A View With a RoomUPDATE ! see below
By Glenn Cassie
Photos by S. Smith
Contributors to Travelink Publishing.
In an episode of Seinfeld, Kramer came up with the idea for a cologne called The Beach. A wacky idea, the notion of capturing an event in a bottle nevertheless struck a human chord. There is something very special about being at the beach that simply can’t be duplicated or explained. It’s a unique experience: A mix of the sound, spray and smell of the surf, the flow of the tides, the feel of the sand on your feet and the stunning power of the surf. What’s a holiday if it doesn’t include a beach?
The Pacific Ocean at Pacific Rim National Park is perhaps the ultimate beach destination. Its beauty and expanse transcend the typical palm-strewn tropical beach of travel magazines. The park’s endless beaches provide breathtaking vistas with a surf so resonant it’s like a pride of lions, Sphinx size, all contentedly purring at once. In fact, Pacific Rim is one of the few destinations that surpasses the BC Tourism catch-phrase, "supernatural." Pacific Rim is, simply, awesome, a must-experience experience.
Home base for our visit was the beautiful Pacific Sands Beach Resort on Cox Bay. The bay boasts a gorgeous, long, sandy beach, almost exclusively the private domain of Pacific Sands’ guests. Cox bay borders the north end of the park, and lies facing southwest with a stunning outlook across the ocean, onto islets and outcrops that dot the jagged coast. The resort is about seven kilometers shy of Tofino, a private drive off the highway leading down to a warm and inviting reception with stone fireplace, and a cozy sitting area to read the paper or pick up a game to play in your room.
The resort design is sensibly and perfectly situated so that all rooms (suites and cabins) are facing toward the ocean with views of the surf. Better yet, each unit has a balcony or porch, some with hot tubs, all with a sitting area, to enjoy a morning coffee or afternoon relax in font of the roaring surf. With a wide variety of accommodation, the resort spans out across several acres in a comfortable, informal plan that never feels cloistered or dense.
A special attention to cedar and wood detailing, allow the lodgings to seamlessly blend in with the spectacular environment. The sound of the surf, although tumultuous, sets a tranquil metronome-like quality for a perfect night’s sleep.
Our unit was the recently renovated Sand Dollar Suite. This suite belonged to the parents of resort owner, Dave Pettinger, for sixteen years. It has since been modified into a two bedroom, two-bath, full kitchen and living room suite, which sleeps two to six. Its many features include a wrap-around balcony, private hot tub, BBQ and gas fireplace set in an enormous stone hearth. An unfinished tree trunk (complete with its original bark) has been built in as the main support beam in the living room. This natural centerpiece is perfectly offset by subtle and relaxing colour schemes. Vaulted ceilings and unobstructed views make this a very special and extremely comfortable accommodation. Terry cloth bath robes and complimentary coffee and tea create the perfect atmosphere each morning. The view from this suite, which spans the entire length of Cox Bay, is mesmerizing. Given the view, you may not want to wander very far. Nevertheless, there is a lot to see if you do wander.
With Pacific Sands as our home away from home, we set out to explore the town, the park and the many beaches, trails and sights of interest that dot the peninsula. For the adventurous, there is whale watching, white water rafting, boat and plane tours of the Clayquot region, sea kayaking and even surfing Canadian style (i.e., in very cold water!). For those who prefer a slower pace, Tofino has a number of galleries and craft shops with local and Native art, and a variety of restaurants, most with harbour views.
For those seeking privacy, detachment and good old-fashioned relaxation, there is no need to wander far afield. Pacific Sands’ private acreage is spacious and the atmosphere laid back; service is excellent but never intrusive. Cox bay is a fantastic spot for beach walks. The end of the bay is bordered by Sunset Point, with marked trails leading from the beachhead. This rocky outcrop provides numerous tidal pools brimming with anemones and shellfish. A must-do is a climb to the summit to witness the open ocean and enormous waves as they pound the rocks, surging up through the tidal pools. A word of warning: You will get wet! But don’t worry: One of the most thoughtful and practical features at Pacific Sands is a durable hooded yellow slicker, provided for each guest in every room, and a perfect accessory against an unexpected spray or shower.
Our stay was punctuated by serene moments in awe of 700 year-old cedars, exploration of tidal pools, ocean vistas that stopped us in our tracks, and warm local hospitality. In essence, a Tofino getaway is a mix of romantic seclusion, eco-tourism, and diverse outdoor activities. Pacific Sands tied these all together in a perfect blend. In fact, an entry in the guest book at the Sand Dollar Suite read "Heaven on Earth. It exists!" Trust me: It does but you have to witness it to believe it.
If You Go:
Pacific Sands Beach Resort
Web site: www.pacificsands.com
Vancouver and other lower mainland travelers: B.C. Ferries accommodates travelers from Tsawwassen or Horseshoe Bay terminals to Duke Point or Departure Bay. General Information for sailing schedule is 1-888-BCFERRY (223-3779)
For our State-side Neighbors: Either the Victoria Clipper, The Princess Marguerite, or the Washington State Ferries will meet your needs 206-464-6400
Take Island Highway #19-across island to the fishing village of Tofino
PACIFIC SANDS BEACH RESORT WINS FIRST PLACE IN ISLAND BUSINESS EXCELLENCE AWARDS
Pacific Sands Beach Resort has just won first place in the Tourism Hospitality sector for 2005, at the Business Examiner’s sixth annual Vancouver Island Business Excellence Awards. The criteria for the award include community involvement, environmental initiatives, staff and customer loyalty. The resort was recognized for its recent $6 million Villa expansion project, building 22 two-bedroom, three-bathroom villas to replace ten cedar cottages along the beachfront property and in particular, for its installation of the energy efficient GeoExchange Heating System, which greatly reduces greenhouse gas emissions by using heat and energy stored in the earth.
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