We're not much for camping but the more glamorous Tatoosh Yurt provided the relaxing nature setting with real comfy bed, fridge, microwave and amazing views. We love hiking and gourmet food - so this was the place for us! This was our second visit after 6 years (the road from Cowichan Lake is paved now!) so we booked five nights at the yurt in early August. Most people stay much shorter but in our opinion, it is well worth staying much longer if you have the time.
The Yurt is clean, cozy and warm (there's electric heating if it gets chilly). The bathroom is just like one in the lodge with a walk-in shower. The night it rained was very romantic and provided
a tent experience while being totally dry and never damp. Compared to the heatwave in Vancouver and Victoria, the somewhat cooler air felt very relaxing. Don't expect to have a week of sunshine on the West Coast.
The dinner was superb with fresh, local ingredients. Loved the fish but also the salads (ever had a hazelnut oil, truffle oil, grapefruit vinaigrette?), homemade ice cream or crumble with seasonal berries! We had the most wonderful conversations with other guests. Tim, Suzanne, and Jon are always helpful and answered all our questions. They all work really hard to accommodate all sorts of requests, food allergies and even repeat visitors like ourselves to make sure that dinner was different every time. A couple celebrating an anniversary even a special surprise for desert, young children were given special consideration and seated privately with their parents. You can even book a packed lunch now! Loved the blueberry pancakes, fruit smoothie and fresh fruit for breakfast best. You can have the full works (eggs, bacon etc.) but that's not my thing. I'd be happy just with granola & fruit.
We loved not having to rush and being able to sit at the beach for an hour or two to take in the views. With a little more time, one will not be disappointed if there is a rainy day. Don't trust the weather forecast. Even sitting on the porch of the Yurt in the afternoon is amazing. The weather changes by the minute: Sun coming through the mist or clouds, clouds drifting into the valley, fog ... it's not called rainforest for nothing. The porch of the yurt is great for armchair birders: eagles, Steller's Jays, Cedar waxwings, hummingbirds.
We had a 4-wheel drive rental car, which helped to master the drive, but it's doable in a normal car, too.
We booked several months ahead because we have very little flexibility in our schedules. The online booking, reservation, deposit were all handled well and efficiently. I thought it was fair to ask us if we REALLY wanted to stay five days. We were not disappointed and I hope we can come back some time. The important thing is that you know what you need for rest and relaxation!
Things to do:
- Avatar grove (upper trail is being improved all the time - Jon is not only a chef but very handy, too! - the lower trail is also fun. If you follow the orange flagging tape rather than the blue flags, you can find a very steep descent to the river, which is fun on a dry and sunny day).
- Fairy Lake and Lizard Lake are picturesque, too. Wish there was a place to rent a canoe or kayak from.
- Hike parts of the Juan de Fuca trail near Sombrio Beach.
- Walk down Pacheedat Beach / San Juan Harbour for sandy beach and fishing (or watching other people, eagles or osprey fish .. in fact the fish jump right out of the river!).
- Of course, botanical beach for the tide pools. We went twice for half the day. Best at low tide and below 1,20 m. We've seen it at very low tide and at a higher one, in sunshine, fog and mist and it is always beautiful and completely different. Almost bumped into a black bear in the fog!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Perched on top of the San Juan Ridge with stunning ocean views and 160 private acres. Guests can choose a newly remodeled Yurt, cabin or lodge suite all with en suite and balcony. A short drive to Botanical Beach, WCT, day hikes, world class fishing and some of the largest trees in the world. Chef/owners offer guest a three course local organic dinner option and warm hospitality. ... more less