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​​​​​​​British Columbia Wildlife Lodges

​​​​​​​British Columbia Wildlife Lodges

Old Jan 13, 18, 1:35 pm
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​​​​​​​British Columbia Wildlife Lodges

Looking into a summer expedition to one or two BC lodges, interested primarily in bear watching. I've narrowed it down to these three:

Tweedsmuir Park Lodge -- (inland) https://www.tweedsmuirparklodge.com/
Nimmo Bay Lodge (bonus of orcas and sealife) -- https://nimmobay.com/
Clayoquot Wilderness Resort -- (also coastal) https://wildretreat.com/

Definitely want to do Tweedsmuir and thinking of adding a stay at Nimmo Bay.

Anyone experienced any of these? Super expensive so I want to get it right. In addition to lodge fees, there are pricey transfers once one gets to Vancouver (easy for us out of SFO).

Neither of us are in great physical shape so we aren't up to kayaking, rock climbing or anything physically challenging. But wanting modest walks and bear viewing. I realize that means we won't get best value for our bucks but c'est la vie.

I am thinking this trip is best put together by a good luxury TA.

Your insights, thoughts welcome.






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Last edited by KatW; Jan 13, 18 at 3:47 pm
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Old Jan 13, 18, 2:38 pm
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Thanks for starting this thread, @KatW!

We also are looking into one of those properties for a stay in the coming years. Our research has us leaning towards Clayoquot due to its apparently incredibly high service and food/beverage standards, as well as the diversity of experiences and excursions. It also seems a bit more adventurous while still being luxury, IMO, with the tents and location (and climate). But the cabins at the other lodges seem very comfortable...and it seems you could combine them into one trip more easily if desired.

Might I add, hopefully without any hint of condescension, how impressed I am that you both seek out such adventurous destinations that typically require more vigor and conditioning than you concede you ordinarily exhibit. I think that’s absolutely fabulous...and quite rare IME. Your interests and preferences and ours frequently seem to overlap despite our very different physical capabilities (and ages).

I can’t speak for anyone else, but I adore you for that and hope our paths will cross at some point at one of these properties!






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Old Jan 13, 18, 3:42 pm
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Heavens, bhrubin, I do not blush easily (unless wine-inspired) but am turning furiously rosy just now. It would be a blast to link up with you two (or three, depending) so here's hoping our paths do indeed cross.

I've noticed that folk who go on African safari often go to more than one camp thereby increasing diversity of wildlife. If no lions where the hippos are, you get another chance. Yes, I know Africa is very different, etc., but the diversity premise is a good one. From my research, Tweedsmuir looks to be the very best for bears, with the easiest viewing possibilities. Sows and cubs even play in the meadow directly in front of the lodge! I'd also like to experience the coastal opportunities, thus Nimmo or Clayoquot.

That being the case, I lean toward Nimmo because it is somewhat more cost friendly and the wildlife viewing looks to be excellent.

One drawback to Tweedsmuir is best bear viewing is from mid-September on and I was rather hoping for (a warmer) summer trip. But I think I'll, um, cave for the sake of the bears.
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Last edited by KatW; Jan 13, 18 at 3:50 pm
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Old Jan 13, 18, 4:20 pm
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It's difficult to compare pricing but, herewith, one such comparison tailored to my 'druthers. All are all-inclusive but I've yet to sort out the transfers from Vancouver which likely will be at least interesting.

Nimmo
$1,950 per person, per day

Clayoquot
$2000 per person per day

Tweedsmuir
$5400 per person, with private guide, four nights
(Somewhat less if in a small group)

It turns out Clayoquot and Nimmo are equal in cost. Assuming four nights in Tweedsmuir and four nights in one of the two other lodges, that would be $27K for eight days all-inclusive lodging and guided viewing, etc. Plus air. But, hell, that's cheaper than Laucala even if on the utter other side of the meridian.




















