19 January 2024 by Rachel Mostyn
Canada is unparalleled in its natural appeal – from bear watching to spotting icebergs off its eastern shores, its potential may even seem overwhelming. If you’re looking for inspiration, its collection of luxury lodges is a great place to start – marvel at grizzlies hunting for salmon, explore remote island shores and kayak through pristine waters with orcas for company. However, with the space at the best lodges strictly limited, booking well in advance is a must. To help you decide, we've picked out seven of the best options.
Best for the Coast: The Wickaninnish Inn
Picture yourself on forest-framed shores, whale watching, sea kayaking or even storm-chasing, as Pacific Ocean swells crash onto a deserted bay. Then, head off for a spa treatment and a seven-course seasonal tasting menu – wine-paired to perfection – that’s a true celebration of the sea. These are just some of the highlights offered at this Relais & Châteaux retreat in British Columbia’s Tofino National Park.
Best for Bear Watching: Knight Inlet Lodge
This magnificent lodge is located in one of the world’s best grizzly viewing sites. Bear watching and bald eagle spotting excursions are included, all led by expert guides, and throughout summer, there’s the chance to spot pods of orcas and dolphins playing in the surf. Come evening, settle in for all-inclusive dining with the likes of crab, salmon and prawn harvested from the glacier-fed waters of the Knight Inlet.
Best for Culture & Wildlife: Spirit Bear Lodge
British Columbia’s Great Bear Rainforest is home to fewer than 400 spirit bears and, for many, watching them in the wild is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Sharing their forest home are grizzlies and black bears, while in the surrounding ocean, humpbacks and orcas reign supreme. Catch sight of all of these at Spirit Bear Lodge, where stays include wildlife hikes and walks with the local Kitasso people.
Best for Luxury: Clayoquot Wilderness Resort
The ultimate in nature-meets-luxury, this resort is truly something special, its safari-style tents nestled in dense woodland or overlooking the mirrored waters of a pristine lake. Days here are spent hiking and horse riding while evenings invite soaks in cedar-wood hot tubs before the likes of pea-crusted Peace River lamb rack and smoked duck breast are served beside cosy fires to a menu of perfectly paired wines.
Best for Food: Nimmo Bay
An exclusive wildlife retreat in the Great Bear Rainforest, Nimmo Bay offers the very best in luxury wilderness living, with cabins that rise and fall with the tides. Wildlife viewing here is extraordinary, perhaps only matched by its incredible array of coastal cuisine; cocktails and canapés in the open air are a foretaste to gourmet meals of fresh crab and wild salmon.
Best for Design: Fogo Island Inn
A fishing community on Newfoundland’s remote northeast coast might seem a strange location for a building whose contemporary design was the brainchild of a Norwegian-based architect. But, Fogo Island Inn is nothing if not extraordinary. Here, seven seasons provide scope for a full range of activities, from berry foraging and whale watching to bonfire barbecues, iceberg cruises and wildlife walks.
Best for Wilderness: Chic-Chocs Mountain Lodge
With space for just 36 guests this mountain lodge is nestled high in the pine and birch forests of Matane wildlife reserve, a spectacular and remote wilderness tailor-made for hiking, biking, canoeing and wildlife watching. Head out into the wilds to spot moose, caribou and soaring eagles, then head back for gourmet fireside meals, saunas and soaks in outdoor hot tubs under star-studded skies.