Take two National Hockey League players, a property developer, and a 1970s motel on a spectacular stretch of west coast waterfront, and what do you get? The Tofino Resort & Marina, a 62-room boutique lodging, with a restaurant, pub, and outdoor adventure center in the funky Vancouver Island getaway community of Tofino.
Here’s the scoop:
Willie Mitchell, who retired from the NHL after stints with the Vancouver Canucks, LA Kings, and Florida Panthers, partnered with former Canuck and current Dallas Stars player Dan Hamhuis and property developer Andrew Purdey to purchase and completely overhaul a former Tofino motel, on the water just outside the town center. The hotel reopened in July 2017.
Guest Rooms and Amenities
The simple yet comfortable guest rooms, in two three-story motel blocks that were renovated down to the studs, range from small queen-bed units with no view, to family-friendly one-bedroom suites with separate sitting rooms equipped with a sleep sofa and their own TV, plus balconies looking out across the marina. In between are standard rooms with one king or two queen beds, dark wood furnishings, and cool rainforest-inspired wall murals.
All rooms come with flat-screen TVs, coffeemakers, tea kettles, and small fridges; microwaves are available on request. Rates include Wi-Fi.
This isn’t a super-luxury property — even the top-floor view rooms partially overlook the parking area — but it’s a well-designed base for island adventures. And when you look beyond the parking lot, the views of the water and nearby islands are pretty dramatic.
Food and Drink
Tofino Resort and Marina has two waterside restaurants. The casual Hatch Waterfront Pub, with an outdoor patio, serves wood-fired pizzas, fish ‘n’ chips, and updated pub fare, staying open till the wee hours.
Emphasizing local produce and seafood, the more upscale 1909 Kitchen (named for the year that the town’s first post office opened) starts with a window-lined dining space overlooking the marina and the waterfront.
At 1909, chef Paul Moran’s inventive sharing plates might include albacore tuna “tacos,” with radish paper standing in for the tortillas; a spring asparagus salad with romaine lettuce, shaved Parmesan, and almonds; or black rice with savory-sweet house-candied salmon topped with a softly quivering egg. It’s worth grazing your way through the menu, even if you’re not staying at the property.
The resort’s marinaside Adventure Centre offers a range of outdoor experiences, including small-group whale-watching, bear watching, and fishing trips; the hotel’s boats accommodate a maximum of 12 people per trip. They also run boat tours to the natural mineral pools at Hot Springs Cove and water taxis to hiking trails on nearby offshore islands.
Adventure Centre staff can arrange kayak excursions, stand-up paddle boarding or surfing lessons, bike rentals, and other activities. If you’re looking for something less active, they can shuttle you to one of the nearby beaches.
Tofino offers plenty of outdoor adventures, and based at the comfortable Tofino Resort and Marina, you’ll never lack for things to do.
Hotel feature by Vancouver-based travel, food, and feature writer Carolyn B. Heller. Photos © Carolyn B. Heller. Tofino Resort and Marina, along with Tourism Tofino and Tourism Vancouver Island, arranged my stay for review purposes.