further.
So, what about the wallet factor? It’s true that during the summer, accommodation is not only tough to come by, but it can also easily break the bank – especially when it comes to luxury. Bye-bye ultimate holiday… Vacation rentals backed by bookings in any of the spas make for a great solution. Another option is to visit during the off season. While a little bit stormier, the west coast of Vancouver Island was born for the rain, and it’s absolutely stunning in it. Not to mention that same luxury accommodation, be it resort, cabin or hotel, is likely to be close to half price compared to the summer. Even better is that spa days can go guilt free, as can an afternoon of gazing out of a beautiful picture window next to a toasty wood fire. Both are acceptable alternatives to trekking out into the storms and rain. In fact, winter storm watching has become one of the top things to do in both Tofino and Ucluelet! If heading out to experience it first hand, a follow up soak in a hot Jacuzzi after the adventure is a must.
There it is, the ultimate destination for those nature-meets-luxury vacationers. Tofino is the perfect storm of impeccable restaurants, top hikes, incredible spas, ocean adventures and first-class accommodation. The facts are undeniable; getting the best of both luxury and back to nature is as easy as arriving in Tofino, B.C. on the west coast of Vancouver Island.
Contributed by: Laurissa Cebryk