How to describe the wonderment of the Wickaninnish Inn? It comes to you in so many forms.
It comes as you make your way to the Inn across Vancouver Island, along roads that sweep you deeper into the misty wilderness of British Columbia, inspiring the profound wonderment of prehistoric forests and their vast mysteries.
Wonderment wraps lovingly around you as you arrive to the Wickaninnish, it’s graceful interweaving of nature and modern design allows you to simultaneously feel the warmth of a luxurious welcome and the wild, exuberant salutation of the stunning, untouched landscape. Stepping out onto the wide, blonde beach, just off the edge of your room, wonderment washes over you like a delicious, salty breeze with the refreshing kiss of bubbling pacific waves that reach for you gently as you dig your toes into the sand.
Just on the outskirts of the artsy surf town of Tofino, the Wickaninnish Inn embraces the sea and the blustery air that blows off it with a lavish sincerity. Every room has a terrace or balcony, where you can stand and greet the organic beauty of the scenery with brazen abandon—at least until you’re ready to hunker inside and curl up by the fire (as every room also has a cozy fireplace).
Thus, whatever inspires you in the moment – delving deeper into the enticingly vast and beautiful landscape, or delving deeper into the relaxation of a supremely comfortable chair by the fire (or bed by the window) – is there to inspire you, immediately at your fingertips. Both are so wonderful, it’s nice to know you don’t have to choose between them, but easily have both, completely.
When you are ready for giving into the call of the wild, we highly recommend you let the Wickannish staff arrange an excursion for you. As a New Yorker, you might consider the option of bear watching, as we did – because, well, where on earth else might you (safely) see a bear in the wild?!
Piling into a tiny boat—part of the Tofino Whale Centre’s fleet, suited up in waterproof spacesuits, we zipped into the misty archipelago, awed by the untouched remoteness. When the boat came to a stop, floating silently a few yards off the pebbled beach of one island’s tiny cove, we were hushed and eager and were not disappointed. Not only did we see bears, we saw a mother bear and her two young cubs, who nonchalantly went about their rock crab foraging, totally unconcerned about the 15 humans bobbing just off shore, all grinning ear-to-ear. The experience was unforgettable.
After the better part of the afternoon exposed to the elements, nothing fits the bill like a simple, hearty, meal fresh from the sea. Go no further than The Wildside Grill, which luckily is not far at all (on nice days an easy bike ride from The Wick).
They’re famous for their wild-caught fish chowder with good reason—the silky, rich broth is brimming with generous chunks of seafood and vegetables. Talk to whoever is on the other side of the ordering window and chances are they are the ones who personally caught the fresh fish that is showcased in a variety of ways on the menu. Rising at dawn to surf and then fish (or fish and then surf) is the daily grind of Tofino residents, and those of us not accustomed to such exotic rituals are thrilled to still be able to reap the benefits – which taste of the fresh sea in an indescribably fulfilling way.
But, by all means, save room for dinner! One of the vast benefits of staying at The Wick is dining at The Pointe, their on-site restaurant, which is a must visit, any time you come to the island, no matter where you are staying.
Perched atop a rocky promontory right over the crashing waves, no matter where you are seated at The Pointe, you will be greeted again by those spectacular ocean views that the Wick is positively spoiling you with. And, speaking of spoiling, attended to like royalty by the graceful staff, you will be treated to an exceptional meal that perfectly embodies the setting and the plentiful “spoils” of the region.
The cocktail menu all its own is a real page-turner—a lengthy list of exciting and surprising quaffs that utilize not only house made and foraged ingredients, but do so with a modern and creative flair that easily rivals the best New York Mixology bar.
This is the experience you will want to savor from the tantalizing beginning to sweet conclusion. The moment that the freshly baked bread and house-churned butter arrives to your table, you will know that it is impossible to order poorly off the menu designed by Executive Chef Warren Barr, and brought alive by restaurant Chef David Sider, which celebrates the season with delicious exuberance.
Having begun the experience filled with wonderment, and been nourished by sea-kissed exuberance, it is thus, no wonder that The Wickaninnish stays with you long after you leave, resonating softly and wistfully awaiting your return.
– Ava Fedorov
Photographs by Ava Fedorov for Socially Superlative
The Wickaninnish Inn
500 Osprey Ln
Tofino, BC V0R, Canada
The Wildside Grill
At Live to Surf in Tofino
1180 Pacific Rim Hwy
Tofino, BC V0R, Canada
Open daily, 9am-9pm