Set in the Discovery Islands, on the banks of the Inside Passage close to Campbell River, Sonora Resort is a luxurious base from which to explore some of the province’s most pristine natural surroundings. Its unique combination of gourmet cuisine and luxury accommodation in a remote and natural setting have garnered it the coveted Relais & Châteaux designation, as well as an addition to the prestigious 2016 Conde Nast Traveller UK Gold List.
The manicured landscape of the property, set along the banks of the teal blue Inside Passage, is lush and not overly pruned, as though it sprung naturally out of the wild and rugged territory. From the waterview lodges (there are 12 B.C. lodges as well as private villas available), guests can spend hours sitting fireside watching bald eagles swoop down over the water to snap up fish.
Whether it’s the genuinely kind staff, the strategically placed fireplaces where one can curl up with a book when the desire strikes, or the soothing green and cedar décor scheme, every detail at Sonora Resort seems to have been meticulously executed to reflect the grace of its surroundings. Soft spa music playing in the lobby lounge and a firepit with Adirondack chairs set alongside a totem pole where one can enjoy a glass of wine (poured from the fully stocked all-you-can drink mini bars in every room) also help evoke a sense of peace.
Dine: In his culinary endeavours chef Lukas Gurtner makes the most of the area’s flora and fauna, elevating the “all inclusive” dining concept to new heights. Here, Lukas uses fresh and local ingredients in a playful way (think Nasturtium Wrapped Sockeye Salmon or Fraser Valley Rabit Porchetta with pancetta, heirloom carrots and pinenut cassoulet). By day, guests can enjoy lunch items such as a seared scallop salad with a glass of wine on the resort’s terrace while taking in panoramic views of the surrounding mountains; at night, they can feast on the Seasonally Inspired Chef’s Menu with wine pairings by candlelight in the resort’s elegant dining room.
Do: Sonora organizes an array of daily activities to help guests get up-close-and-personal with the area’s wildlife. On our first morning at the resort, our group took an 8 a.m. Eco Adventure tour on a zodiac where a school of 150 Pacific White Sided Dolphins enjoyed their morning swim alongside our boat. We also spotted hundreds of bald eagles and a black bear scraping his morning mussels from the water’s rocky edge. Before heading out we made a stop at the supplies room filled with heavy-duty raingear and life jackets, ensuring guests don’t need to bring anything in their suitcases other than their personal belongings. There is also an all-inclusive “canteen” where one can grab ready-made lunches and snacks (including beer, cookies and other snacks) to take out for the day.
Back on the resort, tennis, hiking, swimming, kayaking, billiards (or tucking in for a night of movie-watching in the resort’s 12-seater theatre), keep guests busy until their next excursion.
Spa: If the natural surroundings and fresh air weren’t relaxing enough, Sonora Resort’s expansive Island Currents Spa will take guests over the edge of bliss. The two-story spa features a gym, pool, hot tubs, sauna and lounge area, and offers hydrotherapy, facial treatments, massages and hand and foot care. Our massage treatment started out with a foot soak in the second-floor lounge, enjoyed while listening to a crackling fire and taking in views of the Pacific Coast mountains.
The 60-minute West Coast Healing aromatherapy massage that followed was incredibly rejuvenating and meditative, as was the hydrotherapy water therapy experience (shower; steam or sauna; warm mineral pool; Swiss shower; cool mineral pool; repeat), and the soak in the outdoor mineral spa pools, enjoyed while overlooking the panoramic views of the Inside Passage.
Getting There: You can access Sonora three ways: a 50-minute helicopter ride, such as one run by London Air, 50-minute seaplane flight, or a one hour 15 minute boat cruise (which is how Spanish explorers navigated the mapped the area in the late 1700s). However you arrive, you’ll be treated to beautiful views along the way. londonair.com
For information on rates and reservations, visit Sonoraresort.com