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Canada West (Alberta, Rocky Mountains, British Columbia)

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Central reservation office (United States)

1 800 735 2478

Indicate the code : MC DIARMID

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Official partner of the Routes du Bonheur

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the Routes
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Charles McDiarmid
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Owner of the Wickaninnish Inn
My Route du Bonheur, from Lake Louise to the Pacific

In his home town of Tofino, Charles McDiarmid built one of the most beautiful hotels on the Pacific coast. A fan of hiking and surfing, he is intimately acquainted with western Canada, from the Rockies to Vancouver Island.

It was in 1955 that my father, a brilliant doctor, moved to Tofino. At that time there was no road here. Fifteen years later, he was one of the figures who would help to establish the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. I spent the first thirteen years of my life in Tofino as a sort of Tom Sawyer. I even had my own boat! Later I went to study at Cornell University. Working with Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts for 13 years provided the opportunity to travel, work and develop my skills as a hotelier in Calgary, Washington DC, Dallas, Newport Beach, and Seattle. I slowly made my way back to this land that I love to open a hotel with my family, a lifelong dream.

Relais & Châteaux proposes its Routes du Bonheur for your inspiration: they are suggestions of itineraries that you can adapt to your preferences and desired experiences. Our advisors are at your disposal to individualise your routes and help you make reservations at our properties.
Example for a 10 nights stay from 2022 CAD*
* Minimum indicative rate per person, subject to availability, on the basis of a double room with double occupancy, including accommodation, breakfast and dinner (menu, without beverages) in the properties suggested for the itinerary.
Activities on site and nearby must be reserved by you.

My Route du Bonheur
Phase 1 : 2 days, 2 nights

Post Hotel & Spa

Skiing and hiking in the Rockies
Post Hotel & Spa
Owners of the Post Hotel & Spa for more than thirty-five years, brothers André and George Schwarz have created a wonderful atmosphere in this picturesque red-roofed building made of logs. This is my getaway spot in the Canadian Rockies. Located in the valley of Banff National Park, the hotel has moose and deer as its neighbors in winter. An exceptional place which includes a luxurious spa and an absolutely sublime wine cellar, with nearly 30,000 bottles.

Close to the property...

A hike to Two Tea house

I’ve walked this route above Lake Louise four or five times, on my own and with friends. The climb immerses you in nature, and the views are breathtaking. A true delight, and the final reward is a cup of tea served in a pretty wooden house. This building can be reached only on foot, horseback, or by helicopter. With each sip, you will feel privileged indeed.

Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies, Banff

This remarkable museum traces the history of the Canadian Rockies. Created in 1968 by a painter couple, Peter and Catharine Whyte, it simultaneously evokes the men who climbed the mountains and the artists who depicted them. The museum possesses a collection that is unique in Canada and puts on numerous temporary exhibitions.

Bears and a gondola ride

This is perhaps the best – and quickest – way to observe black and grizzly bears. A 14-minute gondola ride lets you discover these animals in their natural habitat. At the summit, at 2088 m, the view of the lake and surrounding mountains is breathtaking. On the mountain there is an interpretive center, and the possibility of following grizzly tracks accompanied by a seasoned guide.

We can advise you on booking your route. Contact central reservations :

1 800 735 2478

Indicate the code : MC DIARMID

Calling from another country ? Click here

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Phase 2 : 2 days, 2 nights

Wedgewood Hotel & Spa

An Oasis of excellence in the heart of a vibrant city
Wedgewood Hotel & Spa
Founded by Eleni Skalbania, this magnificent hotel enjoys an ideal location in the heart of Vancouver. Located in Robson Square, it is the perfect base for exploring the city. Today, the hotel is managed by her daughter Elpie and sister Joanna. It offers a unique mixture of old-world elegance and the energy and relaxed attitude of Vancouver.

Close to the property...

Granville Island Public Market, Vancouver

Situated opposite False Creek Bay, this covered market attracts a large section of Vancouver’s inhabitants on weekends. The maple syrup, cold cuts, cheeses and fish all come from the area around the city. Taste the delicious Sockeye salmon – my son works in the market as a fishmonger. And, after you’ve shopped, sit yourself down to an improvised picnic with a view of the skyline.

Biking along the seawall, Vancouver

The pathway along the seawall is great for fans of running, cycling and rollerblading. Along the way, stop at the aquarium and, perhaps, at the pretty Teahouse in Stanley Park. If he has the time, ask Philip Meyer, Wedgewood’s very friendly Maître de Maison, to accompany you on this superb two-wheel ride.

MOA, the Museum of Anthropology

I get goose bumps whenever I venture into this museum’s long galleries. Located on the University of British Columbia campus, MOA is one of my favorite spots in Vancouver. You can discover our country’s origins through incredible giant totem poles. The piece "The Raven and the First Men" by Aboriginal sculptor Bill Reid is one of my favorites. Definitely an artist to discover.

