Lockdown, lockdown lift, variant, vaccine…no matter the headline, it’s pretty hard to make plans these days not knowing what the future holds, let alone tomorrow morning. One thing we know for sure is that, virus or not, our fair city—nay, province—doesn’t need leaving to experience an epic getaway that’s the stuff of dreams for the rest of the world. So with that, here are five quick getaways just a stone’s throw from our literal backyard/patio/picture windows. The kicker: they’re all around the price of a Mont Blanc pen (and not even one of the fancy ones at that).
Have Wheels, Will Travel
During world pandemics, freedom and flexibility generally go the way of the dodo bird (or, in this case, the pangolin), but with an RV, you’re free and flexible to roam at will all without needing to consult Bonnie Henry’s latest directives. CanaDream’s RVs are the perfect hotel rooms on-the-go with a Safe Travels ranking by the World Travel & Tourism Council (health & hygiene global standardized protocols); you’ve now got the safety stamp & no passport required. Whether mountain, lake, ocean, it’s choose your own adventure for as long or as little as you like. Drive 3-4 hours, stop, hike, bike, paddle, visit a winery; drive 3-4 hours, stop, hike, bike, paddle, visit a winery; rinse, repeat.
With the three-night Summer Special (available until October 31), the lowest rate starts at $171 for the Maxi Travel Camper, which sleeps two adults and a child. Its perfect size means you’re not piloting a semi-like behemoth across the Lion’s Gate, but its 6’4 interior height and a queen bed means expansive digs for you and your open road.
From $171/night ($233 in July/August). Canadream.com
Lack of accommodation has long relegated Bowen to day-trip status, but the new Kitoki Inn promises to change all that. Opening July 15th, this little restorative retreat will offer three guest cabins and a Japanese bathhouse nestled in idyllic wooded surroundings; floor-to-ceiling windows afford unobstructed views of the woods, while the bathhouse reimagines the traditional Japanese onsen (outdoor hot spring to us North Americans) for a note-perfect westcoast forest bath.
This soothing outpost is the newest venture for its owners, Mitsumi Kawai and husband Rob Leadley, who were behind the successful Japanese eateries Kuma in Tofino and Bowen Island’s Shika Provisions. Let nature take its course here—and its local provisions like all-natural, organic luxury skincare courtesy of Sangre de Fruta (favoured by Gwyneth Paltrow), coffee from Vancouver roastery Modus and comfy, eco-friendly bedding from the Takasa Lifestyle Company. Squamish-based Van Urban Timber used repurposed trees from Kitoki’s property to create the custom millwork while Glasfurd & Walker (of Savio Volpe, Kissa Tanto and St. Lawrence fame) created the inn’s graphic design; signage is handcrafted by Bowen jewelry designer Miki Tanaka and industrial designer Bob Schultz. People have clearly been paying attention to such fine detail: bookings are scarce now until the fall.
Rates from $225, Kitoki-inn.com
Just a 40-minute ferry from Vancouver whisks you away to Ruby Lake Resort, an artsy, coastal community with a true island vibe (think quaint Dirty Dancing vibe, not dream weavers and healing crystals vibe). The dramatic Caren Range Mountains on the 80-acre property’s eastern flank sometimes obscures the unarguable charm of the lake: swimmable, rustic, low-key (and filled with Kokanee and Cutthroat Trout, so bring your fishing license). Its lagoon-side cottage duplexes, as well as both rustic glamping safari-style tents and tiny wood cabins are the perfect perch from which to enjoy some of the clearest and warmest waters on the Sunshine Coast.
From $130, Rubylakeresort.com
How is it that a city that complains about a dearth of architectural history boasts a circa-1913 ivy-covered gem in the heart of town that looks like it was plucked straight from a side street in London’s tony Mayfair? Although thoroughly a heritage jewel now (and one of the city’s few publicly accessible at that), the ivy-covered Sylvia Hotel was once the definition of cutting-edge: crowned the tallest apartment building in town until 1956 (with dumbwaiters in every suite), this quaint inn boasts honours as the birthplace of Vancouver’s first cocktail lounge, the Tilting Room, which was frequented by the likes of Malcolm Lowry and Errol Flynn. Flanking some the city’s most enviable oceanfront real estate in English Bay, these charming digs will take you back to pre-pandemic idyll—one where alarm clocks are still listed as “hotel amenities.”
Rooms start at $161/night, Sylviahotel.com