Bucket List BC: 9 hotels and resorts you have to visit once in your life

Jun 21 2021, 8:00 am

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British Columbia is home to some of the most beautiful resorts in the world — and with provincial travel restrictions lifting this month, we can finally visit them again.

From iconic glamping experiences to luxe hotels in the centre of our biggest city, here’s a list of bucket list hotels in BC to stay at once in your life.

Clayoquot Wilderness Lodge

One of BC’s most iconic destinations, the luxe Clayoquot Wilderness Lodge spot put “glamping” on the map (thank you, Ryan Reynolds). Nestled in Clayoquot Sound, the property features 25 canvas tents that offer gorgeous waterfront and rainforest views for a unique experience you won’t get anywhere else.

Credit: Clayoquot Wilderness Resort

Each tent — or suite, rather — is impeccably furnished with local artisan-designed pieces reflective of the local area. Suffice to say, there’s no “roughing it” here.

Credit: Clayoquot Wilderness Resort

Experience is key at the pricey escape, which can include activities like boat tours, horseback riding and hiking via helicopter. The hotel even puts together custom itineraries for three, four and seven night stays.

Credit: Clayoquot Wilderness Resort

The spa and dining options are top notch here, too. Chef Asher Blackford uses locally sourced, sustainable produce for the west coast menu. 

As for the spa, guests can indulge in a number of signature treatments, including the dreamy “Oceanic Drift” sea salt exfoliation, or the the ultra-relaxing “Ocean Song” facial.

Sonora Resort

You can’t get more up close and personal with nature than on Sonora Island. This once-in-a-lifetime experience is undoubtedly bucket list and the ultimate in wilderness luxury.

Sonora Resort.

Accessible by London Air Services, you’ll feel a world away at the Relais & Chateau resort, which is between Vancouver Island and the Mainland.

Credit: Sonora Resort

Surrounded by water and forest, spacious private villas are the definition of “room with a view” with their giant floor-to-ceiling windows. L’Occitane products are another bonus.

Glacier Kayaking is offered at the nearby, accessible by helicopter. (Credit: Tyler Cave)

Like Clayoquot, world-class experience is key here: black bear, humpback wale and dolphin sightings are all par for the course during boat eco-tours. Glacier paddle boarding is another unique activity offered, along with river fly fishing, snorkeling with salmon, and much more.

Four Seasons Whistler

Few hotel brands are synonymous with luxury like the Four Seasons — and their Whistler outpost is no exception. No detail is spared at this breathtaking property, which boasts cabin-inspired, woodsy rooms and extravagant private villas at the base of Blackcomb Mountain.

Credit: Four Seasons Whistler

Winter and summer offer totally different, but equally amazing experiences: a trip during the cooler months is a must for the skiers, while those looking for a sunny summer getaway won’t be disappointed.

Just in time for patio season, the hotel is introducing Braidwood Sunsets at their new restaurant of the same name, which opened in Dec. 2020. The twilight celebration happens Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays on the hotel’s extensive terrace.

Credit: Four Seasons Whistler

FS Whistler is also home to the region’s best pool and hot tub combo (both are extra toasty in the cooler months). Did we mention villas come with a private jacuzzis of their own?

Fairmont Pacific Rim

One of Vancouver’s most spectacular hotels, this modern downtown oasis offers some of the city’s most opulent amenities — including the award-winning Willow Stream Spa.

Credit: Fairmont Pacific Rim

Taking over the Fairmont PacRim‘s entire fifth floor, the 8500 sq. foot spa includes their Insta-worthy outdoor terrace complete with a swimming pool.

Credit: Fairmont Pacific Rim

The dreamy marble foyer is also home to the popular Lobby Lounge, offering a bevy of handcrafted cocktails (we like the rosé sangria) and raw bar (sushi and oysters are on the docket). Upstairs, check out the garden-inspired Botanist and blush-themed champagne lounge.

Credit: Fairmont Pacific Rim

The hotel is a spot to check out whether you’re staying there or not, but for those who are checking in, the suites are other-worldly. With sweeping ocean views, personalized butler and a bathroom you could only dream of, 2230 sq. foot Prime Minister Suite is the crème de la crème of VanCity hotel rooms. The equally as lavish Chairman’s Suite even got a feature on Vogue thanks to Cole Sprouse.

