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“Out of this world!!”
Review of Sonora Resort

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Sonora Resort
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Sonora Island
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed June 2, 2009

My wife and I did not know what to expect from our first ever reservation at a wilderness resort. Sheer luxury, levels of service and personal attention we have never known in any hotel, cuisine worthy of international recognition, and a location beyond compare - this is what we found. The hotel is transforming from a conference/business hotel into an upmarket personal holiday resort and is making a fine job of doing it. Adding Relais & Chateaux to the credentials helps manage expectations which are truly exceeded. Nothing is too much trouble, the optional activities are extraordinary,the food is exceptional (try the tasting menus!!) and the bedrooms luxurious. The location helps and the widlife on the doorstep (bears, dolphins, eagles and more) make this an experience to savour.. If a few days of pampering is what you are looking for, you will struggle to beat this !

  • Stayed: May 2009, traveled as a couple
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Thank Peter084
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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295 - 301 of 323 reviews

Reviewed March 27, 2009

Imagine a grizzly bear tour in the morning and an indulgent spa in the afternoon! Nothing short of magnificent - service, food, rooms and an array of nature outings that will amaze you. This should get 6 starts, not merely 5!

  • Stayed: October 2008, traveled solo
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1  Thank aGolfaholic
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 24, 2008

Back for the 3rd time, and it's still the best. As they say, it's hard to improve upon perfection.

The food, the staff, the accommodations, the fishing guides, etc. still the best you'll find anywhere on the planet.

I didn't get any treatments at the spa, but members of our group who did all said it was top-notch.

Part of our group went for a tour of the 11,000 sq foot home that you can rent for $8,000 per night. Unbelievable!

I can't wait to go back...

  • Stayed: July 2008, traveled on business
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1  Thank BigTipper
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 22, 2008

I am amazed that there are so few reviews of this incredible place, but I shouldn't complain. Perhaps that is why it appears that this is one of the NorthWest's best kept lodging secrets? Or maybe it's because the previous postings have so eloquently stated all that is wonderful about this property. But, at the risk of repeating what others have said, or inducing flocks of tourists to suddenly take a dip into what may be left of their retirement funds on a long weekend at Sonora, I couldn't resist telling everyone how great our weekend there was.

We chose Sonora to celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary, and when we made our reservations with the resort, they inquired if we were celebrating a special occasion. I was glad I told them. More on that later.

We took the Kenmore Air seaplane from Seattle, which in and of itself is a great experience for folks who don't mind small planes. Seaplanes are noisy, so they provide foam earplugs, which helps. Our flight altitude never exceeded 4,000 ft, so the scenery was spectacular--mostly. Highlights were not one but two submarines that had surfaced and were heading into their base, some great close ups of waterfalls, and various stops in remote bays to pick up/drop off other passengers. Lowlight: all the MASSIVE clear cutting that is painfully visible practically everywhere you look. Sad. Travel time was around 3 hrs, including stops in Nanaimo to clear customs, and 1 or 2 other stops. But plenty of leg room, so given a choice between 3 hrs on a seaplane and 3 hrs on a crowded Alaska Airlines flight, no contest. Flights were around $500 per person, round trip, left Seattle out of Kenmore Air's base on Lake Washington at 9am, and we were at the resort by lunch time.

The seaplane lands right at the boat dock of the resort, and we were greeted by Donna, the concierge, who already knew our names, wished us happy anniversary, and led us into the main lodge to show us around, do a quick check in at a table (no impersonal hotel check in counter), while we were served drinks of our choosing. Oh yes, we had paid in advance, and when they say "all inclusive", they're not kidding. Drinks of any type, any time. Our bags had been taken directly to our room from the seaplane/boat dock, so after our drinks and check in briefing, Donna showed us to our room.

Great rooms. Not huge, but the view was spectacular. Seals, eagles, snow-capped mountains, all easily viewed with the binoculars left for our use in our room. We were on the top floor of Arbutus, and down the hall, there was a hot tub on the deck with lounge chairs, outdoor post-tub shower area, and fridge for drinks. The room bedding was deluxe, and the bed itself was very comfy. Among the best we've stayed in, and that's saying alot. Plus bathrobes, complimentary Sonora baseball hats, great shampoo and other products, and oh yeah, let's not forget the bathroom. While it may be missing the view, that's about all it's missing. Huge tub, great shower, nice sink design, super plush towels, just a perfect hotel bathroom. And let's not forget the mini-bar. Fully loaded with ANYTHING you migh want to drink, alcoholic or otherwise, plus something for anyone with the munchies. Again, all included. i could have a diet coke and not fear a $5 charge on the bill. And a freshly cut flower arrangement was delivered to our room (from the beautiful landscaping on the property) in honor of our anniversary. Very thoughtful.

