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Middle Beach Lodge
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Reviews (1,103)
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Reviewed September 16, 2006

For better or worse, I approach my vacations with an almost obsessive zeal for finding the "best" place to stay. For me the "best" means a small place with exquisite design, a spectacular location, fantastic service and food, and most of all a sense of "place." For me, the property often dictates the destination, and in deciding where to go I usually end up selecting among several different properties located thousands of miles from each other.

We thus had decided to travel to Tofino based largely on the reputation of the Wickaninnish Inn. Imagine our disappointment when we were contacted a few days before our trip and were informed that virtually the entire town of Tofino had been shut down because of a water shortage. The Wick Inn handled this emergency with grace and aplomb, helping us to find alternate accommodations at the last minute.

After considering other British Columbia destinations (we had nonrefundable airline tickets), we reluctantly decided to stick with Tofino upon hearing that a few places remained open. We settled on the Middle Beach Lodge, which had decided to truck in their own water so that they could stay open through the crisis. To my surprise, it was an incredibly lovely experience. The setting was spectacular -- every bit as good as the Wick Inn's. The lodge was amazing -- its size, comfort and panoramic views were just as good (if not even better than) the Wick Inn's. The natural beauty of the setting is indescribable -- and even the most spectacular photographs of Tofino in general and the Middle Beach Lodge in particular do not do the place justice.

We stayed in a single cabin, which was very small and rustic but basically lovely. The cabin had windows on three sides, and the view from each was drop dead gorgeous. There was a spectacular deck with an individual jacuzzi tub that sadly we couldn't use because of the water shortage. The furnishings were comfortable in a Pottery Barn sort of way, and the bathroom had a large soaking tub. The construction was definitely "cabin" instead of "high end" like at the Wickaninnish, but we were perfectly comfortable (except for the annoying lack of closets, which made things messier than we would have liked). We used the fireplace (actually a wood burning stove) and borrowed videos from the lodge, and were altogether happy with the amenities.

Although the lodge did not have a restaurant per se, they served a set dinner with a single seating each night we there. The food was fantastic! It reminded me of the meals my friends who love to cook make -- the meals featured organic, fresh local ingredients and the simple preparations were designed to take advantage of this natural bounty. One night, we had yummy barbecued oysters, greek salad with fresh organic ingredients, and giant crabs that had been cooked outdoors on the grill. It reminded me of a meal in Food and Wine or Sunset magazines -- not haute cuisine, but homey and delicious. The breakfasts were also delicious -- again simple yet homey, with homemade waffles, granola, breads, muffins, jams and the like, and a giant fruit bowl with basic yet tasty fruit. We were perfectly satisfied with the selection.

The management approached the water shortage with a can-do, let's-make-it-work attitude. Many components of the meals were served on paper plates in order to save water. Morning coffee was in paper cups. As mentioned, they asked guests not to use the jacuzzis on the deck and to limit the use of the soaking tubs. I can totally understand the Wick Inn's decision to close rather than lower their standards by making those sorts of accommodations, but at the Middle Beach Lodge -- with their more casual attitude -- it seemed okay. The guests seemed to bond over the little inconveniences, and the lack of "perfection" didn't seem to mar anyone's trip (although I did gaze longingly at that jacuzzi after long days of hiking).

There were a few areas in which the lodge fell down in almost shocking ways, however. Despite the friendliness of the staff, the service was sometimes appalling. During breakfast one morning, I had just grabbed the last cereal bowl (china, not paper) when the hostess announced that breakfast was almost over and that it was the last chance to go through the buffet before everything was put away. The guy behind me (a repeat guest) said, "I'd like some cereal, but there are no more bowls." The hostess replied, "Sorry but we are out of bowls." The guy accepted this answer, but I was livid! The nearby busing station had several used bowls piled up; how difficult would it have been for them to wash one for the poor guy? This would never have happened at the Wick Inn or anyplace that prides itself on service.

After breakfast, I approached the front desk and said that I'd like to book a tour to the hot springs. The girl behind the desk handed me a brochure and told me to call the vendor from the house phone! She didn't offer to call them for me, and the brochure she gave me had an outdated phone number. There was no one else around, and she just sat there while I got the correct phone number, called the vendor to book the trip, and told them I'd have to call them back with my credit card. Her lack any offer to help as she watched me make the calls -- and as my husband and daughter told me to hurry up -- was truly weird! In that instance, at least, the difference between "good" and "bad" service would not have cost the hotel anything, and I was pretty shocked that the place just missed the boat in that regard.

Also, the housekeeping service was spotty. Service was pretty good on the first day, but on the second day the housekeepers came by very early before we were dressed. We asked them to come back in a couple of hours, but when we arrived back late at night after a very long day, our room had still not been made up. This was totally inexplicable -- and even my laid back husband and daughter found it unacceptable.