Last edited by KatW; Jan 13, 18 at 10:16 pm
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Old Jan 13, 18, 10:56 pm
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Have always been tempted by Clayoquot but haven't find the chance or the stomach to spend that much yet. Did do some research previously and also looked at Sonora, Nimmo, King Pacific Lodge. Can't wait for your trip report!
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Old Jan 13, 18, 11:25 pm
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Originally Posted by HKTraveler View Post
Have always been tempted by Clayoquot but haven't find the chance or the stomach to spend that much yet. Did do some research previously and also looked at Sonora, Nimmo, King Pacific Lodge. Can't wait for your trip report!
Nimmo is definitely on my list (see above) but none of the others you cite. Will be sure to report back here if we get there.

Clayoquot gets the most press but I am not convinced it delivers the best wildlife experiences.
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Old Jan 13, 18, 11:37 pm
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Meanwhile, King Pacific is mostly about fishing so that doesn't work for us. Fishing is included at both Nimmo and Clayoquot but not so pronounced.
http://kingpacificlodge.com/

Meanwhile, Sonora is not our cuppa tea ... too many frills of no interest -- tennis, golfing, archery, movie theatre, etc.
https://sonoraresort.com/
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Old Jan 13, 18, 11:48 pm
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Originally Posted by HKTraveler View Post
Have always been tempted by Clayoquot but haven't find the chance or the stomach to spend that much yet. Did do some research previously and also looked at Sonora, Nimmo, King Pacific Lodge. Can't wait for your trip report!
Originally Posted by KatW View Post


Nimmo is definitely on my list (see above) but none of the others you cite. Will be sure to report back here if we get there.

Clayoquot gets the most press but I am not convinced it delivers the best wildlife experiences.
We were supposed to have stayed at Clayoquot Wilderness Resort last summer but eventually couldn’t fit it in .

Will be interesting to hear from you if you do go . We will decide then how soon we should stay , unlikely this year , & if what the press report tend to convey is what it really is .
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Old Jan 14, 18, 4:13 am
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Sorry, Kat. It seems you came here looking for feedback and we’re all just begging for your trip report! I’ll chime in. I’d love to take our son to one of these someday soon. He doesn’t yet make the age cut off (another year or two I think). They all sound wonderful, though. We’ll keep an eye on this thread. Have a great time whatever you decide!
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Old Jan 14, 18, 7:38 am
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I am not sure if this is appropriate on the "Luxury Hotels" forum but can I throw another option into the ring? We spent a week in BC a couple of summers ago (early July) and spent ages looking at the various lodges and although Clayoquot looked fantastic, it was beyond our budget and we were desperate to get some really good wildlife viewing. Instead we stayed a few nights in Telegraph Cove in the north of Vancouver Island (nowhere very glamorous to stay sadly) and spent one day out with Tide Rip tours viewing Grizzlies and another out with Stubbs Island Whale Watching tours watching amazing Orcas. The bear and whale viewing we had was absolutely outstanding and not at all physically demanding. Tide Rip do all the bear viewing by boat - they take you on a big comfortable boat into the remote islands and then you transfer to a small shallow craft (with seats) which allows you to get amazingly close to the bears with no danger to you and they have no fear. We spent a hour watching a mother nurse and play with three cubs for example. Stubbs Island viewing is also all from the boat.

Telegraph Cove is fairly accessible - there are direct flights to Port Hardy (about 30 mins from Telegraph Cove) from Vancouver and they weren't crazily expensive. While you are in Port Hardy, you can always take the full day ferry up the Inside Passage to Prince Rupert which is reputed to be one of the most beautiful in the world.
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Old Jan 15, 18, 2:47 pm
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Originally Posted by Ericka View Post
Sorry, Kat. It seems you came here looking for feedback and we’re all just begging for your trip report! I’ll chime in. I’d love to take our son to one of these someday soon. He doesn’t yet make the age cut off (another year or two I think). They all sound wonderful, though. We’ll keep an eye on this thread. Have a great time whatever you decide!
Hah, the irony as most here are more travelled than I. I am wavering on timing as I don't know how travel-able Jim will be in September. May have to shift to earlier in the summer when bear viewing is much less reliable.
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Old Jan 15, 18, 2:48 pm
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This is a great contribution to the discussion, thank you!