While this place is obviously a haven for fishermen types, it is actually even more desirable for those of us who want to relax but also want a few choices for activities. I think we sampled just about everything Sonora had to offer. We did the Eco-Tour with Aaron, which was fantastic and first class. They provide flotation devices in the form of insulated coats, which were definitely needed even on a 70deg sunny day. Each passenger had their own set of binoculars and headphones to enable us to see and hear all that Aaron had to point out. We hoped to see bears, though we knew it was a long shot. Maybe next time. We saw lots of eagles, seals and sea lions, other birds, great tidal features in the waters, etc...., a great thing to do.

The tennis court is well maintained, inside a bubble, and Sonora provides decent tennis racquets and balls. While we played, Donna even popped her head in and asked if we needed water or towels or anything. Just another example of how great the staff is here.

We played on the putting green (putters provided for lefties and righties), golf simulator, DVD/movie theater, pool table, etc.... Great movie theater, with an extensive DVD selection. We also went for a long hike (longer than expected, but that's a story for another day), and the gift shop gave us bear bells to wear (and keep) at no extra charge. They also requested that we check back with them upon our return, which is a nice personal touch. We sampled the spa, including the mineral pool, freezing plunge pool, and hot tub, all outdoors in a beautiful setting. The spa building is first class, the massage was great, the exercise room looked great (even after all we ate that weekend, the exercise room is the one thing we stayed away from!), and once again the staff went out of their way to be helpful, offering beverages, towels or anything that might have been needed. The resort had only been open for the season for a few weeks, so the steam room and sauna didn't seem to be working yet, but otherwise, everything in the spa, including the locker facilities and relaxation room upstairs, were perfect.

The staff at Sonora were, without exception, part of what made our weekend so special. That, plus the food and scenery, made us feel like everyone cared about whether or not we enjoyed our stay. Considering we were in a pretty remote place, the food was fantastic. But the food would have been fantastic even if judged by Seattle standards. The servers and resort staff all became familiar to us after 3 days, and they all went out of their way to look after us, especially Lance. The 6 course tasting menu for dinner was great, and the chef was able to adapt it to our dietary requirements as needed. For our anniversary dinner, they even made us a nice little special dessert . By the end of our stay, we knew most of the staff by name, and they knew us. Yet it was not "intrusive" in any way. Our weekend had probably 25 guests, and the resort can handle 80-100 comfortably, but the high season no doubt gets busier and the staff probably gets spread a little thinner.

We can't wait to return in September for Grizzly Bear sighting season, and another wonderful weekend at Sonora before they close for the season. It's a great place to do nothing or everything.

  • Stayed: May 2008, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank jeniferb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 8, 2006

I found an advertisement for this property while sitting in a hotel room in Phoenix. The pictures that were provided in the book could not replicate the beauty of this place. We drove from Victoria up to Campbell River where we were met by the resort boat. It was great, the fridge was stocked with water, soda and beer. We just sat back and took in the amazing scenary for about an hour. We arrived at the dock and were greeted by the very friendly staff just in time for evening appetizers out on the patio. If you like food, which I do, then you have come to the food mecca of the world. The appetizers are served nightly with your choice of beverages. The staff is there to assist you at all times. It is nice since food and drink are included in the price. As the days went by, I could not wait for the next meal. Each day the food just got better and better. When were at the resort all of the courses sample menus, but it was more than enough food because of all of the appetizers.

Our room was the most amazing. My girlfriend, was in heaven as soon as we walked in the door. I think it was room 16 it was right on the corner of the pool looking upstream. One word magical. We did not do anything at the resort, but the time flew by I think that we spend most of our time just looking out the window at the scenary, and could not wait to hear about the fishing tales from the ones who got away. If you have ever wanted to fly -fish the resort has a fulled stocked pond where you can practice your casting skills and there is a guide to help you with perfecting the perfect cast. At night after dinner you can hang out at the bar, shoot pool, play virtual golf and or watch a DVD in their home theater.

If you need to get away from it all and want to relax, Sonora Island is the place for you. Did I mention the food, sorry I just had a flashback.

Stayed: July 2005
4  Thank onestep
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 19, 2006

Wow, what a fantasic experience! Our four-night visit to Sonora Resort was much more than we could of ever expected. It was a time to behold.

We arrived in Campbell River and Aaron, a Sonora Resort employee, was waiting for us at the airport. He helped with our luggage, drove us to the boat (wow and what a boat, it was beautiful and spotless). The resort had packed a cooler with soft drinks and beer for the hour ride to the resort. They also provided really nice jackets for us to wear on the boat. The jackets kept us warm and dry. Aaron couldn't have been more accomodating.

Once we arrived at the resort, five or six resort employees were there to greet us. A few took the luggage to our room while the others escorted us to the dining room. They had drinks and a nice assortment of cheeses and appetizers waiting for us. After we chatted with staff a while and enjoyed the drinks and food, they took us on a tour of the property. We were simply amazed at the beautiful landscaping and attention to detail. The construction of the new resort buildings was incredible. Everything was high quality. When we arrived in our room our mouths dropped open. I thought for a moment we were in heaven. The view from the room was stunning. The room was beautiful with spotless hardwood floors, custom curtains, soft and subtle bedding, a stone fireplace, and a padded window seat with colorful pillows. The room had a flat screen TV with about 20 or so satellite stations. The bathroom had double sinks, a deep soaking tub, a slate shower with a big rainfall type showerhead. The bathroom floors were heated, the towels were soft and smelled wonderful. Aveda bath and body products were provided.

