This article is in addition to the information in A Dreamspeaker Cruising Guide Vol. 1
It had been a gruelling few months in the city and Laurence and I were in need of a three-day retreat before the next publishing deadline loomed. When we sailed to Pender Island and anchored our 36ft sloop Dreamspeaker in Bedwell Harbour, we both agreed that the lure of stunning Poets Cove Resort and Spa would bring us back for a relaxing ‘Spring break’. With our pampering package booked and flight tickets in hand, we hopped onto Harbour Air which has scheduled flights to Pender from downtown Vancouver, and arrived at the resorts marina dock in just twenty minutes – now all we had to do was relax and indulge.
On South Pender Island, in the Southern Gulf Islands, nestled between Vancouver on the mainland and Victoria on Vancouver Island a unique, $46-million waterfront development sits commandingly at the head of Bedwell Harbour. Tucked neatly between a sheer cliff-face to the west and the forests of Ainslie Point to the east, Poets Cove Resort and Spa, which opened in 2004, has been carefully designed to ensure that the lodge suites, restaurant, patio, terraced villas and cottages have a full view of the harbour and Beaumont Marine Park.
Poets Cove offers a blend of wilderness and style to ensure their guests ‘the ultimate in comfort, service and attention to detail”. With twenty-two rooms in the main three-story lodge, fifteen cottages and nine villas, visitors are spoilt for choice.
The main lodge is handsomely designed in the Arts and Crafts style using natural materials - a grand staircase links the three levels and the walls are hung with inspiring artwork.
The colourful cottages and villas follow equal standards of comfort and craftsmanship and have two or three bedrooms, two full bathrooms, fireplaces, en-suite laundry, full kitchens, BBQs and ocean-facing decks, each with a private hot tub. Spend the day reading and relaxing on the west-facing sun deck with a glass of something cool in hand or saunter over to the heated outdoor pool and fitness centre to work out at leisure.
Evenings can be spent dining at the elegant Aurora Restaurant and patio or the more casual Syrens Lounge – both serve the best in fresh, local West Coast cooking. For those reluctant to leave the comforts of home, order in a chef-prepared meal, fire up the BBQ, throw on the marinated prawns and salmon fillets and soak in the hot tub while a golden sun sets over the Gulf Islands.
With a soothing interior of soft sage and olive green, the resorts inviting Susurrus Spa offers six quiet, spacious treatment rooms and a hundred ways to be pampered. To make the most of your spa day, head down early, change into a cosy toweling robe, and unwind in the sandstone steam cave before slipping into the ocean view hot tub at the base of the resort’s creatively designed waterfall.
The spa’s professional therapists provide a full range of spa services to choose from and use only hand-made, organic products. Succumb to their specialty menu with a Pear and Green Apple or Chocolate Truffle Body Wrap – alternatively, sample the Jade Hot Stone or Couples Massage. For a fun surprise, treat your partner to a King for a Day package while you luxuriate in a calming Blueberry Bliss facial.
Although ‘The Penders’ might feel a million miles away from city life, getting to Poets Cove is straightforward. Charter a boat from Vancouver and Sidney or take a floatplane – there are also services from Vancouver, Victoria and Seattle.
BC Ferries has sailings from Tsawwassen (Vancouver) and Victoria, to Otter Cove on North Pender Island. If flying into Victoria International airport, the resort provides a daily thirty-minute Poets Cruise water taxi from Sidney to the resorts marina.
The resorts highly efficient and friendly marine staff takes care of the full-service marina which offers deep-water slips for vessels up to 30 meters. A designated Canada Customs slip is in the harbour and fuel, power and water are available on the docks. The marine store stocks ice, charts, cruising guides and some boat essentials - the marina complex comes complete with showers, laundromat facilities and a heated pool and hot tub and has been rated one of the top ten marinas in North America. For a start-of-the-day caffeine fix, visit the Gift Shop, Coffee Bar & Deli.
The resort offers two ingenious services for boaters – an inviting summertime dockside spa service which can be conducted on the beach or boat and includes a mini-pedicure, manicure and mobile massage. The second is a delicious chef-prepared Raw Menu and Provisions List which is packaged and delivered to your boat.
Après-relaxation and local sight seeing, visit Poets Cove Activities Centre which offers tennis and multi-sport courts, hiking, biking, golfing and marine adventures including Gulf Island Ocean Adventures, Salt Spring Saturday Market and Elegant Vineyard cruises.
While taking in the sights and sounds, be sure to drop into Pender’s Saturday Farmers Market and excellent local art galleries. A highlight during our three-day break was a wine tasting venture at the Morning Bay Vineyard and Estate Winery. The vineyard’s twenty terraces and five thousand grapevines climb sixty meters up the rocky south flank of Mount Menzies on North Pender Island, in the lee of the Olympic Peninsula and Vancouver Island where the hot, dry summers yield quality grapes. Their hand made estate wines certainly have a distinctive flavour – both reds and whites are light and refreshing and are creatively blended to pair with food.
To quote Poets Cove Resort and Spa from their web site “Whether you’re looking for relaxation, exhilaration or quiet contemplation, we invite you to discover it here, at Poets Cove." We definitely found all three. www.poetscove.com