My wife and I just celebrated our one-year wedding anniversary a few weeks ago. As our first year of marriage progressed, from time to time, I would take mental notes on where I should take her at the one-year mark. The first ideas that came to mind were Mexico or Hawaii but doesn’t every guy in the US and Canada do that? I also scrapped that idea as my wife is not a fan of those destinations. So my search continued, and then I remembered that a friend of mine had mentioned a resort with a unique name that he had visited with his girlfriend a few years back.
After digging deep into my memory, I found that a three-day getaway was booked at the Tigh-Na-Mara Seaside Spa Resort & Conference Centre!
I enjoy staying at nice resorts and spas but have never used any of their spa treatments and services until now. I usually let my wife enjoy these spas, but this time, I decided to take part in some of the treatments. I was stepping out of my comfort zone and hesitant, but I did it for the lady of the house.
This charming resort is in Parksville, British Columbia, on Vancouver Island in Canada. Tigh-Na-Mara Seaside Spa Resort is set in 22 acres of Arbutus and Douglas Fir forest along the coast, offering amazing views of the beach, ocean, and coastal mountains. If you enjoy nature, beauty, tranquility, and peace, then Tigh-Na-Mara should be on your bucket list.
Rustic Log Cottages
The first night was spent in the one-bedroom Rustic Log Cottage during our three-night stay. Checking in was a breeze, and I can honestly say that the staff at Tigh-Na-Mara was probably some of the friendliest people I have met, and they were extremely accommodating. My wife and I were pretty surprised by the customer service and professionalism. I think many resorts forget that they are in the hospitality industry.
I picked the Rustic Log Cottage because of how cozy it appeared, and the idea of a traditional wood-burning fireplace was the selling point for me. I almost felt like living in a log cabin a few centuries ago but with modern conveniences like a full kitchen with fridge, stove, microwave, coffee machine, TV, Wi-Fi, and a very lovely and deep bathtub. And don’t worry, you may feel like you’re in a different era, but you still get modern lighting. Because it was my anniversary weekend, the staff was kind enough to leave us a card with a nice note and a little surprise in the fridge for us.
Many hotels/resorts I’ve stayed at have awful-looking furniture, and they appear to be stuck in a time capsule from the ’70s or ’80s, but this log cottage was different. The rustic-looking furnishings, such as the dining table/chairs and sofa, were a nice touch, and it was the very first thing we noticed. We didn’t even bother with the TV and instead sat on the ground in front of the fireplace and watched a movie on the laptop. There are also two wood shacks on the property if you need more firewood. I should also point out that the rustic cottages are pet-friendly, and there is a vast beach area your dogs would love to explore.
Oceanview Deluxe Studio
The next two nights were spent in the Oceanview Deluxe Studio. The first words I thought as soon as I opened the door to this room were “WOW,” and even that’s an understatement. I’m guessing the staff had left the balcony curtains open on purpose so all guests could be mesmerized by the majestic views of the ocean and mountains. You have to be there in person to experience it, but it was special.
This Oceanview Deluxe Studio is located in a three-story building. Our room measured 700 sq ft and featured a full kitchen with a coffee maker, gas fireplace, King bed, Wi-Fi, Flatscreen TV, and a private balcony. And let’s not forget the fantastic bedside Jacuzzi tub. While the cottage was more rustic, this room gives more of a modern and sleek feel. We were located on the third floor and lucky enough to have high ceilings, which really gave the room an opened-up feel.
It was tough for me to choose which room I liked better because they were both unique experiences, and each offered a different type of enjoyment. The Oceanview room had two skylights, which forced me to wake up early in the morning, but that’s not necessarily bad.
As mentioned previously, spa treatments are something I don’t take part in, but I decided to check it out this time. The Grotto Spa is the #1 spa in Western Canada by Spas of America.
The package we signed up for is called ‘A Touch of Romance,’ which starts with access to a unique spa suite that features a warm drawn copper tub with custom blended bath salts, sparkling wine, and chocolate-dipped strawberries. A friendly staff member prepared the tub for us and allowed my wife and me 30 minutes to enjoy the tub. I loved the tub’s curved design, which made it extremely easy to relax. After the 30 minutes, we hopped onto the massage tables and enjoyed a relaxing side-by-side couples massage for the next hour.
I had no idea what was happening to my limbs and body, but I enjoyed it. It was a completely alien experience for me (a good one, might I add), and from time to time, I was caught off guard as hot towels were placed on me. As I was enjoying the treatment, I thought, why had I never considered this before? I don’t have anything to compare it to, but I can honestly say I would do it again. On the other hand, my wife has had many massages over the years and loves them.
All Grotto Spa guests also have complimentary access to the Grotto Mineral Pool, which features an invigorating cool-splash waterfall and a whirlpool. The mineral pool is 2,500 square feet, and the water is infused with natural minerals and trace elements to detoxify the body. They also have a Relaxation Lounge where guests can enjoy complimentary fruit, teas, and coffee. This was a unique experience as everyone there walked around in robes and sandals while sipping coffee.
Treetop Tapas & Grill
The Treetop Tapas & Grill is another unique experience reserved exclusively for robed spa guests. Everyone there enjoying their meals was in robes and sandals, including us. We went with the ‘Endless Tapas,’ where you can sample gourmet tapas and have as much as your appetite can handle. The menu has 17 or 19 items and only uses local, fresh ingredients. The food quality here is quite something, and unfortunately, we couldn’t survive the dessert, as we ate way too much. That’s what happens when you eat with your eyes.
For those resort guests not interested in the Treetop Tapas & Grill, Tigh-Na-Mara also has the Cedars Restaurant & Lounge, which is just as great. We went with their Early Harvest menu, which features a three-course meal for only $37! On one of the days, we also ordered a picnic basket (we replaced the wine with sparkling juice), which we enjoyed on the beach!
Overall, the experience at Tigh-Na-Mara Seaside Spa Resort was spectacular and the perfect place to celebrate our first wedding anniversary. The staff and management are friendly, and I wish more resorts would look at Tigh-Na-Mara as an example of the hospitality industry.