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Serenity Now! 3 Tranquil & Romantic Weekend Getaways to Escape the Vancouver Grind

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Living in Vancouver has a lot of benefits: Beautiful scenery, a plethora of outdoor activities, a vibrant music and cultural scene, fabulous restaurants...the list goes on. Sometimes though, you just want to escape the buzz of city life for a more relaxing atmosphere.

With this in mind, we have combed through the waterfront hotels, resorts & cabins on Simply Beachfront and found three tranquil retreats which are not too far from the city to make a quick (and even romantic) weekend escape.

Even better, we have organized some special deals at these places for you to enjoy!

So, the next time you want to trade in the noise and congestion of Vancouver traffic for a weekend of peaceful relaxation on a beautiful beach, with the sound of waves gently lapping on the shore, check out these places.



1. The Tuwanek Hotel - Sunshine Coast

        A Romantic, Luxurious, 5-Star Boutique B&B with a Vintage Vibe 


Featuring classic craftsman design, a wide-wraparound oceanfront deck and fragrant English style gardens, this luxurious oceanfront destination, located on a historic property on the Sunshine Coast, evokes the nostalgia associated with a stately inn from days gone by. 


The Tuwanek's craftsman design & classic movie themed suites are reminiscent of a simpler time, but inside, you will find cutting edge technology.


Staying true to this historic theme, owners Chris & Krista Cutlan have created 3 spacious celebrity-styled waterfront suites reminiscent of the old classic movies (think Casablanca and you get the idea). The suites feature romantic canopied beds, fireplaces and claw foot tubs with private verandas that are picture perfect for soaking up the serene setting and ocean views. For those who prefer a cabin, The Tuwanek also has 4 self-contained cottages (2 waterfront), each with a private hot tub.

While the suites in The Tuwanek are vintage inspired, the list of state-of-the-art amenities make the accommodations far from old-fashioned. Along with complimentary in-room WI-FI, you also get a variety of innovative high-tech gadgets:


  • Netflix.
  • Apple TV.
  • IPads.
  • Special Hue mood lighting,
  • Amazon Echo guest concierge ("like Siri on steroids").


Of course , you will be served a hot, two-course breakfast served at your leisure, but the Tuwanek also offer perks like a Club Room, an on-site Day Spa and a mini movie theatre, which you can book to watch the movie of your choice in privacy.


waterfront vacation quite - african queen at the TuwaneK Hotel

The African Queen Suite features roamtic canopied bed, claw foot tub and kitchenette.


The list of amenities, in fact, is so endless, that you almost get the feeling that Chris and Krista have taken and implemented feedback from each of their guests. Indeed, their motto is “come as guests… return as friends,”  and their website states "This facility offers something for everyone, but be forewarned! Come prepared to fall in love with the area… many repetitive guests have actually become neighbours!"

Activities in Sechelt include sea kayaking and lesson tours, hiking, bird watching, golfing, diving and even snowshoeing in winter. You can also explore the nearby Skookumchuck Narrows or take a float plane or boat tour of Princess Louisa Inlet.



Board the ferry in Horseshoe Bay and take the 40-minute ferry to Langdale (Gibsons). Your scenery on the ride includes fir and cedar treed islands against a backdrop of coastal mountains. After docking, it's a short drive (26km) on Highway 101 to the town of Sechelt & just a bit further to get to The Tuwanek (about 30 mins from the ferry in total).

You can leave after work on a Friday and arrive around 7PM, or make a day of the journey, stopping along the way at the many scenic beaches and having lunch at one of Sechelt's cafes, coffee houses or pubs. 



Chris and Krista are offering a $25 fine dining gift certificate at the Blue Heron Inn (10 minutes from the hotel) for members of Simply Beachfront (you can join FREE here) who book a 2-night stay.

BONUS: This offer is valid even for Summer bookings! See the deal and sign-up here.

And now for something completely different...


2. Elfinlau Paradise Resort - Harrison Lake

     An Off-The-Grid, Back to Nature Rustic Mystic Retreat 


A short 100km drive East of Vancouver, the little town of Harrison Hot Springs is a popular weekend getaway for Vancouverites. With it's spectacular scenery and lakeside location, it feels like you are far from the city.

While there are several hotels located in the village of Harrison, you can have an altogether different experience at the secluded, water-access only Elfinlau Paradise Resort, located on Echo Island -  a 2600 acre uncharted island with 2 small lakes. Echo Island is located at the beginning of 65km long Harrison Lake, the biggest lake in all of Canada that does not freeze over.


Open year-round, this eco-friendly, completely off-the-grid and almost 100% carbon neutral lakefront resort features 2 cabins & 1 cottage (all self-contained), a yoga studio (aptly called the Vortex) & a cozy original Finnish wood burning sauna for cleansing & rejuvenation. 


Creators and owners of Elfinlau, Ray & Marcella, love sharing their magical, peaceful and purple-tinted piece of heaven with guests from all over the world.

