I adore the finer things in life, such as: sipping wine by the ocean, sitting in front of a roaring fire and most of all imagining that such romance exists in life that it could challenge that of a novel or movie. Where can you find such a thing though? I've often found myself in beautiful hotels around the globe but alas, that certain romantic element has always eluded me. I recently had the privilege of staying at Rockwater Secret Cove Resort on the Sunshine Coast this past weekend and realized very quickly why this place is consistently nominated as one of the most romantic places in not only BC, but in the world. Imagine staying in a unique and magical place that encompasses two drastically different worlds of both extravagant luxuries within a cozy camping setting in the great outdoors!
This place really is a secret hideaway and an excellent excuse to leave behind the city while immersing oneself into nature, in a private yurt style tent with all the comforts of the city. Nestled on the Sunshine Coast in an actual secret cove, inside the Pacific Northwest rainforest and perched strategically along the coastline above the ocean, is where this stunning romantic resort can be located.
Upon my arrival, I was pleased to see the resort's newest addition to their award collection from the Professional BC Wedding Awards, where they were voted the “Best Wedding Ceremony Location”. It’s no wonder why Rockwater Secret Cove Resort has a reputation of being featured countless times as one of the “Most Romantic Places To Stay” — the entire concept of this resort allows you to not only reconnect with your partner, but with your own heart and soul as well. Brides have been mentioning this beautiful resort for quite sometime to me and I am happy that they won this prestigious and deserving award for this stunning wedding ceremony location. The award winning location is perfectly situated above the ocean on a grassy hill overlooking the Pacific and forested coastline. It truly is a breath taking spot to have a wedding. This really is the ideal place to propose, elope or even celebrate your wedding, as it really is like walking through a romantic wooded fairytale.
Even with us staying in December, the resort was very busy and most of their popular 'Tenthouse Suites' had already booked up far in advance. However, my partner and I were excited to stay in one of their cozy oceanfront cabins for our first night and experience one of the tenthouse suites for the second evening. The cabin was a traditional log style room, which was built in the 50’s and had a quaint woodsy feel to it. It felt almost like we were isolated and staying deep within the forest, it was only listening to the sounds of the ocean right outside that reminded us how close we still were to the resort. It’s a wonderful place for anyone wanting to take a retreat or have some alone time as a couple.
The first night we dined at the Rockwater’s restaurant and the staff was exceptionally helpful and the service was impeccable. While dining at the restaurant, we enjoyed our meal while sipping our wine and overlooking the ocean. We decided to try the steak and seafood bouillabaisse. The steak was cooked to perfection with a shallot and bacon demi-glace and the bouillabaisse featured: mussels, manila clams, fish du jour, prawns, scallops, fennel, garlic & red pepper rouille toast. It was simply delicious.
The next morning, after trying the divine eggs benedict with smoked salmon we moved into out own tenthouse suite, which really was the epitome of romance. The tents were specially created to give a luxury accommodation experience all within a natural setting outdoors, in your own private yurt style tent. It may sound very different to what one might want for an ideal wedding location or romantic getaway, however, once you step inside of your tent and feel the heated stone tiles, warm fireplace on your hands, and see the huge hydrotherapy tub overlooking the ocean inside of each tenthouse suite; you will understand that this is unlike any camping experience. Our tent featured a king-sized bed with plush linens and blankets, private toilet, heated slate floors, gas burning fireplace, stone-tiled shower with a relaxing rainfall style head (and private window overlooking the water) as well as our own waterfront deck and massive hydrotherapy tub that featured an amazing light show.
The unique design of the boardwalk is used to reach each tenthouse suite and allows you to really get quite deep inside of the forest while still maintaining that feeling of walking through the trees. It was really gorgeous walking along from our tent to the resort while peeking out through the trees down to at the rugged ocean. The boardwalk really allowed us to experience all of this, while the natural beauty of the forest and coastline can still flourish and remain untouched. We would leave our tent each evening and walk through the forest along a lighted pathway to arrive at the end out of the trees right at the Rockwater’s own restaurant for our fine dining experience. During our second evening we dined in the restaurant and tried the Antipasto to start with the Kettle River Sauvignon Blanc wine, this was a beautifully combination featuring prosciutto, Quebec artisan cheeses, mixed olives and crostinis. For our mains, we ordered the Prosciutto Wrapped Steelhead Salmon and the Cornish Hen with sundried tomatoes, spinach, herbs, served with cranberry and brie bread pudding; they were both mouth-watering and succulent. The restaurant really is a fine dining establishment, but it is absolutely fabulous and worth experiencing.
