“It just has everything. It’s like an adventure goldmine … do something different everyday, every minute.”
Mathew Robertson, Momentum Adventure, UK
Sample Three-Day Eco-Safari
Arrive by floatplane. Enjoy a scenic aerial tour from YVR South River Terminal, over the Strait of Georgia and Vancouver Island, to the wild west coast of British Columbia. Just 45 minutes dock-to-dock. Deplane, then climb into a horse-drawn vintage parade wagon, for a lively ride along the estuary to the Outpost.
Arrive to the Cookhouse, where Champagne and afternoon hors d’oeuvres await. After a brief orientation and wildlife 101 review, you will be given a private tour of resort grounds, then walked to your guest tent, to unpack, relax before dinner, or stop in just long enough to prepare for a late afternoon bike ride, stroll, or short walk to the Healing Grounds Spa for a pre-dinner massage. If your journey has been long and all you wish for is to relax, then settle in before one of the huge wood-burning fireplaces and wait for the call to dinner.
Settle in. Prospector-style great white canvas guest tents are beautifully situated along the foreshore of the estuary, nestled under canopy of the rainforest, or tucked into the trees on the hillside. Your guest tent is your sanctuary for the duration of your stay. Tents are discreetly situated along individual cedar boardwalks, all connected to the central boardwalks leading to the Cookhouse, lounges, amenity tents and Spa.
Dinner reservations are taken on arrival, then daily. Resort guests are encouraged to experience the Cookhouse dining room, the open kitchen bar, the bistro dining tent, and the lounge dining tent, during their stay. Each dining venue offers something unique and remarkable, each designed to settle into its natural surroundings and showcase Chef’s contemporary coastal cuisine.
For the first two nights of your stay, you will be offered an a la carte menu featuring starters, mains and desserts made almost exclusively from local ingredients, supplied fresh daily from area growers, farmers, fisher people, foragers and artisanal producers.
Dishes change with the seasons, but include favourites like Heirloom Tomato Consommé with Dungeness Crab Beignets, Olive Oil Poached Sockeye Salmon with Torched Scallop Ceviche, Roast AAA Angus Beef Tenderloin with Bone Marrow Crust and Roasted Cauliflower Purée, Roast Haida Gwaii Halibut with Lemon and Tarragon
Gnocchi, Truffle Poached Organic Chicken, and of course fresh-caught steamed Dungeness Crab served with Kombu butter. Daily pastas highlight fresh-picked, fresh-foraged ingredients – many from our own greenhouse and vegetable and herb gardens, grown in ancient soil, nourished by glacier water. An on-site Pastry Chef bakes fresh breads and rolls daily, and the most exquisite desserts.
Evening. Settle into one of the overstuffed antique couches on the cookhouse deck, wander over to the covered wood-burning fire-pit for songs and s’mores, or wrap-up in a fleece and settle in by the foreshore to watch the millions of stars come out of hiding in the ink-black Clayoquot sky. When you are ready to retire, dozens of oil-filled torches light your way home.
Upon return to your tent, it will be toasty warm, twinkling with the glow of antique oil lamps, candles and vintage silver. The gas-fueled cast-iron stove will be lit and the stage will be set for the best sleep you ever had – lulled by the sounds of the rainforest at rest, the run of the river, the energy of the ages, and the gentle whisper of the wind. Dream of grand adventure, wild things, childhood wishes and grown up dreams come true. Sleep well.
Friday – day two
Wake at your leisure. All guest tents are unique and beautiful inside and out. All host a pair of artisanal, hand-made old-growth cedar Adirondack-style chairs, set on a lovely private deck – just perfect for early lounging in plush robes and terry slippers. Coffee and tea delivered discreetly, on bicycle, at the hour of your choosing.
Breakfast. Continental buffet is offered in the Cookhouse from 6:30am thru 10:00am and includes a gorgeous selection of house-made breads, muffins, scones, and muesli, plus fresh fruit, yoghurt, lox and bagels, smoothies to order, and seasonal specialties.