Originally Posted by EfficientTraveller View Post
I am not sure if this is appropriate on the "Luxury Hotels" forum but can I throw another option into the ring? We spent a week in BC a couple of summers ago (early July) and spent ages looking at the various lodges and although Clayoquot looked fantastic, it was beyond our budget and we were desperate to get some really good wildlife viewing. Instead we stayed a few nights in Telegraph Cove in the north of Vancouver Island (nowhere very glamorous to stay sadly) and spent one day out with Tide Rip tours viewing Grizzlies and another out with Stubbs Island Whale Watching tours watching amazing Orcas. The bear and whale viewing we had was absolutely outstanding and not at all physically demanding. Tide Rip do all the bear viewing by boat - they take you on a big comfortable boat into the remote islands and then you transfer to a small shallow craft (with seats) which allows you to get amazingly close to the bears with no danger to you and they have no fear. We spent a hour watching a mother nurse and play with three cubs for example. Stubbs Island viewing is also all from the boat.

Telegraph Cove is fairly accessible - there are direct flights to Port Hardy (about 30 mins from Telegraph Cove) from Vancouver and they weren't crazily expensive. While you are in Port Hardy, you can always take the full day ferry up the Inside Passage to Prince Rupert which is reputed to be one of the most beautiful in the world.
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Old Jan 15, 18, 3:04 pm
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Have you looked at Wickaninnish Inn? It is Relais & Chateau and has a bear watching program: https://www.wickinn.com/tofino-activities/bear-watching
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Old Jan 15, 18, 6:33 pm
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Clayquot - we visited Summer '13, it was phenomenal. Only stayed for 3 night as we'd booked 6 nights at King Pacific Lodge (which unfortunately went bust at the last minute, and Clayquot didn't have availability to extend.) Food & Bev was phenomenal. Not fussy cooking, but really nice food. We didn't go hard on the wildlife viewing but I have friends who had a great time seeing whales. The excursions were very customizeable- we spent a day hiking up into the mountains because we like hiking; it wasn't on their list of things to do but they were happy to make it happen.

We also visited the Wick Inn, and were generally pretty unimpressed. It was ok, but given the average standards of Relais and Chateaux and the write-ups that we'd had, we expected more. Details a bit hazy now, but I remember asking some reasonable questions of staff (good hikes to do in the area, for people who like hiking, say) and getting back totally unhelpful answers. Ok, we like hiking, we aren't going to expire if we walk more than 500m, maybe the rest of your clientele are different but I was surprised that we basically got nothing helpful out of them. We did visit it first so my view isn't tainted by the awesomeness of Clayquot.

Would go back to Clayquot in an instant given the chance.

Feel free to PM me if you have any questions.

Cheers

P.S. Not sure if I have a strong view on bear watching which I realised was your initial q. Clayquot would do it well, I'm sure, but they're more geared up for the all-round experience I think.
P.P.S. Most resorts have fairly inflexible views around transfers/dates, so while you may want to use a good luxury TA, I would keep fairly involved yourself, as while I find TAs good at properties, they seem bad at solving the optimization problem implied by stitching together two or three resorts with inflexible dates.
P.P.P.S. You can definitely do bear and whale viewing from Tofino which is about a mile or so from the Wick Inn. We did and got very cold and saw nothing but entirely our fault for going on a day when it was raining hard, I'm sure on average people have much better luck
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Last edited by pauljeff; Jan 15, 18 at 6:39 pm Reason: Added detail
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Old Jan 15, 18, 9:52 pm
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Getting There from Vancouver:
Air transfers from Vancouver are accomplished via Pacific Coastal Airlines.
Tweedsmuir (Bella Coola, QBC)
Nimmo Bay (Port Hardy, YZT)
http://www.pacificcoastal.com/

Two flights a day most of the summer, one flight daily otherwise

There is a 45-minute drive to Tweedsmuir from Bella Coola, the resort will meet your flight to do the transfer.

A helicopter or floatplane waits for you at the Port Hardy Airport to fly to Nimmo Bay. This flight is 20 minutes and is included in packages.

There are no roads to Nimmo Bay so I'll need to arrange helicopter transfer From Tweedsmuir.


















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