The island runs on its own time, which is infinitely slower than that of cities. Galiano Inn is unhurried, quiet, and peaceful, though with impeccable service, and is tucked on the edge of Sturdies Bay with its own little sandy beach and overlooks Active Pass. We arrived by float plane (Salt Spring Air) and the innkeeper, Connie, met us at Montague Harbour and drove us to Sturdies Bay where the ferry docks and the inn is a five minute walk from there on the waterfront.
Linking the 1 BR units and the hotel rooms is the front desk, a fine-dining restaurant and a beach bar. Guests can have a hearty breakfast in the resto, lunch and a local ale in the beach bar (the pizzas are thin-crust Italian), and superb haute cuisine in the evening watching the sun go down over Sturdies Bay.
We had a unit with a well-equipped kitchen, a good sized bedroom and living room, but the patio and the bathroom were stars! The patio is covered and has a wood-burning fireplace, an overhead heater, and an efficient, vented electric grill. Here too is a huge jacuzzi tub with a privacy screen, so you can soak while smelling the sea and hearing the ferries swish by blowing their sirens. It's quite intoxicating! (No pix of this feature are suitable for posting!!)
The shower in the main bathroom is big enough for three people and has more nozzles than a car wash! Being shortish, the bank of six under the main shower head hit me square in the face until I realized I could redirect the spray. To the left, is a little seat with an array of ten needle sprays for your back. These were so powerful they hurt, but my husband loved them.
The view from the patio enchanted us. It changed constantly in the varying light and as the tide came in and out. On my first afternoon I watched the big ferries go by and the smaller ones dock right beside us. The super moon rose in front of us as we enjoyed our dinners every night.
The spa is considered one of the best in Canada and I can attest to that having enjoyed a full pedi and facial. The rooms look out over the ocean.
Behind the ocean frontage and the buildings are delightful gardens, including a pond and waterfall. Benches are scattered around and I saw many guests quietly sitting enjoying the plants and tranquillity. Most of the plants have been chosen for their suitability for a dry climate and many are indigenous. There's a yoga studio that looks out on the gardens too.
The most enticing attraction for guests who arrive without a vehicle is the inn's fleet of Mercedes-Benz SmartCars. We rented one almost every day and happily tootled around the island finding many delightful coves and panoramas. The tiny cars are perfect for the narrow country lanes and limited parking. I loved driving one. No good for families though...
TIPS: If you like to cook, take your own knives and a roll of paper towel; buy local produce at the farmers' market on Saturdays and at Cable Bay Farm on Tuesdays at Retreat Cove, otherwise shop at Daystar and enjoy a coffee with them.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Spectacular West Coast island resort, minutes from Vancouver, yet a world away. Luxury retreat in natural surroundings enhanced with beautiful gardens. Every Room and Suite has ocean views, fireplace, terrace, luxury ensuite. Our Oceanfront Spa has treatments unique in Canada,luxury steam rooms, garden treatments, flotation therapy. Award-winning Atrevida Restaurant in an architecturally stunning setting or casual outdoor setting with wood-fired pizza oven. Free WiFi, Free Phone, Free plane pick-up. Smart Cars, Dock for boats, golf, kayaking,whale-watching, shopping, hiking, famous Kunamokst mural. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Galiano Oceanfront Hotel Galiano Island