A la carte service is offered in the Cookhouse and dining tents from 7:00 am thru 10am, and features resort specialties like BC Roll Eggs Benedict with Dungeness Crab and Seaweed Hollandaise, a Wake & Bake skillet, Big Bedwell Sound Breakfast, Buttermilk Pancakes with Lemon Blueberry Compote and Bourbon Maple Syrup.
A daily omelette showcases what is best and freshest from the sea and local growers and producers. Locally roast coffee, herbal and traditional teas, and fresh-squeezed juices, complete the offering. All of the usual morning favourites are available for the asking, so if you don’t see what you wish for on the menu – please ask. Our morning Chefs are mad about breakfast, and will do their best to get you and your day off to a delicious start.
Yoga on deck Daily, at 7:00am, optional Flo Yoga classes for 8- 12 guests are held on the Cookhouse deck overlooking the estuary. The sun rises and the mist clears on another day in paradise. On drizzly mornings, classes move inside, to the Healing Grounds yoga room.
Morning activity – horseback riding. Choose from a half-dozen different riding adventures, of varying lengths and challenges, designed for all skill and age levels, and inclinations. No matter your expertise, resort wranglers will find the perfect horse and the perfect trail to match.
Ride the river trail along and across the Bedwell River, traverse the jurassic ferns gardens, or ascend to the long-abandon gold mine. Rides are narrated and vary in length from 1.5 to 3 hours, departing at 9:30am and again after lunch, so choose your route according to what else you have planned for the day. Boots supplied.
This half-day activity may be exchanged with another from the all-inclusive half-day menu.
Lunch. Noon meals are taken when and where you like. If you are out and about on an adventure, resort chefs pack gourmet lunches to go, to-order. Backpacker lunch menus feature hearty sandwiches, daily soup, fruit, bakery items, healthy snacks, trail mix, fruit and cheese selection, and much more to choose from.
If you choose to lunch at your leisure, or between activities, in the Cookhouse or one of the dining tents, an a la carte menu promises favourites like wood-fired pizza of the day, a feature pasta, grilled romaine and chicken caesar salad, and the favourite bison burger with truffle fries. The open kitchen bar is a coveted, casual spot for lunch, to share tales of adventure and recipes alike.
Afternoon activity – kayaking. Settling into an ocean kayak might be just the thing to stretch out the legs after spending the morning on a horse. Resort guides will gear you up with everything you need to safe safe and dry in a single or double kayak, then lead you on an excursion in and around the estuary (tide dependent) and out into Bedwell Sound. Paddle just under the trees along the foreshore, watching for otter, black bear, seals, harbour porpoise, eagles and whales. Guides share their knowledge of local wildlife and history of Clayoquot Sound.
About mid-way through a three-hour adventure, make a pit-stop at cedar beach to visit Emily one of many, many 1000+ year-old cedars populating our wilderness playground. This beautiful, colourfully striated cedar, named for famed Canadian artist Emily Carr was struck by lightning decades ago and is now a winter home to denning black bear and myriad other mammals and birds. This half-day activity could be exchanged with another from the half-day menu.
Restore. Day one may or may not be the day to fulfill your included relaxation massage. If it is, then indulge in 60-minutes of full-body bliss to melt away any stress or aches and pains. Massages can be taken in one of two heated massage tents perched at the edge of the Bedwell River, or in one of two beautiful treatment rooms. The choice is yours.
Follow-up with a visit to one of two wet-dry cedar saunas, fuelled by wood-burning stoves. One sauna tucked into the Healing Grounds Spa compound, the other overlooking the estuary below the hillside guest tents. Or relax in one of three outdoor cedar hot tubs – all with stunning views of the estuary by day, and of the endless Clayoquot sky by night. Spa saunas and hot tubs are open 24/7 but restricted to absolute quiet at 10pm.
Lounge. After an exciting day of adventure and/or spa, we have several ways and places to lounge, so find your favourite overstuffed couch or antique perch, your favourite view, and your favourite featured BC wine or barrel-aged cocktail, and set a spell before dinner. If you choose to begin lounging earlier than later, then you will find an enticing selection of hors d’oeuvres and libations set-out on the bar of the Cookhouse deck at around 4pm daily – though timing may change to suit the collective mood and arrival of returning adventurers.
