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Hidden Cove Lodge, Vancouver Island, Canada

Our rating: Simple

Twenty years ago Dan and Sandra pitched their tent in Hidden Cove and over the next three years hand-built Hidden Cove Lodge. This big beam construction lodge is their lifelong home and can be reached by water or a graded/unsealed three kilometre track through the forest. The property is set in a stunning wilderness environment where great cedars overlook the idyllic tidal inlet. Wildlife is prolific and you are likely to have encounters on a daily basis with black bears, otters, deer and eagles. The high, timber-roofed dining room and lounge provide sweeping 150 degree views as well as some of the best food in northern Vancouver Island, should you choose to have dinner at the lodge.

First Nations art and carvings cover walls as gifts from local people. The lodge has eight, simple, but comfortably appointed, en suite double/twin bedrooms. Dan and Sandra use wind and solar power to try and ensure a carbon neutral approach, so the power is sometimes turned off between 23.00 and 06.00 (though torches are provided). Vancouver Island actually struggles for water supplies in the summer months, so guests are asked to take showers rather than baths if possible. Grizzly bear and orca watching trips can often be arranged to pick up from the pontoon and the property is ideally located to visit First Nations attractions in Alert Bay. Please note, internet connections, television or hair dryers are not provided.

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