I’m not a city slicker kind-of girl. The idea of spending the weekend confined to a cubicle in some giant skyscraper – 5 star or otherwise – isn’t really my idea of a romantic getaway, regardless of what google thinks. Don’t get me wrong, I love a little luxury and romance. Hot tubs and vino are my best friends. I just prefer to be surrounded by wilderness, wherever possible. So why not have the perfect balance of both? Here are my top picks for Weekend Stays Near Vancouver (For Nature Lovers).
Prancing Horse Retreat, Vancouver Island
573 Ebedora LN, Malahat, BC V0R 2L0 Canada, +1 250-743-9378, We highly recommend Luxury Suite 3, sleeps 2, prices from CA$185 (note: this property has now closed for bookings indefinitely, please contact number above directly for updates)
They say “a man’s home is his castle”, and this man seems to have taken the idea literally. Tucked away 31km (19.26 miles) North of Victoria in the Cowichan Valley lies a castle-inspired home that has to be seen, to be believed. Canadian couple, Alan & Elaine, manage the on-site farm, gardens and lodging, and they have created the definition what I picture a dream home to be. The view from the lodging is breathtaking, particularly if you stay in Luxury Suite 3 as you can enjoy the buena vista from the comfort of your private double soaker tub (with a glass or three of wine, fresh fruit, and homemade chocolate brownies in hand – of course – thanks to the amazing hosts!) Both luxury suites are fitted out with four-poster beds, Battenberg lace, crackling fireplaces and Apple TV with free Netflix. They have seriously thought of everything. So if you feel like trading in a rough nights sleep in a wilderness hut, for something a little more luxurious and private at a very affordable price – perhaps for a romantic getaway or a special weekend with the girls – without a doubt, this is the place to go.
Fraser River’s Edge Lodge, Chilliwack
43037 Old Orchard Road, Chilliwack, BC V2R 4A6 Canada, +1 604-703-1968 fraserriversedge.com, sleeps 2, prices from CA$129 (note: very popular, particularly in the Summer months – book well in advance.)
Located on 3 acres of rainforest, this waterfront lodge is perfectly perched on the Fraser River. The hosts, Mike & Adriana, along with their twin daughters Tyla and Mikayla, manage the property, and run fishing and boating tours on the river. They live in Canada for the Summer and Mexico for the Winter, and have incredible travel stories and knowledge to share (read about it here). The property itself has fairly modest rooms that, in my opinion, need a bit of an update. However, the real drawcard of this property for me is its location. The area is surrounded by mountains and temperate rainforest. The views of the river are awe-inspiring, particularly from the hot tub (starting to see a pattern here?). Whether you feel like having a barbecue on the outdoor patio, walking the forest trails nearby, or cooking s’mores by the fireside in the garden below, you will be spoilt for choice for things to do. When the hosts are in town, the breakfasts are restaurant-quality. Probably one of the best Eggs Benedict variations that I’ve ever tasted! This is the perfect place to spend quality time with friends and family. A tranquil escape from the buzz of city life.
Stephenson Point B&B, Vancouver Island
3318 Stephenson Point Road, Nanaimo, BC V9T 1K2 Canada, +1 250-758-6888, stephensonpointbb.com, we highly recommend the Eagles Nest Suite, sleeps 2, prices from CA$140 (note: suites are on 2nd floor of private home, and host lives on 1st floor of property.)
Located on the Eastern side of Vancouver Island along the infamous Sunshine Coast, this seaside guesthouse has stunning views over Departure bay, where you can watch the ferries go back and forth between Vancouver and the Island, hear the wildlife come alive at night, and witness deer roaming around the yard. Extremely friendly and accommodating host, Cher, decided to live out her dream of opening her own Bed & Breakfast and brought the idea to life by transforming the top floor of her home into guests suites. My personal favorite, the Eagles Nest Suite, features a King size bed, private deck, spa bath, bath robes & slippers, gas fireplace and sitting area. We wanted to get a little closer to the water, so we took our portable barbecue (or as we call it, our “portable fire that’s perfectly legal”) to the water’s edge, and enjoyed a meal by the fireside as the sunset – it was a real highlight of the trip! It’s funny how cooking on an open fire can give you a sense of oneness with the environment. We enjoyed our stay as a couple so much that we took my future in-laws to the same B&B when they came to visit, and they loved it too. Suitable for families, couples and groups alike – it’s the perfect Summertime spot. Did I mention the hot tub on the outdoor patio overlooking the water? A prerequisite for making this list, of course!
Greenwood Country Inn, Pemberton
1371 Greenwood Street, Pemberton, BC V0N 2L0 Canada, (toll-free)+1 877-977-5607 or (604) 894-5607, http://greenwoodcountryinn.com/, we highly recommended the Lovebird Suite, sleeps 2, prices from CA$155.
Particularly beautiful in the Winter, this cottage is hidden in the quiet residential town of Pemberton, 32km North of the hustle and bustle in Whistler. The ski slopes are close enough to drive to, yet far enough that you won’t run into crowds of tourists – which makes it a cheaper, more enjoyable alternative to the overpriced and overrun Snow Resorts of Whistler. The host, Margit de Haan, is an expert skier. She knows the secret runs on Whistler and Blackcomb Mountain like she knows her alphabet, and she may just share her knowledge and take you there herself – if you can keep up! The cottage features a fireplace, music lounge and piano, First Nations art and a hot tub on the viewing deck for perfect measure. My personal favorite, the Lovebird Suite, is a gorgeous little romance den decorated with hand-painted murals of gardens and birds, a Queen size bed, private balcony with views over the village, valley and mountains, and wait for it…. a private jacuzzi with unobstructed views of Mt. Currie. Doesn’t get much more romantic than that!
I have personally stayed at these inns, and absolutely loved the experience. I’d stay again if I was still in Canada but alas – we have now moved to Europe. You will have to stay there for me. Please share your experience (so i can reminisce) in the comments below.
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