We have stayed at LBL several times over the last few years. We like its casual but luxurious feel, and the fact that they offer dog friendly rooms (your dog even gets his own doggie bed, dishes and a treat....if your dog is to be left alone in the room, take a crate to contain him when the maids come in). We always booked at least one dinner at the hotel, which has a small but comfortable dining room. Clever guests can book the small tables in the adjacent Great Room for lovely window-side tables.
This year, although I enjoyed my stay, it was clear that the hotel is changing...and although it may just be that we were seeing growing pains, I was unhappy about what I saw.
First, the service was wonderful. Staff were always attentive and personable. But there were little sour notes sprinkled throughout our stay. I was so looking forward to two things: the LBL house special martini (a deliciously musky concoction based on an Island brewed sweet dessert wine with a splash of balsamic vinegar, garnished with a frozen, sugar dusted grape) and the transcendent seafood chowder (delectable chunks of local seafood floating in an exquisite and rich seafood broth). Alas, both are, inexplicably, off the menu.
Ok, I decided, I'll order the Seafood Chowder on the main menu, and contented myself with the lovely wine recommended by my server. The wine was a real treat, but the chowder was ghastly. An utterly tasteless, watery concoction sporting chunks of undercooked vegetables and overcooked fish. Worse, an entire half crab was perched on top of the chowder...looked great but there were no implements to crack the dang thing. After asking for and getting some tools, it took me nearly 10 minutes to extract the meat (and I had nowhere to put the shells). By the time I got my spoon moving, I was splattered, sticky, and the chowder was cold. What a disappointment. And for that, I skipped the starters!
Other diners in my party felt the seafood, of all things, was generally bland and badly presented. Our steak people were happier. My advice? Hire a seafood expert for the kitchen. Someone who knows how to make a basic broth, too.
Smaller things that I noted: no dog cookies, and the doggie bag dispenser was empty on Saturday morning. The maid cleaned the room nicely but did not do the tub (a bit grubby from a bubble bath the night before). On Sunday morning, there were no croissants at all for the morning buffet. None. As I only eat croissants on holiday, and loved the fresh, flaky LBL offerings, I was terribly disappointed. And the fresh fruit ran out, which piqued the later risers. And the yogurt was vanilla flavoured and sweetened. Ick. Most of us like plain on our granola and fruit. LBL usually provides a great home made compote or jam, but this weekend's offering was over pectin-ed and was stiff, thick, and unspreadable.
I am also puzzled why a resort that prides itself on local offerings, has passed up a chance to use the fantastic tea from a BC tea shop, www.specialtea.com Resorts etc. often go to great lengths to provide good coffee (as they should!), but offer lacklustre teas.
Happily, the house granola is great.
Past all that, the location of the lodge is lovely, right on the beach with a nice long sweep of sand to walk. To the right is a lovely point you can hike out onto as well, in spite of narky signage by the nearby resort. The area is fabulous, and there are some fine places to hike (check out Trailpeak.com) and eat (SoBo, RainCoast Cafe).
My only other piece of advice is to ask if your bathroom is open to the bedroom: many of the rooms have only a wood blind separating the bathroom from the bedroom, so you can open the blind and enjoy the view from your bubble bath. But if this is your first weekend away with a new partner, the lack of privacy at potty time may be distressing. At least some of the rooms have more conventional setups offering more discretion.
- Also Known As:
- Long Beach Hotel Tofino
- Long Beach Hotel
- Long Beach Resort
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Welcome to our luxury Oceanfront Tofino Accommodations! A luxurious beachfront resort for the discerning traveler, is perched on the edge of Cox Bay, between the pristine beauty of Pacific Rim National Park and spectacular Clayoquot Sound. This cedar-shingled lodge offers 5 star amenities and casual service in a rustic setting, creating a perfect, serene retreat from everyday responsibilities. This area has become a year-round destination for those who revel in unspoiled wilderness. Walk along endless stretches of deserted beach, hike rainforest trails, explore the galleries and shops or simply sit, relax, watch and wonder at it all.Experience the natural beauty, exceptional amenities and handcrafted cuisine at Long Beach Lodge Resort, our luxurious Tofino resort located on a beautiful beach front acreage on Vancouver Island's rugged West Coast. The Resort is set amongst the native coastal vegetation and takes full advantage of the expansive sandy beach and the open ocean with wild west coast surf... in fact it is one of the few Tofino hotels that can claim such a spectacular locale. Come view Tofino's biggest waves from the comfort of our iconic Great Room and partake in some of our award-winning cuisine!Long Beach Lodge is the ONLY resort on Cox Bay Beach offering ANY of these in-house services:full service restaurant & lounge (Great Room) surf instruction & rentals with spa-like change rooms, lockers, hot tub & sauna (Surf Club Centre) boat charter service (Marine Adventures); whale watching, bear watching and other wildlife viewing We are honored to be recognized as the #1 Vancouver Island Resort by Condé Nast Traveler Magazine Reader Choice Awards AND a TripAdvisor Travellers' Choice 2013 winner! ... more less
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