After 7 hr drive from Tofino we arrived to find there would be no evening meal for next 2 nights as chef was off. Check this out in advance, as meals have to be pre booked incl breakfast and have limited menu , fortunately we rang in advance and went to supermarket on route for self catering as we had a 2 yr old in tow and didn't want to go out again first night after long drive.
Our cottage was adequate for our needs for 3 night stay ; 2 families with a toddler , but we were greeted with a list of do's and donts in the cottage posted everywhere. Whilst I accept that not obeying the rules about fuel and water conservation and being on a septic tank system may cause problems this could be better expalined in a manual in the house . rather unwelcoming to be greeted with no chef and a list of rules !
having overcome this problem we self catered the first night and I would suggest you keep cooking to a minimum and eat out . Other guests advised not to eat in Port Mc Neill and they were right we ate at boardwalk resaurant in Telegraph Cove which is much nicer place than Port McNeill and worth a visit historically. If short of time visit there and do the grizzly bear trip dont bother with port mc neill except for essentials..
The lodge itself was tranquil and well situated for wild life viewing and dawn breaking over the bay , saw the local bears one only 5 ft away ! but we were lucky , there are only 2 in the area. saw orca from our balcony and other whales and seals on our grizzly trip.
Went with Rip tide tours to see grizzlys , be warned that if you pay full amount up front and they dont take you to the stands you cant get your money back for the difference, as experienced by some guests on previous trip . we payed deposit and and due to feeding conditions we didnt get to use stands as there were no bears there. Unfortunately weather conditions were horrendous , it rained most of the day. definately need waterproofs for this trip or use theirs as its very exposed. The trip was good and informative , guides worked hard to get us to access the bears but only saw mum and 3 cubs from about 50 mtrs away which is the requred viewing distance, previous day guests saw 13 but one participant had very good binoculars and this helped the guides , we didnt have any . Luck of the draw really but I would reccomend Rip Tide.
Saw other wildlife on route, and from lodge where we also saw black tailed deer. Sunrise and sunset were magical. Had dinner in lodge on last night which was nice and efficiently done , breakfast was rather unhealthy mainly pastries and cake , yoghurt and cereal and one cooked option , could have done with healthier options like fruit and toast/ bread ..Considering its remoteness the lodge does pretty well really , but it is looking rather dated in parts , communal area was fine and clean but gallery outside was broken in parts as was the walkway to the boat.
Single beds in our cottage and sofa were uncomfortable so I would nt reccommend a stay of more than 2/3 nights particularly 5 sharing one bathroom there is little privacy .
Better for family of parent s and children than extended family group.
However I would reccommend this lodge for a short stay as the wild life opportunities are its compensation.
- Also Known As:
- Hidden Cove Hotel Port Mcneill