It rained during our stay and I was thankful that I could witness this place in its natural state. There was a certain magical feeling in the air while walking through the grounds of the resort with the misty rain surrounding us; you get the feeling that this is very surreal. Even the rain sounds beautiful when you stay inside of a tent (especially when you are in a hot bath tub with jets surrounding you), I could listen to it falling on top of the canvas all evening and never grow tired of that sound. Here in British Columbia, we constantly complain about the weather and rain, but when you have all these warm comforts and luxuries, the rain can make for a very cozy atmosphere inside of your own tent. You really can experience this all year round and I had the pleasure of witnessing a wedding while I was staying here as well. I couldn’t think of a more romantic location to bring someone you love, there really is nowhere like this place on earth, you have to come and live in your own lush tree top heaven to see it and experience it all for yourself.
Romance is all around us; in novels, poetry and movies, however, trying to find it in real life can be a bit of a challenge with all the distractions and stress surrounding us. This past weekend I had the personal pleasure of staying at the Sooke Harbour House and truly experiencing what this wonderful feeling really is. Today more than ever, brides are searching for that ideal wedding location that will give them a certain element of romance and style. Many are forgoing tradition and planning a destination style wedding instead, often forgetting that a plane ride isn’t necessary to find gorgeous scenery. British Columbia has some of the most breathtaking natural landscapes in the world, which makes it the perfect place for your destination wedding.
If you are searching for a stunning location in nature and next to the ocean; where you can create a beautiful wedding filled with whimsical romance, then look no further than the Sooke Harbour House. Owners Frederique and Sinclair Phillip run this charming inn and it is very clear they want you to feel at home, the minute you walk in the door. The house is decorated with such detail and care and because of the local artists contributions, it really gives you the impression that you might be staying in a beautiful gallery instead of a hotel. Everywhere you look there is something to marvel at! From the handcrafted sculptures of playful harbour seals, to the spectacular mosaics and paintings on the walls, there is something for everyone’s tastes.
Raven's Nest Room
Frederique really believes that Sooke Harbour House is all about just being able to feel at peace while you unwind and reconnect in such beautiful surroundings. After speaking with her, it became apparent how passionate she is for providing; ethical, sustainable and artistic surroundings for her guests to experience in pure tranquility. Considering how the inn has 28 rooms and each one is so special and different, your guests will most certainly find a room that will suit their personality perfectly. My partner and I stayed in the gorgeous Kitchen Garden Room and it was just gorgeous! It felt more like an apartment, with a massive luxury bathtub and wood-burning fireplace than a hotel room (each room has these lovely amenities). The shower was a one-of-a-kind stained glass design, featuring a brilliant sunflower motif; it was so large and spacious and doubled as a steam room. Our view showcased the beautiful garden as well as the ocean, with the dramatic rugged coastline and the popular Whiffen Spit Beach. The rooms are each designed and decorated by Frederique herself, with a theme in mind that takes from local inspiration. I had a chance to see a few rooms such as the: Grandifolia Room, Whale Room, Harbour Seal Room and the larger Raven’s Nest Room which featured a loft upstairs (perfect for guests with families). It is the personal touches in each room that make this a special place and added a certain thoughtfulness to the entire experience. Upon arrival there is complementary port for you to enjoy with homemade cookies and the wooden fireplace is already set up for you to light. The breakfast menu allows you to choose when you would like your meal to be delivered right to your door, at an hour of your choice in the morning. Additionally, the beds are extremely luxurious and comfortable, come here for two nights and I guarantee you will feel your soul rejuvenated and all of your stresses lifted.
My partner and I experienced two dinners in their renowned restaurant and it is safe to say these were both simply the best meals we have ever tasted. If you are a wine and food lover like myself, then you will appreciate the tender love and care that goes into the preparation of all of the meals at the Sooke Harbour House Restaurant. Each day the menu is custom made to reflect what is in season and what is fresh and local. There is a garden on the property, which they use to grow many of the ingredients used in the restaurant. The first night, my partner and I tried the pork tenderloin and the flounder fish as our main courses. The melodies of these flavors and textures were divine. On the second night, we both dinned on the scallops with lentils and smoky bacon to start, which was a heavenly combination. For the main, we decided on the Dungeness crabs and this was cooked to perfection. For dessert, we tried the delicious sorbet and the chocolate cake and it was truly a masterpiece of food that was presented to us.
In conclusion, Sooke Harbour House has everything a bride could ever dream of to help plan the perfect destination wedding. There are three different ceremony site locations you can choose between on the grounds: the “upper garden” is situated near the house next to the herb garden, the “lower garden” is ideal for larger wedding parties looking for stunning ocean views and the “totem site” can accommodate three private rooms on the actual site. Perhaps you might want to have the house’s award-winning restaurant cater a delicious menu for your guests and design your fabulous wedding cake? Or have your flowers, décor and wedding planning looked after? These are some of the unique touches that they provide. Destination weddings are gaining more popularity because it is so appealing to have many of these details taken care of, making everything flow smoother and allowing you to relax and focus on one thing…having the most memorable romantic day of your life!
For more information please contact Sooke Harbour House.
(Photos courtsey of Sooke Harbour House)