In Photos: Beach Combing & Fine Dining at Tofino’s Long Beach Lodge
Written by Jaillan Yehia
I’m walking along Vancouver Island’s vast Cox Beach in the winter sunshine, spotting surfers and sand dollars, meeting four-legged beach goers and admiring washed up chunks of tree that are as beautiful as any piece of modern sculpture in the best gallery in town…
I’ve spent the night at Long Beach Lodge – a refined resort-style property facing the rugged waves of the Pacific Ocean and one of the small number of luxury properties here in Tofino, the surf capital of the island.
There’s an overwhelming feeling of being by the ocean even from inside the building itself, the only one on this long stretch of sand, it is designed to blend into its environment and maximise the beach and water views that myself and the other guests have come here to enjoy.
The hotel offers a mixture of sea-facing rooms and suites as well as the pet-friendly and high-spec Rainforest Cottages, nestled as their name suggests in the abundant native vegetation that covers the coast.
The chilled vibe of the West Coast is given a luxurious twist at Long Beach still while retaining a laid-back surfer-friendly air – there’s an open air hot tub for soothing surf-slapped muscles and an on-site surf club offering rentals and lessons.
But come evening the well-respected restaurant, The Great Room, puts Long Beach on the map as much as the daytime water sports – it is a destination in its own right in the area and very much part of the fabric of the foodie collaboration that characterises this far-flung part of the island.
The cuisine is overseen by Chef Ian Riddick, who ensures that the balance between the island’s local offerings and the best produce available from around BC and further afield is struck just right for discerning palates.
The menu, as you’d imagine features plenty of locally-caught seafood from mussels and spot prawns to dungeness crab, and changes seasonally – each dish is beautifully presented with imagination and flair.
My visit, complete with glorious sunshine and beach walks, took place during winter, when you’re more likely to be storm watching than sun-bathing, but I happened to get lucky – I’ll feel even luckier if I can make a return visit to comb the beach in my bikini in summer, and this time work up an appetite for the Apres Surf by wielding a board on those crashing waves.
Long Beach Lodge is a a short 7km drive from Tofino itself and a 3 hour cross-island drive from Nanaimo for those arriving by ferry from Vancouver.
There are also ferry services from Seattle, Vancouver and Powell River to Victoria, the island (and BC) capital, and Tofino is served by flights from Seattle, Vancouver and Victoria.
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