It's hard to come up with unique superlatives for this place, but ok, I'll try.
I had extremely high expectations of Clayoquot, due in no small part to the very large price tag for our four night stay, and they were not only met, but exceeded. Wow. This place sets the standard by which all future glamping experiences will be measured, and it's a spoiler. My 11-year old daughter especially fell in love with the absolutely endless opportunities for entertainment. The staff goes above and beyond. Dad wants to fish, mom wants to horseback ride, kid wants to zipline? No problem. We each got a guide and headed out. Everything was flexible, easy, they offered full gear for every adventure, and there is no possible way anyone can be bored here. You can do as much or as little as you want. We got a bit unlucky with the weather, having several days of rain, but the place shined nonetheless, which is a credit to how extraordinary it is.
The velvet chairs and couches in front of the huge fireplaces, the open self-serve bar 24/7, the five course dinners with wine pairings (and a sommelier!), and the tents. Wow. Wait, I said that already. But seriously, I've stayed in some beautiful places before, including luxury safari lodges, and Clayoquot impressed me every single day with the details; antique furniture, outdoor shower, heated bathroom floors, amazingly comfy beds and down pillows and comforters. Our tent overlooked the river and we had black bears and all sorts of birds to view right from our deck.
In the morning they would deliver us tea, coffee, or hot chocolate, one morning they also brought with our tea our favorite, Baileys! And then there's a spa! One massage treatment per guest came with our package, and anyone can use the two enormous cedar hot tubs and sauna whenever you want.
We saw black bear from the camp several times, and during a glorious three hour horseback ride through old growth one day, my guide, Dixson, and I came across another black bear just feet away. My s/o went out salmon fishing and came back raving about the experience and his guide, Chuck. We hiked along the Bedwell river and took a fast zodiac out for black bear viewing and saw a mother and cubs, eagle, seal, and sea otter, with our great guide, Dave, who is a local from the nearby native reserve at Miers Island. There is even an old gold mine youc an ride or hike to. The guides explain the culturally modified trees and history of the region, and clearly love their jobs.
My daughter went ziplining about 50 times (I even went once), did archery and shooting, kayaking, played pool in the pool tent every night, and they went out of their way to make her (and the other many kids) special meals to suit their tastes. The floatplane rides in and out were a bit terrifying as you are flying through some amazing mountainous territory, but also breathtakingly beautiful.
One of the other areas in which this resort goes above and beyond is the full service gear room. Rubber boots, boots for horseback riding, helmets, rain gear, everything is thought of so you don't have to load up on your luggage. There are umbrellas located around the property as well as bug repellant (and torches with citronella oil to deter bugs).
My only complaint about the place, and it's hard to complain because it's so gorgeous and well done, is that they have not established a minimum age for guests. Some very small children disrupted our stay (we had to move tents due to the frequent noise of whiny and crying small children and yelling parents at all hours), and really had no business being there. Even after moving tents, I sometimes could not sit and enjoy the public spaces due to these children always being around at all hours with nothing else to do, hindering my ability to read or relax, throwing understandable toddler tantrums, throwing things, etc. This place is just way too expensive to have even a minute of it spoiled in that way. I think making a minimum age of 6, or having family weeks when younger guests are welcome, would be a good move here. Also I didn't think it was wise to place the family right in the center of all the other tents. When we moved we were given tent 10, which was quite a ways down the camp, but we loved it for its privacy and quiet.
My other suggestion, not really a complaint, is it would be nice to have the guides sit with guests at meals as they do at Seal River ( the lodge in Manitoba we went to for polar bear viewing just prior to Clayoquot...see my other review) and/or give presentations, or otherwise mingle a bit more. It was great fun to sit at the bar at the open kitchen and chat with the kitchen staff and chef. We also would have liked to spend more time with the owners, John and Adele, as we did at Churchill/Seal River with Jeanne and Mike, but we discovered later John had gotten ill, so he might have been more present and interacting with guests normally.
All in all, this will join my very short list of places I intend to return to, and this time, for longer. Spectacular!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Luxury Safari Style Tent Camp and adventure Resort located in the Clayoquot Sound World Biosphere. Rates are all inclusive including seaplane transfers to/from the Resort and Vancouver BC, accommodations in luxury tents, gourmet meals, all beverages including bar, and all personally guided adventure activities including Bear and Whale Watching, deep sea fishing, horseback riding, kayaking and much more. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Clayoquot Wilderness Hotel Tofino