A NEW TEAM takes the reins at Clayoquot Wilderness Lodge on Vancouver Island. For most of us, the idea of camping comfortably, let alone luxuriously, was long a foreign concept. You had to book a high-end safari in Africa for that, didn’t you?
Clayoquot Wilderness Resort changed our minds back in 2000 when it introduced roomy, prospector-style tents furnished with antique dressers, Persian carpets and real beds.
Staff would bring hot water to your tent for your morning ablutions, after which you could hike or ride horseback through magnificent old-growth forest, return to ‘camp’ for a massage in the afternoon and finish with a four-course dinner and wine in the evening. Now that was camping.
So no wonder Baillie Lodges of Australia wanted to add this Canadian gem to its collection of luxury properties. The new managers won’t mess with the resort’s strong commitment to sustainability – it is, after all, located in the Clayoquot Sound UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, a place where conservation and biodiversity are highly valued.
What Baillie’s will do is give the resort’s 25 white canvas tents a gentle make-over, with new king-size beds dressed with linens, and bespoke furnishings by local artisans. That will happen ahead of this season, which runs from June 17 to September 30.
Guests have an array of exhilarating experiences to choose from, including wildlife viewing (think bears, whales and more), kayaking, rock climbing and heli-adventures such as fly fishing on a remote alpine lake. Whatever you do, you’re surrounded by untouched old growth forest, rugged mountains and the jigsaw puzzle of islands and inlets that makes up Clayoquot Sound.
Rates include gourmet dining in The Cookhouse, where Aussie chef Asher Blackford delivers contemporary cuisine using local and seasonal ingredients. (Blackford was executive chef at Baillie’s Southern Ocean Lodge on Kangaroo Island before it was destroyed by wildfire in 2020.)
But aside from a few Aussie accents, Clayoquot Wilderness Lodge is still essentially the same – a fun summer camp for in-the-know adults (and their kids), especially those who like a little glamping with their camping.
Written by Suzanne Morphet for Cruise and Travel Lifestyles (Summer 2021). Photos courtesy of Clayoquot Wilderness Lodge.