Vancouver Island; North Coast; Central Coast

Unique Stays

From spherical tree houses to urban ping-pong parlours, these four accommodation options offer West Coast experiences you won’t forget.

by Joanne Sasvari

Photo by Kerry Maguire

Free Spirit Spheres

Qualicum Bay

Imagine sleeping in a cocooning orb, gently swaying in a forest canopy. Now meet Eve, Eryn, Melody, Luna and Gwynn, five spherical tree houses created and managed by Vancouver Island craftsman Tom Chudleigh.

Each sphere is slightly different, but all have beautifully handcrafted interiors and windows that look out across the towering forest. They are suspended by a sturdy rigging system and accessible by walkways and stairs, making this as close to a treetop nest as you can possibly get.

Hotel Zed


As you drive into Victoria, you can’t help but notice the vivid purple, tangerine, lime and turquoise hues of the retro-inspired Hotel Zed. Looks like fun, you might think to yourself — and you’d be right.

In 2014, Accent Inns’ CEO Mandy Farmer decided to update one of their older motels in mid-20th-century modern style, with bright colours, rotary phones and a VW bus named Doris. What she created was not just a place to sleep: during your stay, you can play in the ping-pong lounge, enjoy brunch in The Ruby restaurant, slip down the “Zedinator” water slide or even stay in a retrofitted Airstream trailer.

Farewell Harbour Lodge

Berry Island

Photo courtesy Farewell Harbour Lodge

“A wildlife wonderland.” That’s how Tim McGrady describes Farewell Harbour Lodge. As managing partner of the property, he never gets tired of his surroundings.

“We’re right in the heart of the Broughton Archipelago, the largest marine park in BC,” he says. “We have marine mammals on our front doorstep and grizzlies on our back doorstep.”

Located near the northern tip of Vancouver Island, the 12-room lodge is an all-inclusive destination known for exceptional whale-watching, bear viewing and culture tours. With dramatic nature all around, you don’t even need to leave your cozy, rustic-elegant room to view the wildlife. “We don’t pretend to be five-star,” McGrady says, “but we’re very comfortable.”

Haida House at Tllaal

Haida Gwaii

Photo courtesy

It’s a long way to the remote archipelago of Haida Gwaii. But once there, you’ll be awed by this magical place. “There is something different about Haida Gwaii,” says Joelle Rabu, general manager of Haida House. “I really believe it’s the thousands of years of a culture that is having a resurgence.”

One of the best places to discover that culture is at Haida House at Tllaal, located halfway between Masset and Skidegate. The 10-bedroom inn is completely Haida-owned; Haida operate its cultural tours and excursions and work in the restaurant, which is considered one of the best in the area. Plus, each room in the inn is filled with evocative Haida artwork.

“It’s all completely authentic,” Rabu says. “It’s what makes Haida House so endearing; visitors feel like they’re in someone’s home.”