Reed Travel Features
TOFINO, British Columbia -- The recently opened Wickaninnish Inn
on Vancouver Island here is offering air and accommodations
packages for clients wanting to ride out the storm season in
Storm-watching is particularly spectacular on the west coast of
Vancouver Island because of the punch the systems pack as they roll
in from the Pacific.
"You get 25-foot waves coming in, and the way the inn is perched
out on a rocky promontory, you feel as if the wave is going to
crash in on the restaurant," Victoria Pratt, a spokeswoman for the
inn, said. "But the inn is protected by another rocky
The storm-watching stay is part of the inn's No-Stress Express
packages, which take advantage of new winter air service from
Vancouver to Tofino by North Vancouver Air.
The roughly four-and-a-half-hour drive, including ferry transit,
from Vancouver to Tofino is cut to under an hour by flying.
Further reducing the stress meter, clients can park their car
for free at North Vancouver Air's executive terminal at Vancouver
Airport and use an executive lounge at the airport. Only a
30-minute advance check-in is required.
"This is why it's called No-Stress Express," Pratt said. "You
get on a plane and, bingo, you're there."
North Vancouver Air, a small, family-owned carrier, offers
scheduled flights to destinations throughout British Columbia and
charter flights to the Pacific Northwest of the U.S. as well as to
destinations east of British Columbia, such as Alberta.
Other No-Stress Express packages are planned around
whale-watching season (March through June) and the summer season
(July through Sep-
"The storm-watching is really the thing now because of the drama
of the season," Pratt said.
"So from now until March, you have the storm season, and then
you have the whales returning in March through June, so you have
two neat things that sort of drift together at this point."
Prices for the two-night storm-season package, which are valid
through February, start at about $225 per person, double.
The rate includes accommodations, roundtrip air from Vancouver
and transfers to and from Tofino Airport to the 48-room
Wickaninnish Inn, a "natural destination" property located on
Chesterman Beach at the gateway to Clayoquot Sound and the Pacific
Rim National Park.
A four-night, air-inclusive package starts at about $294 per
Because of the beautiful scenery to be experienced on the rugged
coastline and heavily forested interior of Vancouver Island,
clients might well be advised to opt for the four-and-a-half- to
five-hour drive from Vancouver, especially if they have never made
the transit across the Strait of Georgia on one of BC Ferries'
convenient and comfortable vessels.
The cost of transit on BC Ferries is approximately $19.75 for a
car and one passenger and about $4.85 for each additional
The fastest driving route for clients departing from Vancouver
is to take the ferry from the Horseshoe Bay terminal (about 25
minutes north of Vancouver) to Nanaimo, about three hours away from
Clients traveling across the border from Washington state should
take the ferry from the Tsawassen terminal (about 25 minutes south
of Vancouver) to Nanaimo.
Other travel options, depending on the time of year, include a
ferry from Port Angeles, Wash., to Victoria, British Columbia, and
the Victoria Clipper from Seattle to Victoria.
Tofino is about a four-hour drive from Victoria, the heavily
British-influenced provincial seat of government that is a must-see
on the island.
Traveling though Victoria also makes a day trip to Butchart
Gardens a worthwhile possibility.
Those who want to drive can take advantage of a midweek rate
special at the Wickaninnish Inn.
Clients who stay two nights and pay the rack rate (which starts
at approximately $89 per night) get the third night at half price.
Clients who stay for three nights at the rack rate get the fourth
The air-inclusive packages are commissionable at 5% to travel
agents, but agents receive the standard 10% commission on the
The oceanfront Wickaninnish Inn, which opened last August but
until 1977 was in operation about seven miles south, on Long Beach,
features 180-degree views of the Pacific Ocean.
Each room has a private balcony, handmade furniture, a gas
fireplace and an oversize, deep-soaker tub with a separate
Twenty-six of the rooms have the deep-soak tub overlooking the
Other room amenities include terry robes, goose-down duvets and
The inn's chef, Rodney Butters, uses herbs from an on-property
garden and dives for fresh seafood in the waters below the property
to contribute to his menus at the Wickaninnish's Pointe Restaurant,
which has a 280-degree view of the ocean.
Conference facilities also are available at the property.
For more information or to make reservations, contact the
Wickaninnish Inn at (800) 333-4604.