Staff Spotlight: Laura Morehouse
Laura Morehouse still misses the bagels from her Montreal hometown. But she’s got the beaches and the whales and her favourite noodle joint to keep her quite happy here in Tofino.
In fact, it took just one visit to Tofino, and she was hooked. She still remembers that first trip, so many years ago, and the almost mystical connection she felt watching a pod of whales burst from the calm Pacific waters. “I was blown away,” she says.
Now, as the Wickaninnish Inn’s Chef Concierge, her job is to help her guests experience moments as magical as hers. “My main goal is make sure guests wants and needs are met,” she says. That could mean everything from making a dinner reservation to arranging a spa appointment to organizing a fly-in fly-fishing expedition to, yes, booking a whale-watching trip.
Although Morehouse had visited Tofino many times over the years to camp and surf, she didn’t move here until February 2015. She’d been living in Victoria, where she studied hotel and restaurant management at Camosun College and earned her Bachelor of Commerce degree at the University of Victoria. She’d also spent two years working on a super yacht in Mexico with her boyfriend, who now works for Outer Shores Expeditions. Because he travels all up and down the coast for work, she realized she could be based anywhere. She chose Tofino.
She loved the small, coastal community, and she was attracted to the Inn after having worked at a similar luxury property, King Pacific Lodge, following stints at Panorama Mountain Resort in the Canadian Rockies and Poets Cove Resort on Pender Island.
She was first hired as assistant concierge, and a key part of her job has been working with local outfitters. The Inn has chosen not to have their own boats or charter companies, but instead works with and supports many local operations to ensure an authentic local experiences. Those relationships have made the Inn an integral part of the community, and they also give the concierge many more options for excursions, making it easier to customize each guest experience.
“It also allows the team at the Inn to focus on being experts in hospitality and the outfitters to be the experts in their field,” she says. “It’s the perfect ecosystem. It allows everybody to be the best that they can be, which in turn provides the guest with the best possible experience.”
Morehouse is always asked by guests: “What is the one thing I should do while in Tofino?” The answer to that, of course, depends on the guest. But if she had one recommendation to make, it would be to take a sightseeing flight. “Once you see it from the air, you realize how remote and how wild the area is,” she says. “Even guests who fly in enjoy this excursion because there are so many things to do.” A small plane or helicopter can whisk you to remote beaches, into the rugged wilderness, up to a nearby glacier or over to beautiful Paradise Lake.
“When you live here you can kind of forget how great it is,” she says. “It’s so amazing to hear how guests love their experiences.”