There are two kinds of vacations in this world. There’s the kind where you have adventures and explore the place your are visiting, taking in the food, the culture, and the environment. And then there is the vacation where all the work is simply in getting there. Once you arrive, your only job is to relax and be taken care of.
The Kingfisher Oceanside Resort and Spa in Courtenay very much fits into the latter category. After taking the ferry from Horseshoe Bay to Nanaimo, you’ll need to drive up island about an hour to Courtenay. The Resort itself is located about 5 minutes from the town’s centre, on the ocean. And once you’re there, you’ll never want to leave.
The entire resort is designed with ocean views in mind. Every room has a view of the ocean, looking out over the Georgia Straight to Texada Island and the Sunshine Coast in the distance. My room had a luxurious king-sized bed, a mini-kitchen with microwave, coffee maker, kettle, two burners, a sink and a bar fridge, and an eating area. My favourite part of the room, however, was the lounging area with a gas fireplace, perfect for cozily sitting with a glass of wine and watching the sun set through the huge glass patio doors. In the summer, you could do the same outside on your private balcony.
Given that the Resort has the word “spa” in it, you’d expect to have a spa-like experience while you are there. Options abound. In my room, there was a soaker tub with jets, big enough for two, where you can sit and soak and look out the window at the view. The bathroom had double sinks and a heated floor, and dual rain showerheads. The Resort is also equipped with an outdoor swimming pool and hot tub, as well as both a steam sauna and a dry sauna. They even offer daily yoga classes.
The best, though, is the the hydropath. Built into an underground grotto under the spa (where you can get anything from manicures to pedicures to facials to massages), the hydropath consists of 7 different hydrotherapy treatments to soothe and smooth every part of your body. There are hot tubs, and massaging jets, and waterfalls and steam rooms. I emerged feeling relaxed and revived. The hydrotherapy did wonders for my back and shoulders (which are constantly tense from spending days hunched over a computer), and the final treatment, a sea-salt exfoliation and soak, left my skin soft and smooth.
No getaway is complete without great food (which you do not have to cook yourself). The Breakwater is the on-site restaurant, and again, the views here are unparalleled. Chef Phillipe Gagne helms the kitchen here, and his passion for locally-sourced ingredients is all over the menu. The classically-trained French chef loves playing with the idea of combining a triangle of flavours on the plate, mixing land (beef and pork, root vegetables) with sea (fish and shellfish) and air (in the form of height, light sauces and microgreens). The seasonally-influenced menu features seafood that is sourced as locally as possible, including Fanny Bay Oysters from just a few miles down the road, and Qualicum Bay Scallops from a few miles further. Everything here is made in-house, including the ketchup.
For me, the little things are what add up to a lot. The fine details at the Kingfisher are all taken care of: the room comes with a tea pot in case you want to make a whole pot, not just a cup, there are proper glass wineglasses (who wants to drink wine out of a plastic cup?), and creamers in the fridge (I hate that powdered creamer stuff!). The toiletries are a lovely Green Tea line from Deserving Thyme, and did I mention the heated bathroom floor? Above all else, the service was whip-sharp and incredibly friendly. Kyla Trottier, the assistant front office manager, was especially warm and welcoming.
When it comes to a relaxing getaway, you really want the whole experience: a gorgeous room, relaxing treatments, and delicious food. Whether for a romantic, child-free weekend away with your partner, a fun girls weekend, or simply to escape the city for some soothing peace and quiet, the Kingfisher Oceanside Resort and Spa delivers.
4330 Island Highway South, Courtenay, BC