Pampering Amidst the Great Outdoors: You Can Have Both on the Sunshine Coast

Tuwanek Hotel_6116 Copyright Shelagh DonnellyIf you’re an assistant who craves a little luxury while soaking up nature, practice rolling this name off your tongue: Tuwanek. Situated on BC’s Sunshine Coast,  northwest of Vancouver, The Tuwanek Hotel is a boutique, waterfront B&B that offers three themed suites in addition to a spa suite and five cottages. Oh, and you may want to know that each cottage comes complete with a private hot tub and fire pit, as well as a barbeque.

While You’re There

You’d like a bit of pampering?  Well, The Tuwanek has its own day spa where, depending on the season, an appointment could be the perfect follow up to Sunshine Coast hiking, kayaking, sailing, golfing, diving, bird watching or snowshoeing.


Skookumchuck Narrows Copyright Shelagh Donnelly

Whatever else your plans might include, consider a drive and then a 4-km/2.5-mile hike to Skookumchuck Narrows Provincial Park, home to a twice-daily natural spectacle in which tides change and reverse the saltwater’s flow. What does this mean? Simply put, you are in for a visual treat, enjoying turbulent rapids that draw visitors from around the planet; here, up to 200 billion gallons of water flow between Jervis and Sechelt Inlets.

You may or may not be among the extreme kayakers in the water but, if you do a bit of easy homework to time your hike and arrival at the Narrows with the peak of the tidal surge, you’ll be well rewarded.


Business Travel

Depending on the size of your management team, The Tuwanek has some potential for a retreat or planning session. Bear in mind that, as a bed and breakfast, the Tuwanek’s food and beverage services are limited to appealing breakfasts, and that – in terms of coordinating an efficient start time to business meetings – it’s unlikely that management at this small B&B could serve all guests at the same time. The Tuwanek does provide mini “snack kitchens” in the suites and a barbeque for those who like to grill their dinners waterside. If you book your team in here, you’ll want to do some advance planning and seek advice from owners Krista and Chris Cutlan on restaurant options.


We stayed in the African Queen Suite. The ensuite, complete with slipper tub and walk-in shower, is more spacious than many Vancouver condos’ (flats’) kitchens. The Egyptian linens on the king sized “cloud bed” reinforce the sense of being pampered, as do the robes and slippers in the closet. Technology is the order of the day, with in-room digital music, in-floor heating, Apple TV, Netflix and DVD. We found little occasion to watch television, but it was nice to have at hand. Views, from within the telescope-outfitted suite and its balcony, were superb. While enjoying the morning vistas from our balcony, the only sounds to be heard were our friendly neighbours’ conversations with the owner as she delivered their breakfast and chatted about their boating plans for the day.


If the natural surroundings aren’t enough to make you completely forget work for a couple of days, rest assured that all suites and cabins have complimentary Wi Fi. Each suite includes complimentary use of a loaner iPad and the B&B has a Club Room with a compact business centre, games room and small movie theatre. There, Tuwanek offers VoIP – Voice Over Internet Protocol – capacity, with complimentary phone calls throughout Canada and the USA.

When we visited, the Tuwanek offered, in its business centre, complimentary long distance calling to 38 countries.


Rather than providing hard copy newspapers and journals, The Tuwanek encourages guests in the suites to access such resources through use of a complimentary loaner iPad. As is the case  elsewhere, guests are gently invited to use bedding more than a single day.

Horseshoe Bay Seagull's View Copyright Shelagh Donnelly

A bird’s eye view; a village stroll while awaiting the ferry departing from Horseshoe Bay to the Sunshine Coast

Getting There

If you’re considering incorporating a weekend or mid-week break at the Tuwanek along with travels to Vancouver, Victoria or Whistler,  you’ll find getting there – and learning the names of your surrounds – to be half the fun.

From the picturesque village of Horseshoe Bay, which is 22 km/13 miles from downtown Vancouver, the 40-minute ferry ride provides breathtaking views of islands, mountains and greenery.  Next, you’ll  drive 26 km/16 miles past the town of Gibsons, which became famous through television’s The Beachcombers, to reach Sechelt. Tuwanek is roughly nine km/six miles north of Sechelt, past Porpoise Bay Provincial Park and the town of Sandy Hook.


Depending on the season, a stay in the African Queen suite will run from $259 to $299 CAD nightly, plus taxes. Check The Tuwanek’s website for rates on other suites and the cottages, and on the various packages they offer. The Tuwanek, which is on the market for sale, also offers mid-week corporate rates to business travellers.


The Tuwanek is a lovely spot for personal travel if you’re wanting to get away from it all; with respect to business purposes, you would want to thoroughly assess your team’s needs and The Tuwanek’s capacity to meet them before making any bookings.


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