West Coast Wilderness Lodge on British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast really is away from it all:
"By air it's 45 minutes, by car it’s three, three and a half hours, it's quite easy to get here. And then once you're here, you think you're at the end of the world because you basically are,” said Paul Hansen, owner.
Hansen built this place as an outdoor education center in the mid-90s. Lake Quinault Lodge in Washington helped inspire him:
"It’s that sense of community that lodges bring out, and I think that's what you felt at Quinault."
At West Coast Wilderness Lodge, guests feel like family, because they're surrounded by it:
"My family built this place,” said Hansen’s son Luke. “My mom and dad they're not just my boss but they physically built it with their bare hands. Which is really cool.”
Paul’s kids started working here as children, building trails.
“I'd be like whacking trails, and the guest would be like, ‘There's some young child out in the woods with a machete!’” Luke Hansen recalled.
Today, Luke has traded the machete for a martini shaker. He tends bar, and teaches a popular happy hour martini making class at the lodge.
This place lives up to the 'Wilderness' in its name:
Rooms have fir headboards and stone sinks in addition to great views. The restaurant , Inlets, pairs salmon and fiddlehead ferns with views of the water, and forests that food was harvested from.
Getting out into that view is the way to get the most out of this place: There are Zodiac tours -- cool orange zoot suits are provided along with waterfalls and wildlife, including occasional whale sightings.
Also, guests can kayak among the seals that hang out on nearby rocks.
Even though the family that owns West Coast Wilderness Lodge seldom gets to relax in it, they all admit, this a pretty good place to make a living; "No, it never gets old. It's a calendar that every time you flip a page, it's another pretty picture you're seeing,” said Paul Hansen.
West Coast Wilderness Lodge
6649 Maple Rd
Egmont, BC V0N 1N0, Canada