This Canadian Resort Can Only be Reached by Air or Sea & Was Once a Logging Camp

Photos Credit: Sonora Resort

After a helicopter ride north from Vancouver, about 45 minutes of over the Discovery Islands, a dozen of us set down at the Sonora Resort on a recent trip. This is the only way it can be reached, via air or boat. No roads mar the pristine beauty of the deep red cedar, fir, pine and spruce forests here. How ironic, to be spoiled rotten in one of the most unspoiled places on earth.

sonora resort

Upon arrival at the archipelago of the 64-square-mile island, guests are whisked into the main lodge of the Relais & Châteaux facility and offered a drink from the bar. Once a logging camp, Sonora Resort is now 12 cedar and stone lodges with gigantic guest rooms featuring fireplaces, enormous beds, decks with hot tubs and windows that look out on the waters of Innes Pass. Each room has a pair of binoculars available to watch deer walk around below, seals frolic in the water or bald eagles soar overhead.

sonora resort

It’s also the first guest room we’ve enjoyed in which telephone calls to anywhere in the world are free. But who wants to be on the phone when there is so much to do here, between the fishing, bear tours, hiking, indoor tennis, golf driving range, putting green, mineral pools at the spa and conservatory? Sonora went from logging camp to fishing camp, but “camp” is no longer the right word for this luxurious haven in the wilderness. There is nothing rustic about it.

sonora resort

However, fishing still very much remains an important part of the Sonora experience. Before watching a pod of white-sided Pacific dolphins frolic in the wake of our boat, my son caught a 10-pound Chinook salmon in one of five Grady White boats equipped for trolling and bringing them in. In the evening, Chef Terry Pichor, a master at such delicacies as Octopus Bolognese and cucumber sorbet with gin foam, made it into an entrée and surrounded the delicate pink fish with baby vegetables. Another guest caught a 30-pound Chinook, and when she arrived at the dock where the fish are immediately weighed, cleaned and filleted, the staff brought her a bottle of chilled Champagne to celebrate.

sonora resort

If fishing isn’t your cup of tea, there are plenty of other activities to enjoy including archery lessons, whitewater rafting, cooking classes, grizzly bear tours and a game room for teens. We took an eco-adventure tour in an inflatable boat over the rapids of Eagle Sound to see the scores of bald eagles, black bears and sea lions. Inlet Headphones allowed us to hear whale songs and other underwater sounds as we whisked past the lodge owned by actress Michelle Pfeiffer.

sonora resort

Sonora has two private executive villas, each with five bedrooms including nanny and butler facilities, soaring two-story high windows and hot tubs in each room. One of them, Sea Lion Pointe, is filled with privately-owned First Nation and British Columbian art and comes with four Subaru Foresters just for maneuvering around the few roads of the island. These villas rent for between $10,000 and $11,000 per day.

sonora resort

There is so much to do around the resort, and yet many guests write in the log book that it was the most relaxing vacation they’ve experienced. That’s probably because part of what you do here within this scenic destination (much of which is protected by the Canadian government from further development), is just sit, gaze and reflect on this magical setting. All-inclusive room and suite packages range from $680 to $4,240 per night. 

Julie Hatfield

Julie Hatfield, former Boston Globe fashion editor and society editor, is now freelance travel writer for the Boston Globe, Hemispheres Magazine of United Airlines, USA Today Food & Wine, Denver Post, numerous newspapers around the country including the (San Francisco) Bay Area News Group, national travel magazines and travel websites such as and LiteraryTraveler. She is the ...(Read More)

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