Hors d’oeuvres always highlight the Clayoquot Sound seasons, and include at least one item made from our signature cedar-staked alder-smoked salmon – a traditional food of the Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations. Resort chefs prepare the salmon authentically, slowly, in the great stone fireplace at the Cookhouse. Alder-smoked salmon pairs beautifully with our very own viognier-marsanne made by Intersection Winery in Oliver, BC. The winery is owned by resort proprietor Richard Genovese, ensuring an excellent selection of its limited-production, award-winning red and white wines.
Spend some time in our new waterfront lounge with its floor-to-ceiling 12’ x 40’ windows on the estuary. Life in the untamed wild unfolds in all its glory, in full-colour right before your eyes. Sit quietly and watch as salmon return to spawn, eagles, seals and black bear come to feed, and resident great blue herons, river and sea otter, marten, mergansers, loons, and countless species of birds and small mammals go about their business in the ancient rainforest.
Pick up a cue for a challenging round of snooker on our 1908 billards table. Sit at our beautifully restored 1912 upright grand piano and play – well, or just around. This beautiful new lounge space is adult-oriented, but there are three other lounges with plenty to offer children and families. A Games Tent, featuring low-tech parlour and games of skill and chance; an Activities Tent offering plenty of overstuffed, lusciously comfy couches for lounging, sipping, and reading; and a Billards Tent perfectly suited to more spirited play. The Games Tent is a favourite private-dining option for romantic occasions. A family favourite by day, it is extraordinarily adult and beautiful at night, lit only by vintage oil lamps and candles.
Dinner sittings begin at 6pm, with reservations made in advance with our maitre’d, and always in consideration of your scheduled activities, lounge-time, and spa appointments. Be sure to book one evening at our coveted open-kitchen bar seating, to chat with the Chefs and see up-close-and-personal, how Relais & Chateaux class cuisine evolves from Vancouver Island farm, forest, garden, river or sea – to plate.
Lounge, spa, cocktail, or play as you please. Retire to your guest tent at your leisure.
If your resort visit is to celebrate a very special occasion, arrangements may be made in advance to reserve our waterfront lounge or family/event dining tent, for private dinners.
Saturday – day three
Wake at your leisure. Today, presents a whole new range of possibilities.
Consider waking early and walking, camera-in-hand, to the point in the estuary where the fresh glacier water of the Bedwell River meets the briny salt water of Bedwell Sound. Thousands of picture perfect moments unfold before your eyes, more authentic and beautiful than anything you have seen before.
The ancient rainforest is a magical place, where the energy of the ages dictates each wildly perfect moment. Sit quietly with your cup of steaming hot coffee or tea (morning Chefs are in at 5am). Breathe deep. Commit to memory.
Breakfast. Try something different this morning. Buttermilk pancakes, or fresh-baked muffins, scones and breads – paired with sweet butter and house-made jams and jellies, taste even better beneath a great white canvas, sun-dappled dining tent. Or, choose a window seat overlooking the estuary and watch the river valley sun rise first at the tops of the mountains, then spill down over the foreshore onto the river. Magical.
Full-Day Activity – Flores Island.
The Wild Side First Nations Interpretive Trail all-day adventure delivers a greater range and variety of sights and activity than any other all-inclusive resort offering. Start in the gear room, where you will be outfitted with outerwear to keep you safe and dry, then jump into a Zodiac (hard-bottom inflatable marine vessel) and head out in to the Sound. Hang on!
Depending on the tides, you will stop first (middle, or last) at spot along the foreshore to watch for black bear flipping rocks in search of tasty crabs and other crustaceans. Often mother bears and cubs are seen together – mum teaching, babies playing. Great blue heron and bald eagles populate the sound and almost always venture near in search of remnant seafood.
