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.