The experience begins when Ray picks you up from Harrison for a 4km boat ride in The Flying Mermaid. Once there, Marcella offers jewellery making classes, massage and Reiki in the Vortex. Outdoor activities offered at the resort include kayaking, chartered fishing (salmon & sturgeon) and hiking. You can bring your own food and use the kitchenettes provided to cook up your own meals. The cabins also include patios & barbecues for outdoor feasts.

massage at elfinlau waterfront cottages harrison lake

 Marcella offers Reiki and massage treatments in the Vortex.


Living in harmony with the Earth, the resort is partially powered by solar power and features other eco-friendly utilities that have been carefully chosen to limit the footprint on the environment.


Based on the rave reviews we have seen on Trip Advisor, it seems this resort is a place people want to keep a secret so that they can have it for themselves, but now the "cat is out of the bag" so to speak.


Your own cozy fireplace in the Dragonfly Cabin.



Elfinlau is located on Harrison Lake. In order to get there from Vancouver, take Highway 1 (Trans-Canada Hwy) East from Vancouver, pass Chilliwck and then take Exit 135 to Harrision Hot Springs. Of course, you must call ahead to book and to arrange for Ray to pick you up from the marina. They also offer pick up from Chilliwack Greyhound Bus station (3pl.max).



Ray & Marcella are graciously offering members of our Beach Club a special solar powered light to take home as a memento of their stay. 


3. The Galiano Island Inn & Spa 

       A Tranquil, Gulf Island Oceanfront Spa Escape with "Location, Location, Location"


Located on a quiet, low bank oceanfront bay, The Galiano Oceanfront Inn & Spa has been a special destination for travellers since the beginning of the century. The originally constructed tudor style building was built by an English seaman and his wife in the 1930s. They invited guests to stay and called the resort "Greenways."

When the original structure burnt down in the 1950s, the owners at the time built a new home & popular "motor court," which they operated for many years. During that time, the resort was known as one of the foremost salmon fishing resorts in the area. In 2000, the resort was purchased by new owners who began the transformation which led it to it's current glorious state.


oceanfront Inn gulf islands galiano

The Inn (originally called Greenways) as it was first built circa 1930, contrasted with the Inn as it stands today.


Today, the Galiano Oceanfront Inn & Spa is much more luxurious than its original incarnation, featuring self-contained suites and villas with deluxe amenities, a full-service spa (of course), and an intimate restaurant. All of the suites are oceanfront and they all have fireplaces, so you can curl up and get cozy with a book and some hot tea on cold winter days. The resort also features a yoga room, a casual pizza bistro and extensive landscaped gardens. 

galiano inn oceanfront room

View from the patio of one of the suites at the Galiano Inn & Spa. 


Besides being a fabulous and relaxing place to stay, the other major bonus of this Inn as a weekend getaway from Vancouver is its location. Galiano Island is only a roughly 1 hour ferry ride from Tsawassen and there are several non-stop route options. An added bonus is that the Inn is only a four-minute walk from the Galiano ferry terminal.

This location gives it three major advantages for those looking to get away to the Gulf Islands for a weekend vacation:


  • Short travel time from the Mainland.
  • No car necessary.
  • Great destination resort for boaters (new dock out front for summer moorage).


Inn owner, Connie Nordine, says that the Inn serves as a sort of concierge for island activities, with many tour operators picking up and dropping off guests regularly. Activities on Galiano include hiking, biking, kayaking, golf, studio tours, scuba diving, tennis, sportfishing and eco and whale watching adventures. If you prefer to explore on your own, the Inn provides detailed maps for hiking and biking and even rents Smart Cars by the day!



Drive or bus to the Tsawassen Ferry Terminal. Take one of the sailings to Galiano (schedules below for your convenience), most of which are non-stop and roughly 1hr. You can also choose to leave your car behind and walk onto the ferry, saving both time and money.

Ferry Schedules:

Vancouver (Tsawwassen Terminal)  Departures.

Galiano Island (Sturdies Bay) Departures.



The Galiano Oceanfront Island Inn & Spa has generously offered a 3rd night free for members of our Beach Club who book two nights.

BONUS: As a special Beach Club member bonus and to make this a really great weekend getaway, this offer INCLUDES weekends! See the offer details and sign-up here.


So now that you have some options, the next time your desire to flee the city arises, try out one of these peaceful spots and let us know how your trip went in the comments. 

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Graduating Cum Laude from UBC in 1995 with an Honours Degree in Languages, Sharleen took her enthusiasm and zest for excellence into tourism and international education. After over ten years of a rewarding career in tourism, which included extensive travel in Western Europe and work in Madrid, Spain she found her true passion and life's work: creating exclusive niche websites focusing on waterfront and luxury real estate and tourism markets. “Every position I had in the workplace, from sales to management, prepared me perfectly for my own business, and creating a series of niche websites dedicated to the waterfront real estate and tourism markets was the natural evolution of Waterfront West."

As the founder and owner of Waterfront West, Sharleen's visionary leadership has taken Waterfront West to the pinnacle of luxury home marketing, dominating the internet for B.C. waterfront coverage. She has been interviewed by numerous newspapers, has appeared nationwide on CBC television and is often called by journalists looking for the latest trends in the waterfront market.  Today, Waterfront West is comprised of and Sharleen keeps up-to-date with trends in technology and marketing to ensure Waterfront West  Real Estate continues its well-earned success.

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