Next, head to the ancestral village of Ahousaht on Flores Island. The 11 km-long Wild Side Trail traverses ancient sitka spruce forests and two of the most spectacular and pristine beaches in Clayoquot Sound – Whitesand Cove and Cow Bay. The trail route has been used by the Ahousaht First nation for thousands of years, for spiritual purposes, to gather medicinal plants and wild food, and to collect wood and bark for cultural uses and to make baskets and clothing.
Our wilderness guides are well-versed in indigenous culture, flora and fauna, and will keep you informed and engaged, and answer questions throughout. Eagle, bear, cougar and wolf sighting are common at numerous locations along the trail, so remember to bring your camera and a spare battery. Don’t worry about overloading your SD card – we can offload it onto a 4GB USB to take home with you, if need be. A small gift to remind you of your time gone wild.
Enjoy your gourmet backpack lunch, perched on a log on the beach, then continue on your way. In preparation for your Wild Side adventure, consider reading elder Stanley Sam’s booked entitled Ahousaht Wild Side Heritage Trail Handbook, copies of which are in every guest tent. On the scenic way home (or before, as sightings dictate), search for migrating or resident orca and/or grey whales feeding in shallow bays and along the coastline.
Harbour seals and nearly-endangered stellar sea lions are abundant in Clayoquot Sound, and resort guides know just where to look. Be forewarned, as colonies can be very loud and very smelly! Wildlife sightings vary with the seasons and the weather. This all-day activity could be exchanged with two activities from the half-day menu, or, for added fees with an all-day adventure from the a la carte heli-activities menu.
Restore. If today is the day you enjoy your included massage, consider partaking in one of our two treatment rooms. Percussive quiet, interrupted only by the sounds of nature and candlelight lull you into deep relaxation. If you have already partaken, or wish to experience another indulgent spa treatment, consider one of several exotic massages, including shiatsu, ashiatsu, hot stone, deep tissue, and Thai – or, a restorative body treatment and soak.
For gentlemen, a bespoke hot-towel straight razor shave might be just the thing, before cocktails and dinner.
Of equal restorative importance as visits to the spa, are visits to the well-stocked old-fashioned candy bar – conveniently located right next to the cookie & bar bar. Handmade candy from Quebec, includes favourites like saltwater taffy, black and red liquorice strings, barber poles, and jelly beans accompany house-made caramels individually wrapped in glassine paper.
An impressive selection of house-made (daily) cookies, bars, squares and cookies are available dawn to dusk. Several gluten-free, nut-free and vegan options are always on offer.
Dinner. On the final night of any three-four, or seven-day all-inclusive stay, resort chefs prepare an exquisite and necessarily leisurely seven-course, wine-paired tasting menu highlighting what is best and fresh à la minute. Beginning with an amuse bouche, settled with a granita, and ending with a BC icewine-paired dessert, the experience is indulgent to say the least.
Our culinary salute to your time gone wild.
Sunday – day four
Wake at your leisure. You have almost a full day of adventure ahead of you, before departing at 4pm. Make the most of it by choosing a half-day activity that brings you back to the Cookhouse for lunch and in time for the traditional resort-wide game of paintball – guides vs guests held each departure day at 1pm. Or, stay out for the duration, enjoying a backpack lunch in the wilderness, in the air (a la carte), or at sea, before returning by 2pm check-out. Resort guests check-out gently, by heading to the Cookhouse lounge for a late lunch or farewell cocktails and appetizers, before the horse-drawn wagon returns for the ride back to the floatplane dock at 3:45.
Today, there are plenty of half-day activities to choose from including, ocean fishing, walk-in river fishing, hiking, stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking, horseback riding, archery, skeet and target shooting, rock climbing, mountain biking, tree platform climbing, berry and wild food foraging, and just hanging about with the allways-keen-to-play-or-do-nothing-at-all bear dogs. All half-day all-inclusive activities could be exchanged, for added fees with half-day activities from the a la carte heli-activities menu.
Late afternoon departure. After a casual farewell reception and inevitable hugs all around, it is time to say goodbye. By now your luggage has been taken to the floatplane dock, and the horse-drawn wagon awaits.
We will be sad to see you go, and hopeful for your return.