Vancouver Island is mostly given over to a wilderness of snowy mountain peaks and impenetrable forest. But it’s deceptive in many ways, too: for example, around the state capital of Victoria, the climate is akin to that of the Mediterranean. The best way to explore the island’s botanical gardens, rainforests, fjord-like lakes and abundant wildlife is to first have a great base. Here are some great Vancouver Island hotels to get you started, all bookable with Culture Trip.
Once you break away from the urban sprawl along Vancouver Island’s east coast, you’ll discover that much of the island is pure wilderness and there’s no better way to experience that than in a log cabin. Located at the far north of the island, just outside Port Hardy, you’ll find Ecoscape Cabins, a collection of wooden abodes stocked with the modern world’s comforts – coffee maker, fridge, barbecue and more – but none of its downsides. Cabins are built from salvaged wood.
Also located in Port Hardy, but more importantly, in the traditional lands of the Kwakiutl people, is Kwa’Lilas Hotel on Vancouver Island, which is the perfect place to immerse yourself in First Nations arts and culture. The rooms exhibit the kind of comfort you’d expect from any top quality hotel, with one key bonus: the use of authentic indigenous design motifs, including relief-carved wood art and in the common areas of the hotel, traditional headdresses and larger art pieces.
Overlooking Victoria Harbour, sandwiched between the downtown and Beacon Hill Park, is one of the finest hotels in Victoria, and in Canada. Built in 1908 in a French Chateauesque style, the hotel has been listed as a National Historic Site of Canada since 1981. Inside the rooms, a sense of opulence reigns, through designer furniture and luxury lamps. A health club and spa, afternoon teas and upscale dining in Q at the Empress complete the picture of a top-class hotel stay.
As the capital of British Columbia and one of its oldest colonial settlements, Victoria is filled with lovely old hotels such as Abigail’s. This half-timbered Tudor building has the small-scale, personable charm of a bed and breakfast, but the rooms of an upscale Vancouver Island hotel, with four-poster beds and fireplaces in the fancier options. The included breakfast, curated to the preferences of each guest, is a highlight, as is the library lounge with its leather couches.
If Tofino sounds like a charming wilderness escape for you, then there’s also a more upscale cabin resort on the peninsula called Crystal Cove. The seafront cabins at this resort on Vancouver Island are particularly pretty, along a stretch of sheltered coast that is protected by offshore islets, in contrast to the high surf, exposed regions in the area. Log cabins all come with a kitchen full of utensils and a barbecue area. Some of them even have their own hot tubs.
Ucluelet is another small west coast peninsula with a rugged coastline, secluded beaches and a cluster of excellent places to stay on Vancouver Island. A Snug Harbour Inn is one such option, perched atop the cliffs that provide excellent views of the ocean or the forest. Skylights give the rooms an airy feel during the day, while warm lighting and fireplaces create a cosy, indeed snug, atmosphere during the evening. All rooms have heated floors and guests have access to the property’s hot tub.
For more stays bookable through Culture Trip, see the best hotels on Vancouver Island now. Alternatively, venture to the Canadian mainland and enjoy one of the best bed and breakfasts in Vancouver. Fill your days by partaking in the best outdoor activities in the city, then refuel at the best local restaurants.
This is an updated rewrite of an article originally by Hayley Simpson.
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