The winds blow off the ocean and the raging swells buckle against a craggy shoreline; it's storm season once again in Ucluelet. This charming outpost sits at a sort of land's end, perched precariously on Vancouver Island's wild Pacific coast. The remoteness of the peninsula enhances the romantic air, as do incredible sunsets over the ocean. With a dramatic shoreline and old growth forests shrouded in mossy greens, Ucluelet is an idyllic escape for couples of all ages. Come soak in a hot tub overlooking an angry sea and sample artisan entrees in the warmth of a rustic lounge.
Where to Stay
There's no shortage of accommodation in Ucluelet. However, this hospitable village excels in first class, full-service resorts. Here's our sage advice to selecting a utopian 'Ukee' resort:
- Go oceanside. Ucluelet is a coastal community, with shoreline at every turn. It'd be a shame to make a romantic escape and not enjoy ocean views.
- Wake up 'outdoors'. Our favourite resorts take advantage of the wild natural setting, seamlessly blending rooms with forest and beachfront. When done right, it's like waking up amid a canopy of evergreens. Trust us, it's pure bliss.
- More glass means more views. Big windows let in natural light, which you'll appreciate on those silver-cast stormy days. Plus, you'll be hard pressed to turn on the television with views that disappear beyond the horizon. Just imagine the serenity of sipping tea from your balcony, knowing your line of sight ends only upon the shores of Asia.
- Romanic staples. Pick a resort with a spa on the property, and of course, in-room Jacuzzi tubs are a must.
West Coast cuisine dishing up fresh, local seafood is one of the sure highlights of a romantic escape to Ucluelet.
The most romantic fine dining is unquestionably found at Fetch. The menu offers OceanWise sustainably harvested seafood. If you're in the mood for turf rather than surf, there's melt-in-your-mouth cuts seasoned with fresh herbs and spices. All of this is served up with complementary panoramic views of the Pacific. One menu item we're salivating at the thought of: salmon. Smoked potatoes, rosemary confit grape tomatoes, grilled romaine heart, crème fraiche, preserved lemons.
With equally amazing views Float Lounge has a menu with more casual fare. The presentation looks something like sophisticated pub fare. Get your greens with wraps crafted of grilled Portobello and zucchini, mixed greens, bocconcini and basil pesto mayo. Or, sample a classic: garlic prawns in white wine garlic shallot and butter sauce, served with a slice of focaccia bread.
Find Botanical Bliss
Black Rock Oceanfront Resort
Treating yourself to a relaxing spa day is easy to do when the products are hand-harvested and eco-friendly. It ensures the restorative experience goes all the way from the skin to the conscience. How about a service that uses a locally-sourced, nourishing skin-care line made from sea grass? Ingredients include botanicals harvested from cold ocean waters to create elixirs that infuse the skin with amazing organic moisturisers. If it all sounds a little like taking a dip in the fountain of youth, you might be right. Combine a couple’s massage with a glorious soak in a marine mineral bath, and erase months of stress amid the natural beauty of the peninsula.
Sip Fresh Tapped Brews
Location: Industrial Way, Tofino
Telephone: (250) 725-2899
Hours: Daily, 11 a.m. - 8 p.m.
A new(ish) craft brewer in nearby Tofino has thirsty visitors flocking to Tofino Brewing Co. It is a small-batch brewery that invites guests to sample high-quality brews in their tasting room. Without a doubt, sample the Kelp Stout. It's one of few beers in the world that uses local kelp to brew a full-bodied beer with a complex and unique flavour. Also keep an eye out for the seasonal brews which often times feature foraged ingredients. These can include exotic flavours such as local salal berries and sitka spruce needles.
Savour Sweets Morsels
Location: 1180A Pacific Rim Highway, Tofino
Telephone: (250) 725-2526
Hours: Monday - Saturday, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. (October - May.) See website for summer hours.
If you don’t find a chocolate lager at the brewery, Chocolate Tofino will have more than enough treats to indulge your sweet tooth. Hand-crafted artisan chocolates and gelatos are made with fresh ingredients that incorporate local flavours. The beloved shop is the vision of husband and wife proprietors, Kim and Cam Shaw. Choosing a favorite is almost impossible. We love the lavender truffle and salted caramel, but masala chai truffles and basil ganache are equally tempting.
Hot insider tip: Visiting in storm season? If the power goes out make haste for Chocolate Tofino - for a gelato flash sale. 50% off while the power is out.
One of the more amazing things to do in Ucluelet is to visit during low season. Why? There's said to be five seasons in Ucluelet: spring, summer, fall, winter and storm. From November to March the Pacific delivers phenomenal wind and waves that pound the shoreline. Take in the awe of nature from the Wild Pacific Trail. Or better yet, take a cozy seat near the fire and watch while safely snuggled with your sweetie, wine in hand.
Walk Wild Trails
The Wild Pacific Trail is a gentle adventure that can be explored in three distinct sections. Find everything you need to know about these routes here.
Before starting the trail, take some time to visit Amphitrite Point Lighthouse for the excellent views and a bit of history. The exposed point is washed by 30 to 35-foot swells. Hurricane force winds during severe storms once caused the tragic loss of a vessel in 1905. The incident prompted the construction of the first light at the point. The severe conditions washed out the first few constructions. Today visitors find a sturdy, squat tower. This year marks the lighthouse's 100 centennial as a marine sentinel .
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