Tuesday, August 27, 2013

HEAVEN ON EARTH AT GALIANO INN

After a couple of days rushing about, I decided to take a down-day on Galiano. I enjoyed the morning in the spa with Pam pampering me with a full pedi and a wonderful facial. In the afternoon, I chose to take photos of Galiano Inn's property, our suite, and the VIEW!
The exterior of the spa,
overlooking the beach

The Madrona del Mar Spa is considered to be one of the best spas in Canada, without the astronomical prices, and its rooms look out over Active Pass. The Madrona (Arbutus) bit is the tree growing out from it... It is a serene spot with all a guest could wish for—treatments for couples and singles, mediterranean sea flotation baths, local ingredients, massages to die for, and bliss! I wobbled out after my session, so relaxed I could ooze under a door. The ocean just adds to the ambience a hundred fold. In the spa's garden is a hot tub for the guests' use, especially those staying in the hotel section.

The island runs on its own time, which is infinitely slower than that of cities. The inn is unhurried, quiet, and peaceful, though with impeccable service, and is tucked on the edge of Sturdies Bay with its own little sandy beach.
The inn's entrance

The owner, Connie, had met us at the sea plane dock in Montague Harbour and driven us back to the inn. We entered the inn through the wrought iron gates and arrived in heaven on earth, or at least that's what it felt like to me. Connie checked us into our one-bedroomed unit and we took stock of our home for the next five days.

The ten units looking out over the beach
We had a well-equipped kitchen, a good sized bedroom and living room, but the patio and the bathroom were stars! The patio is covered and has a wood-burning fireplace, an overhead heater, and an efficient, vented electric grill. Here too is a huge jacuzzi tub with a privacy screen, so you can soak while smelling the sea and hearing the ferries swish by blowing their sirens. It's quite intoxicating! (No pix of this feature are suitable for posting!!)

The shower in the main bathroom is big enough for three people and has more nozzles than a car wash! Being shortish, the bank of six under the main shower head hit me square in the face until I realized I could redirect the spray. To the left, is a little seat with an array of ten needle sprays for your back. These were so powerful they hurt, but my husband loved them. Now I'm home I want to renovate our ensuite and put in the same shower...!

















The view from the patio enchanted us. It changed constantly in the varying light and as the tide came in and out. On my first afternoon I watched the big ferries go by and the smaller ones dock right beside us. The super moon rose in front of us as we enjoyed our dinners every night.

Linking the units and the hotel rooms is the front desk, a fine-dining restaurant and a beach bar. Guests can have a hearty breakfast in the resto, lunch and a local ale in the beach bar (the pizzas are thin-crust Italian), and superb haute cuisine in the evening watching the sun go down over Sturdies Bay.

Behind the ocean frontage and the buildings are delightful gardens, including a pond and waterfall. Benches are scattered around and I saw many guests quietly sitting enjoying the plants and tranquillity. Most of the plants have been chosen for their suitability for a dry climate and many are indigenous. There's a yoga studio that looks out on the gardens too.

Galiano Inn at low tide from the seaward side showing the units on left and hotel rooms on right
The most enticing attraction for guests who arrive without a vehicle is the inn's fleet of Mercedes-Benz SmartCars. We rented one almost every day and happily tootled around the island (more about roaming the island in the next post). They are perfect for the narrow country lanes and limited parking. I loved driving one. No good for families though...

TIPS: If you like to cook, take your own knives and a roll of paper towel; buy local produce at the farmers' market on Saturdays and at Cable Bay Farm on Tuesdays at Retreat Cove, otherwise shop at Daystar and enjoy a coffee with them.

All images: © Photos by Pharos 2013. All rights reserved.