Best Wellness Resorts on Vancouver Island to Unwind At
Vancouver Island, with its old growth forests and untouched coastline, set against the backdrop of the stunning Beaufort Mountain Range, is the perfect destination to unwind and rejuvenate the mind, body and spirit. For a long time, the island has been a magnet for nature lovers, artists and musicians, who enjoy its tranquility and biological diversity. Furthermore, it is home to some of North America’s, if not the world’s, finest wellness resorts.
The Wickaninnish Inn and Ancient Cedars Spa
In Travel + Leisure magazine’s 2011 World’s Best Travel Awards, which is determined by readers’ vote, The Wickaninnish Inn won best hotel in Canada and was placed among North America’s top twenty-five resorts. Situated on the western side of Vancouver Island, surrounded by rugged rocks and overlooking an unspoiled coastline, The Wickaninnish Inn offers a spellbinding getaway. The location is made even more special by the fact that the Wick Inn, as it is affectionately known, is the only resort on gorgeous Chesterman Beach.
Between November and February, during the Canadian winter, frequent storms make the already dramatic coast even wilder. Since 1996, storm enthusiasts have flocked to the Wickaninnish Inn to take advantage of the resort’s unique position. In fact, the building’s special design means that every single room boasts a view of the Pacific Ocean. The Wick Inn even offers a “Storm Watchers Package,” which includes two nights’ accommodation, a guided walk with a local nature expert, complimentary oilskin hats and valet parking.
Another experience available all year round, but perhaps made even more special by the onset of winter, is a visit to Hot Springs Cove. Found in the Maquinna Provincial Park, the cove is reached only by air or sea. The Wick Inn offers to pack your lunch for you and arrange the twenty-five minute flight or seventy-minute boat ride required to transport you to this magical destination, where you can rejuvenate your body and mind in the goodness of hot mineral springs.
The Wickaninnish Inn’s Ancient Cedars Spa is one of Vancouver Island’s most famous wellness centers. Ancient Cedars offers a comprehensive menu of luxurious and uplifting experiences, from signature holistic treatments based on the traditions of Hawaiian healers and indigenous cleansing ceremonies to hot stone massages, daily yoga classes and skincare products created from organic, locally grown seaweed. While receiving your treatment, lose yourself in the mesmerizing ocean views.
Tigh-Na-Mara Seaside Spa Resort and Conference Centre
by Raul P
On the east side of Vancouver Island, where, in comparison to the west, the climate is drier, the ocean calmer and the water warmer, is Tigh-Na-Mara Seaside Spa Resort and Conference Centre. Set on twenty-two acres and stretching along the three kilometers of Rathtrevor Beach, Parksville, Tigh-Na-Mara offers a sheltered, dreamy escape from the workaday world.
192 separate units, hand-built from fir and cedar, make up the accommodation. Depending on your numbers and your needs, you can choose to stay in a one or two-bedroom log cabin, complete with a wood burning fire, which is suitable for a family, or a condo with sweeping views of the sea, or a spa bungalow.
Tigh-Na-Mara provides an impressive choice of recreational activities. You can challenge your partner to a game of table tennis, relax on the golf course, experience the scenery on horseback, have fun playing volleyball with a bunch of friends, have a hit of tennis or keep an eye on the horizon for passing whales.
One of the resort’s biggest draw cards is the well-known Grotto Spa. Its highlight is, undoubtedly, its indoor bathing pool, filled with warm water that is rich in nutrients and minerals. Within the pool room, you can enjoy a waterfall, two stories in height; powerful cascades and an invigorating whirlpool. As the name suggests, the pool’s design is based on a naturally formed cave, which creates a relaxing, intimate and slightly enchanting feel.
Apart from the pool room, the Grotto Spa is comprised of eighteen rooms and three suites designed for couples seeking privacy. These feature hand-built hot tubs made of copper. The treatment list on offer is extensive and one of the lovely touches is that, wherever possible, naturally occurring ingredients sourced from Canada’s West Coast are used. Furthermore, after enjoying their treatment, guests are provided with tea and fruit and a seat in the Grotto Spa’s ‘Relaxation Lounge’ where they can unwind by the fire.
Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe Resort and Spa
In Victoria, Canada’s ‘garden city’ and the capital of British Columbia, can be found the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe Resort and Spa. This resort, situated on Victoria’s harbor, offers both beautiful views and the convenience of being just five minutes’ stroll from Victoria’s picturesque, interesting and entertaining downtown area, with its museums, art galleries, busy restaurants and cosmopolitan scene.
The Delta Victoria offers a range of rooms. There are airy loft suites, located on the eighth floor, which can accommodate a family with ease; the exotic penthouse, with its far-reaching views of Victoria’s surrounding mountains, Jacuzzi, dramatic marble entrance and enormous windows; and more affordable standard rooms, which offer comfort and space, but not necessarily views.
For fifteen years in a row, The Spa at Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe Resort has been awarded ‘Best Spa’ in the Victoria News Group’s ‘Best of the City Awards’. The Spa has a particular focus on choosing special products. In terms of general application, the Spa’s treatments feature a special organic skincare brand that comes all the way from Hungary, called ‘Eminence.’ For those concerned about crow’s feet and the wear and tear that comes with age, the Spa offers ‘Wilma Schuman,’ which is actually a product of medical strength, containing liposome, collagen and DNA.
From aromatherapy treatments in the Spa’s special Japanese soaker hot tub, to hydrotherapy treatments that promise to detoxify and increase circulation, through the simultaneous massaging of 256 high-powered water jets, to sports pedicures designed specifically for men, the Spa truly does offer something for everyone. Clearly, its reputation as ‘Best Spa’ in Victoria comes as a result of commitment to varied and high quality service.
For those seeking a break from a hectic work schedule, an escape from the stresses of city living or an invigorating adventure in dramatic scenery, Vancouver Island’s diverse range of wellness resorts offers boundless opportunities for mental, physical and spiritual renewal.