The resort knew we were celebrating our 20th anniversary. To our surprise they had champagne was on ice when we arrived in the room. The room refrigerator was well stocked with soda, beer, snacks and nice size bottles of high quality liquor. Our room was in the Gilard building. It has a great common area that offered fantastic views, a deck with a table, chairs and an umbrella. It also has a flat screen TV with more expansive satellite stations. There is a refrigerator in the common area with soft drinks and snacks. The seating in the common room is very comfortable. The Gilard building has a hot tub and a gas fireplace and open air shower nearby.

The food at the resort was outstanding. It was similar to what you would find at a five star French restaurant. We experienced Pan Roasted Beef Tenderloin, Seared Halibut, Yukon Gold Potato Gnocci, Scallops, Salmon, Veal Tenderloin, Braised Pork Belly, Foie Gras Terrine with Sauteed Cherries, and Seared Duck Breast. I could go on and on. Even the bread and butter were extraordinarily delicious. The desserts were simply divine. The first night the pastry chef made us a chocolate mousse cake in the shape of a heart. Over the next several days we experienced everything from creme brulee to strawberry shortcake, to delicate sorbet's, pear and walnut soup, tarts, and truffles. At Breakfast they offered a buffet most days with excellent bacon, sausage, eggs, waffles, pancakes, cinnamon roles, cereals, assorted juices, milk & coffee. On days when the buffet was not set up, they would make us anything we wanted. Lunch was high quality as well.

The view from the dining room was breathtakingly beautiful. Our server, Mindy, was a joy to spend time with. She made sure we were taken care of, going above and beyond to see that we were happy. The resort management and staff routinely checked in with us to make sure we were having a good time.

One of the most outstanding assets of this resort is the show that nature puts on in front of the resort. There is no possible way a camera can capture what you see when you get there. The tide whirls and swirls in amazing fashion. It changes direction several times a day. When it really gets going you can see the seals playing in the rough swirling waters. Bald eagles swoop down from the trees to catch fish. During the Ecotour with Aaron we saw 20 to 30 bald eagles in one tree. We have amazing memories from this trip.

At times (not often), acoustically the dining room was not pleasant. At one seating we moved to the bar area because the dining room was quite loud. Most of the sound was generated by a boisterous group attending a small business meeting at the resort. The resort apologized for the problem and admitted that the group should have been set up in the private dining room that is below the main dining room. Brent and Ailish, the bartenders made up for it by make us feel very welcome. They made dining in the bar area an enjoyable experience.

We visited in June, that is a quieter time at the resort. The outdoor grill was not up and running yet and the fish were not biting. We spent a half kayaking with a guide and that allowed us to get up close and personal with nature. We hiked to the lake on the island, finding lots of wild berries along they way.

The gym at the wellness spa was beautiful. The work out room was immaculate and had just the right equipment. The mineral pools felt great after kayaking and hiking. The spa also has a sauna and steam room. We each had the rejuvenation facial. I high recommend that treatment. It includes a warm seaweed based mud taht totally relaxed our body and made our back feel wonderful.

We loved the fact all the meals and drinks and many other services were included in a flat daily rate. There is really no need to carry cash or credit cards around with you a the resort. It's almost impossible to spend much money on the resort grounds other that at the spa or in the gift shop. I was very pleased with the fact the resort never tried to sell us on anything. If you want to do excursions like fishing and kayaking, that's great. If not that's fine too. They don't try to pressure you into doing anything.

We've stayed at some of the best hotels around the US and Canada and our overall experience at Sonora Resort was fantastic. The staff made our visit extra special. We can't thank them enough. They came down to the dock to give us hugs and bid us a safe journey back home. We will be back, next time probably in August or September when the fish are biting and the grizzlies are out fishing.

For a lovely experience you will never forget, head to Sonora Resort.

  • Stayed: June 2006
    • Value
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14  Thank ziggydssp
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 3, 2017 via mobile
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Stayed: October 2017, traveled as a couple
Thank silvia369
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sophia C, Public Relations Manager at Sonora Resort, responded to this reviewResponded December 29, 2017

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Additional Information about Sonora Resort

Address: Sonora Island, British Columbia V7B 1W4, Canada
Phone Number:
Location: Canada > British Columbia > Sonora Island
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Sonora Island
Price Range: $695 - $1,355 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Sonora Resort 5*
Number of rooms: 88
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
This B.C. Wilderness resort is an absolute jewel amid one of Canada's most alluring, pristine environments. Sonora Resort is where uncompromising eco-adventure travel meets luxurious accommodations, unparalleled service and five star facilities. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Sonora Hotel Sonora Island
Sonora Island Hotel
Sonora Island Resort

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