Travel Journal: British Columbia: Whistler, Sonora Island Vancouver
Ely & Ted Thurmond
In Whistler, we loved the Four Seasons Whistler. It is a beautiful mountain lodge located about a 10-minute walk from the main village. It offers a great spa, incredible views of the mountains and an attentive staff. On Sonora Island, the Sonora Resort Canada is incredible. It is an all-inclusive luxury wilderness resort with an amazing staff that meets you as you arrive by helicopter. The food is delicious and creative, drawing on local specialties. The resort offers an array of adventures along with a spa and mineral pools, or you can relax in your room and use the supplied binoculars to watch the bald eagles, harbor seals and sea lions outside. In Vancouver, we enjoyed the Rosewood Hotel Georgia. Although the Hotel Georgia has just recently completed a remodel and a rebranding by Rosewood hotels, it tips its hat to tradition by maintaining its original brick façade while adding all of the modern amenities a guest could ask for in an upscale hotel. For excursion planning, there is an adept concierge team. And, Hawksworth, the restaurant located on the hotel’s first floor, was voted the best restaurant in Vancouver last year.
The Rimrock Café in Whistler has been serving artfully prepared cuisine for 25-plus years and is the locals’ favorite because of its consistently superior fish and game. Chef Rolf Gunther, who is also the owner, is always in the kitchen ensuring that diners receive top quality fare.
The Sonora Resort on Sonora Island is all-inclusive, serving guests breakfast, lunch and dinner. Seasonal ingredients are always being added to the every-changing menu, and the chef offers a nightly tasting menu as well. And you enjoy your meals along with incredible views. As you eat, the seals play in the water just off the dock, while bald eagles fly by looking for a salmon snack.
Vij’s in Vancouver is an Indian restaurant with a dedicated following and a decorated chef. This eatery does not take reservations, but loyal patrons commonly wait several hours for a table. The wait time speeds by, however, with help from great cocktails and from servers who walk around passing out tasty appetizers.
Our Dungeness crab dinner at Sonora Resort was based on a special request and a highlight of our trip! And we cannot forget the Sonora Burger that required five hours of braising in short-rib au jus.
Fleece jacket, raincoat and “fat pants”
Sea Wall in Stanley Park
The drive from Vancouver to Whistler is breathtaking. Make time to stop along the way at Britannia Beach, Shannon Falls and Brandywine Falls. Travelers can also make the journey by train on the Rocky Mountaineer Sea to Sky Climb. We heard from locals that the train gives you a closer look of where the Tantalus Range of mountains meets the ocean.
Fly-fishing on the Phillips River while visiting Sonora Resort. It requires a 30-minute boat ride followed by a 20-minute hike through the rainforest with an occasional scream to scare off grizzly bears.
Sonora Resort is owned by the Louie family, which made its fortune from the IGA grocery chain and the Canadian-owned London Drugs chain located throughout western Canada. Since taking over the 25-acre resort eight years ago, it is believed that the Louies have invested more than $150 million in it, adding luxury accommodations and a fleet of 11 Grady-White fishing boats.
If you have more than a week, add a few additional destinations to your trip, including Tofino and Okanagan Wine Valley. Locals highly recommend staying at the Wickaninnish Inn in Tofino and the Guest House at Burrowing Owl Estate Winery in Okanagan.