We can advise you on booking your route. Contact central reservations :

1 800 735 2478

Indicate the code : MC DIARMID

Calling from another country ? Click here

Revenir en haut de page
Phase 3 : 2 days, 2 nights

Sonora Resort

Comfort and refinement in the heart of pristine nature
Sonora Resort
Imagine a Relais & Châteaux resort cut off from civilization, accessible only by boat or helicopter. Located on a private island, Sonora Resort allows you to cut yourself off from the world in the greatest comfort. Nature and adventure are yours for the taking, right on the doorstep of your lodge. “Here, our interaction with nature is not just a theme, it is a guiding philosophy,” as the owners put it.

On the route...

Helicopter to Sonora

London Air Flight AW139 reaches Sonora in barely 50 minutes. From the Esso Avitat Terminal in Richmond, this is above all a unique voyage along superb fjords and craggy coastlines. On the right you can see the landscape of British Columbia and, on the left, Vancouver Island. You fly over mountains and vast stretches of water. A true delight.

Fly-fishing

Take a trip up the Phillips River in search of cutthroat trout, charr and migratory salmon. The hotel will lend you all the equipment necessary for the region’s beloved pastime, and you will be accompanied by a fly-fishing expert. With a bit of luck, here on the territory of the Kwaiakah First Nation, you might see some grizzlies catching fish not far away.

Kayaking in the fjords

Gliding down British Columbia’s fjords in a sea kayak, to the sound of paddles, is one of the most beautiful ways to commune with nature. Accompanied by a guide, you might spot kingfishers, bald eagles, sea lions or killer whales along the way.

We can advise you on booking your route. Contact central reservations :

1 800 735 2478

Indicate the code : MC DIARMID

Calling from another country ? Click here

Revenir en haut de page
Phase 4 : 2 days, 2 nights

Hastings House Country House Hotel

Return to an era of grace and simplicity
Hastings House Country House Hotel
Designed by Warren Hastings, a British naval architect, this vast and splendid residence brings to mind an 11th century English manor. Today it is owned by Jerry Parks and Bonny O’Connor and still enjoys an exceptional location opposite Vancouver Island. Overlooking Ganges’ small harbor and surrounded by seven hectares of grounds, the hotel offers both discretion and elegance.

Close to the property...

The vineyards of Salt Spring Island

Several vineyards have become known far beyond the island’s borders, featuring on the wine lists of the country’s greatest restaurants. Gary Oaks Winery has won many awards for its excellent Pinot Gris while, a few kilometers away, Salt Spring Vineyards produces a superb organic blackberry "port". Continue your wine country tour with a visit to Mistaken Identity Vineyards, where sustainable development is synonymous with great wine.

Art in Salt Spring

Salt Spring is a destination of choice for art lovers. A native of the island, Robert Bateman became famous for his abstract depictions of nature, before becoming a realist painter. He was very inspired by the Group of Seven, one of the country’s most important artist collectives. Some of their works are on permanent display in the Pegasus Gallery and at Hastings House. Tours are organized to the town’s main galleries. You can also meet resident artists during the Salt Spring Studio Tour.

Salt Spring Market

Between April and October, this famous market attracts all of the island’s locavores and art lovers. It’s a very funky, colorful spot! Small-scale producers, artists, artisans, bakers and cheese-makers gather on Saturdays amidst gales of laughter. The only rule is that vendors must “make, bake or grow” everything at their stalls.

We can advise you on booking your route. Contact central reservations :

1 800 735 2478

Indicate the code : MC DIARMID

Calling from another country ? Click here

Revenir en haut de page
Phase 5 : 2 days, 2 nights

Wickaninnish Inn

Rustic elegance on Canada’s west coast
Wickaninnish Inn
Our idea in building ”The Wick” was to present the essence of all things beautiful and natural from the west coast of Vancouver Island and place them in your room. Each detail seemed important. We called upon many artists and artisans, including our family friend, wood carver Henry Nolla, so that this place would resemble no other. The dream has become a reality. Outside your door, the ocean is calling…

On the route...

Floatplane to Hot Springs Cove

Take a morning flight at the break of dawn to reach Hot Springs Cove, inside Maquinna Marine Provincial Park. Thanks to the quick flight, you can enjoy this heavenly site, isolated and quiet, before the tourists arrive by boat. The return trip is by sea where, between the coves of Clayoquot Sound, you might cross paths with whales, seals, sea lions and otters.

Discovering bears

Mike White is a local legend who has trekked through every corner of the region. With his restored wooden boat, “The Browning Passage”, he will take you to watch bears hunting for crab along the beaches. A true immersion in the wilderness, during which you might also come across some wolves foraging along the coast.

Walking on idyllic beaches

The first thing to do upon arriving at Wickaninnish is to walk along Chesterman Beach, which is about three kilometers long, and enjoy the sights, the waves, and the surfers. The next day, ask the hotel staff to prepare a back pack picnic for you and head for Schooner Cove Beach, which borders the Pacific Rim National Park. Even in the height of summer, you may not see a single soul for fifteen kilometers. It is my favorite beach.

We can advise you on booking your route. Contact central reservations :

1 800 735 2478

Indicate the code : MC DIARMID

Calling from another country ? Click here

Texts : © Guides Gallimard