Travel: The Wickaninnish Inn
Original Article by Andrea Mestrovic for Olivia Palermo
Strewn along the wild waters of Chesterman Beach in Tofino, British Columbia, The Wickaninnish Inn is an unmatched destination for the well-heeled traveler – one seeking rustic elegance on nature’s edge. This is an archetypal North West Coast resort, offering an undeniable, calm vulnerability with its inherent natural elements, and humbling ocean seascape. The hotel is a member of the highly regarded Relais & Châteaux, and takes its 5 C’s very seriously: charm, courtesy, character, cuisine, and calm.
Part of the charm of The Wickaninnish is in its remoteness and solitary mystique. Located on Vancouver Island, off of Canada’s West Coast, it is only accessible by boat or floatplane. This isolation makes it a celebrity favorite. Apart from its secret location and unpretentious, subtle opulence, the resort is truly a design phenomenon. Hand-adzed cedar entranceways, expansive 20-foot tall windows, an amalgamation of carved entry doors by Henry Nolla, and sinuous driftwood furniture by Maxwell Newhouse, in every sizable bend.
The highest levels of hospitality and courteousness are given to guests by all staff members – something that was instilled and enthusiastically sustained in the corporate culture by the founder, Dr. Howard McDiarmid, whose family still owns and manages the property. The jewel of the resort, and possibly the area, is The Pointe Restaurant located on water’s edge, with over 240 degrees of Pacific Ocean views. Awarded the prestigious Best of Award of Excellence by Wine Spectator in 2013, The Pointe is truly a gastronomic delight. Executive Chef Warren Barr focuses on farm-fresh, organic Vancouver Island ingredients and local catch only. A must-try, when in season, is the spot prawn tartar – a potent yet highly gratifying amuse bouche, and a wonderful way to start a dinner adventure.
The Wickaninnish houses an intimate fitness facility, an art gallery featuring works from some of the most awarded local artisans, as well as a world-class spa. The Ancient Cedars Spa is located on the edge of the property, sheltered by forest fringe and adjacent to the wave dashed-rocks. It is an experience that purifies both the mind and the body, and one that comes highly recommended by visitors and locals alike.