Wanderlust: Woods on Pender / The Gulf Islands find their own answer to Ace Hotel.

WESTERN LIVING By Stacey McLachlan

The whole point of going to B.C.’s Pender Island is to get away from it all. But let’s get real: there’s some elements of “it all” that are actually quite nice. A good pillow. Fresh-ground coffee and a French press. Your Netflix queue.

It’s why we’re crushing on the Woods on Pender. There’s plenty of that tranquility here, but it’s accompanied by those little luxuries. Case in point: book one of the too-hip Airstream trailers and you’ll probably spend the evening hanging on the private deck in a cedar hot tub for two, or kicking back in a set of sunshine-yellow Acapulco chairs overlooking the trees and the ocean; when darkness falls, you’ll head inside to flip on the Apple TV or curl up in a cushy queen-sized bed. It’s just like camping, only way, way, way better.

The Ace Hotel-meets-summer-camp resort is the brainchild of owner Curtis Redel, who got out of the real estate business and into hospitality with the intent of making the urban movers-and-shakers a little more comfortable in the heart of the Coastal wilderness. So he bought up the former Inn on Pender Island and seriously rebranded, renovating a selection of cozy cabins with an eye for rustic-modernism and populating the 7.3-acres with a handful of Airstreams.

The on-site restaurant, now called Coffee Kitchen, got a makeover too, shifting focus to a curated menu of thoughtful and simple dishes from locally sourced ingredients (suppliers include Whole Beast Meats, Fernwood Coffee and Ravenrock Farms). It was a smart move. The tenderloin is so good it has a cult following, and we might just come back specifically for the smoked maple bourbon that graces the stellar cocktail selection.

After a hard day of hiking world-class beaches and strolling through sun dappled forests (it’s a tough job, but somebody’s gotta do it) it’s nice to have somewhere civilized to lay our heads—and a well-made cocktail with which to toast good ol’ nature. If this is the simple life, we think we might just be able to get on board.

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