Wickaninnish Inn

This Tofino spot was once named the top resort in Canada by Condé Nast Traveler. The Wikaninnish Inn is conveniently located right on the stunning Chesterman Beach, giving guests all the ocean views their hearts could desire.

Credit: Simone Mondino

Nature and elegance come together at this boutique Relais & Chateau destination, which is bucket list for many around the world. Storm watching season begins in November and lasts through to February, while the best time of year to surf is September to November (bring your wetsuit).

Credit: Jeremy Koreski

This incredible, multi-building property offers an array of stay options, including the romantic Canopy Suite and Chesterman Beach Loft. Visitors can also indulge in wellness-centered treatments at the award-winning Ancient Cedars Spa.

Credit: Jeremy Koreski

Bonus: pets are welcome, so your four-legged friends can enjoy this stunning beach and resort, too.

Fairmont Empress

History alone makes the Fairmont Empress bucket list: the Victoria icon opened its doors in 1908, and has welcomed a number of royals in its day. King Edward (the one who abdicated) stayed in 1919. His brother King George and his wife, the Queen Mother, were also hosted, along with Queen Elizabeth numerous times.

Credit: Fairmont Empress

The Empress is the definition of old-world glamour, but it’s anything but tired: the property underwent a $60 million restoration between 2014 and 2017. The original essence remains in tact, but the hotel did see some modern touches and additions — including the Q Bar and stunning Lobby Lounge.

Credit: Fairmont Empress

High tea is an absolute must here, featuring the best scones ever (try them for yourself). The indulgent experience is reminiscent of a time past, but in the best way. Afterwards, enjoy a leisurely walk around the property and snap some photos in the gorgeous garden. The popular “Lunch on the Lawn” is also set to return this summer, which sells out every weekend.

Watermark Resort

Osoyoos Lake is absolutely gorgeous — and the Watermark Resort is located right on the beach. This family-friendly destination offers spectacular water and mountain views from both the Beachfront Townhouses and main building.

Credit: Watermark Resort

Kids and parents have the best of both worlds with both a lake and huge pool (complete with a coveted waterslide). The desert destination also includes a relaxing spa and hot tub for the adults.

Credit: Watermark Resort

Outdoor activities are a major part of the experience: try your hand at kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, or for those who want to relax on the water, boat rentals are available at the marina.

Credit: Watermark Resort

The picturesque property is also surrounded by wineries for those interested in booking a tasting experience. Be sure to check out the newly opened 15 Park Bistro.

Sparkling Hill

The crown jewel of the Okanagan. The 3.5 million Swarovski crystal elements integrated into Sparkling Hill Resort make this spot not only bucket list worthy, but totally one-of-a-kind. The resort itself was actually founded by Gernot-Langes Swarovski, patriarch of the Swarovski family, with the desire to spread the European health and wellness experience.

Credit: Sparkling Hill Resort

The hotel itself is located on a bluff that overlooks the postcard worthy Okanagan Lake — a view best enjoyed from the outdoor infinity pool.

Credit: Sparkling Hill Resort

The 40,000 sq. foot KurSpa is an itinerary essential, with amenities like indoor and outdoor pools, Kneipp hydrotherapy, and separate tea and serenity rooms.
For those looking to rebalance and reset, Sparkling Hill offers an array of health and wellness retreats. A seven-day cleanse and five-night whole body wellness are on the menu, among a curated list of seven.

Klahoose Wilderness Resort

This brand new luxury eco-destination is in the heart of the tranquil Desolation Sound. Indigenous cultural experience sets this Klahoose Wilderness Resort apart from any other, as guests are guided by locals to participate in cultural programming by members of the Klahoose Nation who reside in Squirrel Cove.

Credit: Klahoose Wilderness Resort

A journey to the cultural center on Cortes Island — opposite Quadra Island near Campbell River to Toba Inlet — is a must. Other items on the itinerary can include spotting grizzly bears on a wilderness tour, taking in the dreamy scenery on a sea kayak.

Credit: Klahoose Wilderness Resort

Situated on the water, the rooms at this all-inclusive resort offer gorgeous views of the Homfray Channel.

Credit: Klahoose Wilderness Resort

You won’t find coveted seclusion anywhere like here: Klahoose Wilderness Resort opens on June 10.

Cassandra GillCassandra Gill

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