Sunday, March 21, 2010

2 Nights at the Terrace Beach Resort, Ucluelet BC

The Terrace Beach Resort is located on a rocky coastline to the south of Ucluelet on the West Coast of Vancouver Island, BC. The town is a short and spectacular 3 hour drive from Nanaimo’s Departure Bay ferry terminal. Thought of as Tofino's ugly sister, Ucluelet’s relative obscurity comes down to the fact that nobody can spell or pronounce the town’s name, and has nothing at all to do with its setting or services.

The resort consists of a number of buildings holding ocean-view lofts and suites as well as 10 small cabins, all with ocean glimpses through the huge fir and cedar trees around Terrace Bay. Our cabin had three floors, 4 beds and a kitchenette, so the value was very good for our two families. The private outdoor hot tub was more than welcome after our blustery nature walks and surfing adventures.

The architecture and engineering is to be commended, with the entire complex being raised on concrete footings and wooden pilings, giving it a bit of a treehouse effect in the heart of the rainforest. The main building is clad with shiny aluminum, an aesthetic departure from the traditional cedar planking of the West Coast style. The cabins are built with local wood in a rustic fashion, some of the beams reaching 8 by 18 inches wide. The rooms are well-appointed and comfortable, though the main attraction lies outside the cabin’s doors.

The resort is literally on the doorstep of the Wild Pacific Trail, a series of short and easily walkable coastal trails around the Ucluelet area. This is west-coast rainforest, best described as unstoppable. There is an eagle nest in one of the trees on the property, and we were awoken by the sound of their early morning cries. We were here in mid-March, just days after the annual Whale Festival took place, and we could hear what my companions swore was the call of the whales at night. In daylight we could see their spray off the shore, though none of the grey whales breached as they proceeded with their annual migration.

March is storm season on the West Coast, and the surf can be spectacular on this rocky part of the coastline. It’s also low-season in the hotels, so the resort was far from crowded, and the rate was roughly half what it would be in July and August. Though we had a chance to surf Chesterman Beach we would have enjoyed more time to explore this wild coast and some of the other many opportunities for adventure and attitude adjustment available here, just steps from some of the last untamed beauty on the planet.

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