When you pull into the parking lot at the Inn on Long Lake, it looks like an ordinary three-story roadside motel. Go around to the back of the property, though, and you’ll find the main reason to stay at this Nanaimo, British Columbia, lodging: the beautiful lakeside setting.
Here’s the scoop:
The city of Nanaimo is located on the east coast of Vancouver Island, 90 minutes by ferry, or a quick hop by float plane, from Vancouver.
Less than 15 minute’s drive from the city center, or about 10 minutes from the Departure Bay ferry terminal, where the ferry from Vancouver docks, the Inn on Long Lake sits directly on the shores of the lake that gives the property its name — a lake that extends for nearly a mile.
Facilities and Services
The property feels like a mini-resort, with picnic tables and a walking path along the lake and BBQ grills for guests’ use. To get out on the water, you can rent a kayak, pedal boat, or stand-up paddleboard.
Indoors, there’s a small fitness room with a treadmill, exercise bike, and Universal gym, plus a sauna and hot tub. There’s a handy guest laundry room on the first floor, too.
Guest Rooms and Amenities
The guest rooms have been updated with white linens and colorful accents. They all have terraces or patios with lake views.
The standard rooms have two queen-sized beds, while the “business class” units have one king bed. All include a mini kitchenette, with a microwave, small refrigerator, and one-cup coffeemaker.
The larger “studio kitchenettes,” with two queen beds, have a two-burner cooktop as well, and are stocked with dishes, pots and pans, and cooking utensils.
Nanaimo’s historic downtown core is built around the pretty waterfront. The city, which now has a population of about 90,000, is the third oldest city in British Columbia. Stop into the well-designed Nanaimo Museum to explore the city’s history.
Be sure to sample Nanaimo’s signature sweet while you’re in town: the Nanaimo bar. You can find Nanaimo bars — which have a base of cocoa, coconut, and graham cracker crumbs, a custard filling, and a dark chocolate top — at bakeries all over the city. Follow the Nanaimo Bar Trail if you really want to indulge.
Nanaimo Harbor is a jumping-off point for various water adventures, including sailing tours with Island Marine Adventures, which can take you around the harbor and out to nearby islands, including Saysutshun, also known as the Newcastle Island Marine Provincial Park, which was a traditional home of the region’s indigenous people.
But if you stay at the Inn on Long Lake, you don’t have to go far to experience the water. Just step out onto your terrace, or wander down to the lake.
Hotel feature by Vancouver-based travel, food, and feature writer Carolyn B. Heller. Photos © Carolyn B. Heller. The Inn on Long Lake, in partnership with Tourism Nanaimo, arranged my stay for review purposes.