Virtuoso Traveler 2019 June British Columbia, Canada: City Hotel or Island Retreat?

British Columbia, Canada: City Hotel or Island Retreat?

Kayaking on Vancouver’s False Creek.
Kayaking on Vancouver’s False Creek.
Photo by Leonu/Getty Images
Canada’s westernmost province deals in urban adventure and wilderness retreats.

Let’s call it like it is: British Columbia is a crowd-pleaser. The Canadian province draws travelers to its ten mountain ranges, temperate rain forest, thousands of lakes, and the unspoiled islands dotting its rugged Pacific coast. Throw in a vibrant First Nations culture, a booming wine region, and the multicultural metropolis of Vancouver – ranked by global human-resources consulting firm Mercer as the city with the third-highest quality of living in 2019 – and it’s hard not to see the appeal.

Vancouverites such as Virtuoso travel advisor Ginger Blum are fiercely loyal to their urban gem, whose natural beauty is complemented by thriving art, music, and culinary scenes. “I’ve met people all over the world who tell me this is their favorite city,” Blum says. But for travelers who prefer fly-fishing and campfires over rooftop cocktail bars, a 50-minute helicopter or seaplane transfer takes them to Sonora Island, which, for all its peace and quiet, hums with wildlife. “The overpowering scenery there really makes you realize how grand nature is,” she says.

Rosewood Hotel Georgia. 
Rosewood Hotel Georgia. 

British Columbia Option No. 1: The City

After days spent biking through Stanley Park, shopping in Gastown, and ferrying over to Granville Island, retreat to downtown Vancouver’s 156-room Rosewood Hotel Georgia. Blum sends travelers to the hotel’s lobby – which displays one of the largest private collections of contemporary Canadian art – and to Reflections, its rooftop garden terrace, which she calls “Vancouver’s summer hot spot for outdoor tapas and cocktails.” Virtuoso travelers receive breakfast daily and a $100 hotel credit.

Sonora Resort. 
Sonora Resort. 

British Columbia Option No. 1: The Islands

Northwest of Vancouver in the Discovery Islands, the all-inclusive, 88-room Sonora Resort keeps guests immersed in the area’s stunning natural surroundings: Fish in glacier-fed rivers teeming with salmon, hike amid old-growth cedars, or head out on an ocean safari to spot humpbacks, for starters. After all that adventure, relax in the mineral pools at the Island Currents Spa. Blum’s advice: Be sure to book early. Virtuoso travelers receive breakfast daily and a watercraft ecotour.

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