“Location is everything” is a mantra of real estate, presumably related to the maxim coined by British real estate developer Harold Samuel: “There are three things that matter in property: location, location, location.” Set on 41 marvelous acres along Cox Bay in Tofino, Pacific Sands Beach Resort is fixed in a prime location. Quite frankly, this could be one of the most hauntingly spectacular settings on earth.
Tofino is, for Canada, the end of the line—all roads come to a dead-end here at the far west of the West Coast. This hippie-surfer town on the edge of Vancouver Island is enveloped by Clayoquot Sound (a UNESCO biosphere reserve), the 150,000-acre Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, and some of North America’s best surfing spots. All around are tree-carpeted mountains with eagles flying overhead, cathedral-like valleys filled with 1,000-year-old trees, and water as far as the eye can see. Beyond the world-class surfing (winter swells can measure over 10 metres), there’s kayaking, whale watching, fishing, boating, hiking, bathing in natural hot springs, and storm watching—all of which makes Tofino a particular kind of wonderland.
“There’s an intensity to Tofino,” says Stephen Peters, resort director for Pacific Sands Beach Resort. “It’s up to you whether you take part in it or just view it.” And one gets exactly what he means when, at the edge of the world, you are surrounded by verdant green rain forests, raw ocean, and a peaceful inlet. Peters is a Brit who transplanted himself to Tofino five years ago and oversees the governance of the resort. From the 17 rustic cabins the property started with in the 1970s, Pacific Sands has grown into a 77-unit retreat, of accommodation types ranging from studios, one- and two-bedroom suites, and two- to three-bedroom beach houses with fully-equipped kitchens, fireplaces, and private decks.
“We provide a roof on a nice beach,” says Peters, “it’s what happens that makes it memorable.” And it is truly special to spend languid days at your beach house, on the deck, or staring out of the floor-to-ceiling windows and, as one must when in Tofino, keep the windows ajar at all times, and listen to the sounds of Nature. With towering trees on one side and the crashing Pacific on the other, Pacific Sands Beach Resort is in between the two, where scores of beach walkers and surfers commingle.
There is no on-site dining at Pacific Sands, but call ahead and have your fridge stocked with the basics so upon arrival you truly feel at home. West of Beach House 41 is the trail to Pettinger Point. Venture into the woods and walk the forest boardwalk where, after 10 minutes or so, the trail will open up into a grassy area to reveal a lookout towards Cox Bay, Rosie Bay, and Chesterman Beach where you will witness a sunset like no other.
“This is a special part of Canada,” says Peters. “When you have a chance to ingest it, it’s truly unique.”