10 Unique Stays on Vancouver Island

Story by: Mara Sofferin

Originally appeared on TravelAndEscape.com on June 14, 2013 Forget traditional hotels. If you're headed to Vancouver Island, it's all about the cottage experience. Here are 10 rental cottages that will have you living in rustic luxury.cottage and studio cottage rates are seasonal, based on double occupancy, per night.

Named by National Geographic as one of the world's best coastal destinations, Vancouver Island has a Mediterranean-like climate and astounding natural beauty. From remote rainforest beaches and old-growth parkland to vineyards, fishing villages and the quaint city of Victoria, Vancouver Island vacation rentals are among the most interesting in Canada. That's right Muskoka, you've got competition for the king of cottage country.

Hacienda Beach House

Hci article

Located just across the road from Chesterman Beach, the highlight of this cozy A-frame cabin known as Hacienda Beach House is a claw-foot bathtub on a private deck—perfect for soaking tired muscles after a day of rainforest adventure.

Damali B&B

You can see why the Cowichan Valley is known as the Provence of North America! Boasting the warmest mean temperature in Canada, the fertile valley is not only a burgeoning wine region but also provides the perfect setting to grow lavender. Damali B&B, a French-inspired farmhouse nestled on the grounds of a lavender farm and winery, is just a short drive from Victoria, making it the perfect piece of Provençal-esque paradise for a rejuvenating weekend getaway.

Sooke Harbour House

A world-class inn and culinary retreat overlooking the Juan de Fuca Strait, the Sooke Harbour House is the epitome of luxury with a conscience. Since opening in 1979, the Harbour House has championed progressive environmental practices, the best known of which is the inn's "edible landscape." Both beautiful and functional, their gardens grow over 200 plants, allowing the Harbour House restaurant to grow as much of their own food as possible (and clearly they're doing something right, as they were voted best restaurant on Vancouver Island). Further keeping with their commitment to the local community, the inn is exclusively furnished and decorated with the work of Vancouver Island artisans.

Osprey Beach House

Located right on Chesterman Beach, a three-kilometre stretch of white sand and one of Tofino's top surf spots, this three-bedroom pet-friendly cottage rental overlooks the Pacific and offers direct beach access. Outfitted with a gourmet kitchen, floor-to-ceiling picture windows, a fireplace and western fir floors, the Osprey Beach House provides visitors with a bona fide Tofino home away from home.

Fairburn Farmstay

Built in 1886, Fairburn is a heritage farm and culinary retreat that has been a working water buffalo farm for 15 years (it was previously the home of the Vancouver Island Organic Initiative, a farming co-op that spearheaded a "back to the land" food philosophy decades ahead of its time). The historic property is nestled on the edge of a lush ravine and travellers have the choice of either renting a rustic private cottage or staying in the 125-year-old farmhouse. Both options are equally charming and include a daily breakfast of local, seasonal foods and the opportunity to join in milking the water buffalos and learning all about buffalo mozzarella production!

Spinnakers Bungalow

When it comes to visiting Victoria, it doesn't get much cooler than posting up for a few days at Canada's oldest brewpub. Owned and operated by Paul Hadfield, an architect by trade, Spinnakers has a private bungalow and heritage guesthouse for travellers looking to experience the city's craft brew culture firsthand.

Long Beach Lodge Cottages

Named Tofino's top resort by Condé Nast Traveler and the only one in Tofino with its own surf club, Long Beach Lodge offers luxurious private cottages just steps from Cox Bay, one of the region's best beaches. Long Beach Lodge Rainforest Cottages are a great option for travellers who want the freedom and privacy of a self-contained cottage while still enjoying resort services and amenities.

Beacon Inn

A five-minute drive from the Victoria Airport and right in the heart of the seaside town of Sidney, the Beacon Inn—the area's only Canada Select five-star accommodation—is the perfect place to stay on your way in and out of the island. Cookie-cutter airport hotels seem like the fast food of accommodations when compared with this Edwardian-inspired, eco-friendly inn that serves complimentary afternoon sherry and two-course gourmet breakfasts!

Heron House

Nestled among soaring old growth trees, this Zen-influenced designer home is a short bike ride away from Tofino's best beaches and the Pacific Rim National Park. With stained glass windows, an antique cast-iron soaking tub and outside firepit, Heron House is full of rustic charm.

Sea View Beach House

Located right on the ocean, the Sea View Beach House is a 2,100-square-foot vacation rental with sweeping views of Departure Bay and the Coast Mountains. Nanaimo is located in the centre of the island, making it a great mid-way point when venturing from Tofino to the Cowichan, or vice versa.
That is only a taste of what's available on the island. Check out more hotspots and vacation rentals here!

MARA SOFFERIN

Mara Sofferin is the leading lady behind CottageCountry.com, one of Canada's top travel websites. Born in LA and raised in New York, Mara has lived around the world from Kenya to the Caribbean and travelled to over 30 countries. However, after years on the move, it's Canada, with its unrivalled cultural and geographic diversity, that has stolen her heart. Her mission: to discover the country's best-kept travel secrets and connect Canadians from coast to coast with authentic adventures and off-the-beaten path escapades in their own backyard.

This article originally appeared here