Most brides and grooms dream of a honeymoon in some exotic destination (Hawaii? Mexico? Europe?) and would probably consider a honeymoon in Canada only as the "cheap" alternative, necessitated by their wedding budget... They are wrong!
There are some incredibly romantic spots in Canada - warm, secluded, pristine & beatiful.. and they offer the added conveniences of being in your home country:
So this month we've gone out to discover the best honeymoon locations in Canada. We begin with our picks of Vancouver Island's Top Honeymoon Locations, including two of my own "secret spots" - where I escape with my sqeeze on every available opportunity! I have been there many times and have had an excellent time, every time.
Sooke Harbour House - Lower Island / Sooke / Victoria
Nestled in the corner of scenic Sooke harbour, overlooking the Olympic mountains across the strait of Juan de Fuca, is the Sooke Harbour House. Minutes from Victoria and just a short drive from the airport and the ferry terminals, it is undoubtedly one of the most luxurious locations on Canada's West Coast.
Sooke House | Day time in the Gardens
All the rooms were designed for year-round comfort and charm. So no matter in what season you choose to honeymoon there is a huge range of attractions. The views are spectacular! On a clear day you can peer out at Olympic Mountains from the dining room and the Summer Pavilion has the most commanding panorama, the epitome of West Coast Dining... in style.
Sooke House | Panoramic view of the Pacific
The restaurant features the freshest of local seafood, meats and produce, much of which is grown in the gardens that surround the house. Take the guided tour through the garden and you'll become an organic expert in a few short hours. The menu changes on a daily basis to reflect the "food philosophy". The wine cellar, overseen by wine director Sinclair Philip, has been the recipient of the Wine Spectator Grand Award since 2000.
Sooke House | Low Tide at the Gardens
For the best experience we recommend the "Just because...I love you" or "Hideaway" packages. But be sure to make enquiries, the incredibly helpful Sooke Harbour House team will be able to accommodate for almost any taste.
Spring Place Vacation Home and Spa - Parksville, Vancouver Island
Sitting on 8 acres of private land, nestled in a forest glade by the Englishman river, Spring Place Vacation Home and Spa is a captivating honeymoon alternative.
Spring Place Spa | The Cottage, adjacent to the soothing river
The advantage of this retreat is that you get all the amenities of a big resort without those annoying other guests. This allows for a complete private honeymoon getaway just minutes from Parksville and Qualicum Beach on beautiful Vancouver Island and only a short drive from Nanaimo.
Spring Place Spa | The relaxing sunlit living room
Whether its complete peace for your entire honeymoon or an action packed experience this setting could not be more perfect. Like any major honeymoon destination Spring Place literally has everything you need at your finger tips. But also, this private estate ensures privacy. Whatever you decide to do, you'll be uninterrupted.
Spring Place Spa | There are several entrances, this leads to a foyer off the kitchen
Be sure to check out their seasonal events. These are updated every so often and are well worth thinking about before booking so as to experience the best of Spring Place. The Spring Place gardens and river are highly recommended.
Admiral Inn - Victoria
Right in the heart of downtown Victoria, next to the inner harbour is the Admiral Inn, a great place to lay the head after all those wedding stresses. Gorgeous harbour views, charming décor and inviting rooms (the Honeymoon suite is adorable).
Admiral Inn, Victoria
Travellers of all sorts come here. It's not a stereotypical spot by any means. Botanical buffs, golfers, cyclists or adventurers, whoever you are, you'll definitely find a sight or service that tickles your fancy. This is a great honeymoon venue and the perfect "home-base" for an outdoorsy couple wanting to explore Victoria and the West Coast, go sailing, hiking, fishing, whale-watching and even shopping!
Admiral Inn | Perfectly situated, in the heart of Victoria Harbour
And you're in the middle of it here. There's action going on all around. But the quiet and relaxed ambience makes the Admiral Inn a modest oasis in downtown Victoria.
Reef Point Cottages - Ucuelet / Tofino
Located in Ucluelet, next to Tofino, on the west coast of Vancouver Island, amidst ancient rainforests and the incredible Long Beach (Canada's surfers paradise) Reef Point Cottages is the perfect honeymoon escape.
Reef Pt Cottages | Ruggedly romantic, in the heart of the Pacific wilderness
This is actually where I escape, when I really need to "get away" :-). Ucluelet is a good three hour drive away from "civilisation" (or a short flight from Vancouver :-) The cottages themselves are very nice, secluded enough and very very comfortable. The rainforest hides the ocean vistas unfortunatelly, but the suroundings more than make up for it (and not being in "downtown Tofino" they are priced much better :-). The Tofino area is of course world-famous for its wilderness, Long Beach, whale watching and storm watching etc.
Tofino/Ucuelet | The incredible Long Beach, in Pacific Rim National Park
There are over a dozen different cottage styles and sizes available so you're sure to find something here that suits the size of your party and your budget. You'll find your favourite secluded hideaway amongst the beautiful pocket beaches in Pacific Rim National Park. While the Wild Pacific Trail is a must see for all visitors. Definitely a wilderness honeymoon experience.
Salt Spring Island Spa - Gulf Islands
My second personal favourite, Salt Spring Island Spa is our pick of all the Gulf Island retreats. It's a comfortable 3 hour ferry ride from Vancouver, or if you prefer, jump on a sea plane and experience the amazing views on the journey over. The Spa itself combines some gorgeous views with complete privacy; the cottages are warm, relaxing and comfortable.
Saltspring Island | Sunset at Vesuvius Bay
Salt Spring Island itself is amazing, friendly, peaceful and interesting; and let's not leave out the spa services! Here, the spa therapists and estheticians offer a variety of treatments to soothe, relax and revitalize your worn out wedding body. The Aromatherapy Hydro-jet Mineral Bath is our personal favourite. But try the Organic Salt Glow too!
Saltspring Island Spa | Treat yourself!
If you get a spare moment, be sure to peruse the famous Saturday market in town. Or relax together, with the couples massage. This side-by-side organic aromatherapy or sports massage is even better with that special someone. Perfect for any romantic getaway or honeymoon.
West Coast Wilderness Lodge - Sunshine Coast
Deep in the wilderness, but close to Vancouver (short & scenic ferry + short & scenic drive!), the West Coast Wilderness Lodge brings first-class adventure, fine dining and luxury accommodations to a laid-back Sunshine Coast honeymoon.
West Coast Wilderness Lodge | The world-famouse deck and vistas
The Lodge is the perfect spot for quiet intimacy, gourmet meals and breathtaking views of islands, inlets and forested mountains. The deck areas, our favourite feature, have long been used by the Canadian Tourism Commission in European advertising campaigns.
The float plane ride over the islands and coves of the majestic Sechelt Inlet is a spectacular service that is well worth consideration. You pass over the Skookumchuck Rapids, the fastest salt water rapids in North America, before landing at the Lodge's private dock to be greeted by a glass of champagne and smoked salmon appetizers. The WCWL team really do make you feel like the ruler of an empire.
West Coast Wilderness Lodge | Wine In the Wilderness
One of the Lodge's best features is Inlets Restaurant. This panoramic eatery combines European style cuisine with regional Canadian influence to create a signature gourmet experience. Some of the meals actually look so good you don't want to disturb them on your plate.
For the complete package, Paul and the team here can reserve the entire venue for your wedding. It is a rare pleasure that a ceremony, reception and honeymoon can all be taken care of in one stunning place. There are few locations that really warrant such an option, but the West Coast Wilderness Lodge is definitely our pick for a complete honeymoon escape.