The approach to Sonora Resort in British Columbia’s Discovery Islands archipelago is a far cry from a simple drive to a hotel lobby. To get to Sonora Island, one must either boat or fly in a helicopter or float plane past massive mountains topped with glaciers and over a slew of pristine islands harboring old-growth forests and rich marine parks.
Then, the resort comes into view: a gorgeously manicured property at the water’s edge, with 30 hot tubs, soaring bald eagles, a grand lodge and expansive restaurant patio, Adirondack chairs set in quiet nooks, and a dock lined with boats ready to whisk guests on daytrip adventures. Naturally, the welcome includes a glass of sparkling wine.
Sonora Resort provides the ideal meeting of wilderness and luxury. The opportunities for spotting wildlife are numerous; bears, eagles, seals, whales and sea lions are all close at hand, but so are the opportunities for relaxation and indulgence. Visitors can indulge in a multicourse meal with wine pairings after a day of hiking or fishing or cap a day of kayaking with a massage at the spa.
Sonora’s sleeping options spread among rooms, suites and villas. Many have incredible views through floor-to-ceiling windows, perfect for enjoying the resort’s private label wine, gratis in every room. All visitors have access to the resort’s impressive collection of amenities, including an outdoor heated pool, rooftop hot tubs, mineral pools, movie theater, tennis and basketball courts, nine-hole putting green, hiking and biking trails, virtual golf, saunas, shuffleboard and Xbox games.
The resort contains 12 lodges, which sounds like a lot, but there’s an ever-present sense of calm. Guests can easily spread out, and at times it feels like you have the entire island to yourself. It’s not uncommon to find yourself all alone with a view, which adds to the air of exclusivity.
Additional excursions are also available to help guests customize the experience. The opportunities are staggering. Eco-adventure tours zip passengers around in a Zodiac boat on the lookout for wildlife. Grizzly bear tours, fly fishing, ocean kayaking through a sea life-rich marine preserve, helicopter glacier tours, river rafting and standup paddle boarding await guests.
Then again, you might choose to simply relax, and Sonora boasts numerous opportunities for that, too. Sit at a waterside patio with a book and a beverage, watching the seals and the eagles. Enjoy the view from a rooftop hot tub or visit the Island Currents Spa, where treatments include massages, hydrotherapy and body and skin treatments. Whether you are getting a treatment or not, all guests have access to the outdoor mineral pools, which range in temperature from frigid to hot and are designed for restorative plunging.
The entire experience is complemented beautifully by the food coming out of the on-site kitchen, overseen by chef Lucas Gurtner and served in the Tyee Dining Room. Gurtner’s menu melds modern techniques with local ingredients, all homages to the land and sea surrounding the resort. Gurtner might use wild-harvested morels alongside greens and herbs grown in the resort’s garden. Or he might feature just-caught spot prawns and raw oysters, Dungeness crab and squid. Gurtner’s passion for the place shines in his edible works of art, paired expertly with British Columbia’s wines and served, naturally, with a view of the sunset and changing tides.
British Columbia V0P 1V0, Canada
tel 604 233 0460
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