In other instances, the service was great. We were extremely late to dinner one night, but the staff nevertheless accommodated us cheerfully and without complaint. The guy at the wine bar remembered us from day to day; we felt very welcomed when we ordered a glass of wine to enjoy the sunset with. They had a great selection of movie and music dvds, and had nice dvd players in the rooms to enjoy them. (A minor nit -- I wished they would have lighted a fire in the gorgeous stone fireplace in the lodge at night.)

We tortured ourselves by going to the Wick Inn to check it out even though it was closed. It was as spectacular as its reputation promised -- every detail was exquisite. The staff gave us a tour of the property. The construction, finishes, furnishings, etc. were very, very high end, yet the property retained a sense of "place" that I value so much. It was tasteful in every respect, and totally in keeping with the casual setting.

I would stay at the Wick Inn on my next trip to Tofino in a heartbeat. In my view, the exquisite materials and details made the building heads and shoulders above the Middle Beach Lodge. Interestingly, my husband and daughter didn't have the same reaction. They felt that the Middle Beach Lodge -- with its Pottery Barn furniture and cabin construction in the rooms and its casual approach to service in the lodge -- somehow had more "soul." They felt that the Wick Inn's perfection was just a bit too much -- that despite its "casual" luxury, the hand of the interior designer was just a bit too obvious (although they agreed that it was exquisitely tasteful, not overdone). My daughter (who is twelve) said that she'd feel guilty tracking sand into the room at the Wick Inn, while at the Middle Beach Lodge the sand just added to the charm.

We all agreed that we missed the pampering that the Wick Inn would have offered -- it would have been nice to have room service coffee in the morning and the availability of a spa.
But we're split as to where we'll go back next time (and we'll definitely be back to Tofino). My husband and daughter will probably vote for the Middle Beach Lodge, and even I, who hates to "settle" on my limited vacations, has to admit that given the price differential, the Middle Beach Lodge is a worthy contender. But in the end, I'd probably choose the seamless service and style of the Wick Inn, despite its higher price.

Stayed: September 2006
19  Thank kristin.and.greg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 20, 2006

I just wanted to say how fantastic Middle Beach is. We had a couple of nights there, combined with a Whale Watching trip. The staff were very welcoming, and knowledgeable about the local area.
The room was small, but comfortable, and we weren't there to stay in the room, but to see the area. The main lounge, with it's on tap coffee, and home baked cookies in the evenings, was the perfect place to relax after being out in a small boat for several hours.
It's definately worth the drive from the East coast - very spectacular, and you get a lovely welcome when you arrive. We will be going back............. just not soon enough though!

  • Stayed: May 2006, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank jt0475
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 15, 2006

Everything said on this site is true, this hotel is a wonderfull palce to stay, large rooms, very clean, wonderfull relaxing atmosphere. One of the best hotel have have ever stayed at, right on the beach front

  • Stayed: August 2006, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank jls38
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 21, 2006

Myself and my wife have just spent 3 nights in June at the Middle Beach Lodge and I have to say the setting is perfect, the room we stayed in was very nice with a large bath, a lovely bed and wonderful views from the balcony.
We stayed at the Headland as the review stated that some of the rooms were small at the beach and everything was better than expected including the lovely breakfast which lasted us past lunch.
This is just a great place to relax and enjoy the world go by but at the same time you can walk the beach on either side of Middle Beach, have a drive and walk Long Beach and through the Rain Forest or take a boat out to watch whales and black bears (this is not in one trip).
Don't stop at Victoria, it is just wonderful to travel to Tofino and a must to stay at Middle Beach, we spoke to a few other people and they gave us mixed reviews regarding other places that they stayed at in Tofino so if you travel to a place a peaceful as this then pick the perfect place to stay.

Stayed: June 2006
4  Thank yellows
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 21, 2006

We had a small forest-facing twin room at the beach: our cheapest option. We had intended to stay two nights but were told it had to be three as it was the May long weekend, and the prices went up to $139 a night plus taxes (including breakfast).

Let’s get the negatives out of the way first: the room was quite small, with a washbasin sink in the bedroom, and there was no television, although this didn’t bother us. (There’s a television lounge.)

Now the positives. The room was bright and clean, with cheerful colours. There’s a gym and a guest laundry, both of which we used. There was a wonderful big common lounge with an open fire and lots of comfortable lounge chairs and settees, and not a bad view of beach and forest. Cookies are baked fresh each evening, and bread in the mornings. The buffet breakfasts were good, with muesli and other cereals, hard boiled eggs, toast, fruit, a big variety of teas and coffee, croissants and so on. It’s in a good location and we had an excellent buffet meal of crab at the restaurant one evening.

Began to run out of things to do in the Tofino area by the third day though.

Stayed: June 2006
5  Thank GrahamWM
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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