Are you planning a trip to British Columbia? I know it is high on my hit list of provinces to explore more in the future as it offers so much diversity and surprises. For example, I had always thought of Vancouver as the capital, but it is actually Victoria, a far smaller city southwest of the city that would well be worth a visit.
The tourism board have complied this list of 10 unusual places for you to consider staying at on your next visit to make it just that little bit extra special.
North of Ucluelet on Vancouver Island’s west coast, Wya Point Resort uses eco-yurts to take seaside camping to the next level. Built for up to five and full of modern conveniences, these circular tents, owned and operated by the Ucluelet First Nation, boast pretty views of the Pacific, mere steps from the resort’s private beaches. Don’t miss: Wya Point’s First Nations-led surf lessons that promise historical insight into the traditional Yu-klew-ith-aht landscape. wyapoint.com
BEAM ME UP
Spherical sleeping quarters high in the forest make for satisfying slumber north of Nanaimo. Up amid Vancouver Island’s spruce, cedar and fir, Free Spirit Spheres — the world’s first manufacturers of spherical treehouses — offers three functional works of art, complete with snug dining and sleeping areas. Don’t miss: a serene view of the landscape below, courtesy of spiral staircases and elevated walkways and platforms.
At Vancouver’s Skwachàys Lodge, every room tells a story, thanks to six Vancouver interior designers and six Aboriginal artists who created livable works of art. Original carvings, blankets and paintings bedeck this modern boutique hotel, with all profits funnelled back to the local Aboriginal community and the Vancouver Native Housing Society, to support a 24-unit Artists in Residence program. Don’t miss: the hotel’s rooftop sweat lodge, artists’ workshop, smudge room and guest lounge.
Warm Pacific waters, abundant marine life and cool cabanas set the scene on Kinghorn Island, off the northern tip of BC’s Sunshine Coast. Here, Cabana Desolation Eco Resort lodgings embrace the rainforest elements, via screens and breezy curtains, wrap-around decks and open dining quarters. Don’t miss: a serene guided paddle through Desolation Sound with Powell River Sea Kayak.
There’s more than gold panning in Barkerville, an authentic 1860s Gold Rush town in the province’s Cariboo region. The King House and The Kelly House are history-rich bed and breakfasts, while the St. George Hotel, a restored Main Street hotel and saloon, offers seven rooms and a hearty bacon-and-eggs breakfast. Don’t miss: period costume-clad town namesake “Billy Barker” as he recounts his struggles and triumphs during BC’s Gold Rush.
ROOM TO ROAM
ROAM’s safari-style tents along the Chilko River provide a temporary home away from home for wildlife enthusiasts in BC’s Chilcotin. Perched high above the rushing water, raised platform accommodation offers a bird’s-eye view of the bears as they amble and feed along the river’s edge. Don’t miss: photo-friendly kayak and drift-boat excursions that bring the resident wildlife into sharper focus, from a safe distance.
PLENTY OF FISH
Salmon rules at BC’s Cassiar Cannery, on the Skeena River, south of Prince Rupert. One of the longest continuously operated salmon canneries on Canada’s west coast — once home to cookhouses, machine shops, bunkhouses, blacksmiths and more — Cassiar spotlights its historic past with overnights in refurbished residences, set on pilings above the tide. Don’t miss: a visit to neighbouring North Pacific Cannery Museum for an enlightening tour of an intact cannery town.
A plunge into the warm waters of Shuswap Lake is just one of many houseboat perks in southcentral BC. Aboard Twin Anchors, would-be sailors can set off on boats suited for six or opt for vessels outfitted for up to 24, all equipped with full kitchens and comfy sleeping quarters (bigger boats boast hot tubs and waterslides). Don’t miss: swim, golf or bike, all from your temporary on-the-lake address.
CLOSER TO GOD
Views of the heavens are on full display at God’s Mountain, south of Penticton, where an open-air, roofless room tempts with a private tub and a gauzy four-poster bed. Set in Okanagan wine country, the Mediterranean-style villa delivers on ambience thanks to its vineyard-and-Skaha-Lake setting. Don’t miss: the estate’s Alfresco Dinner Experience with Joy Road Catering, where nibbles of seasonal Okanagan bounty and sips of local wine are complemented by an Instagram-ready longtable view.
Sleek domed structures define the Villa Dome Quixote landscape in BC’s Kootenay Rockies. Easy to warm and quick to cool, these eco-friendly structures feel other-worldly, bolstered by sky lights, hardwood floors and views of the Selkirk and Valhalla mountains. Don’t miss: a stroll through the nearby village of New Denver, home to a convivial summer garlic festival. domequixote.com