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“My best vacation ever, so unique I am still under its spell!”

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Cabana Desolation Eco Resort
North Vancouver, Canada
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“My best vacation ever, so unique I am still under its spell!”
Reviewed 11 September 2015

We stayed four days and it was magic. The scenery, the absolute peace and quiet, the beautiful cabins ( with a hot shower!!) , excellent food prepared by a very congenial cook ( thanks, Dan), and a guide who took very good care of us inexperienced kayakers (Alix, thank you : I certainly put you to the test!), what else could one ask for? Maybe chocolate fondue under a star filled sky, or a guide who comes to wake you up because two orcas are circling the island? All precious moment that no 5 stars hotel has ever given me! Thanks you all.
Franca M.

  • Stayed September 2015, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank 790franca
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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  • Sleep Quality
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (4)
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  • English first
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English first
Victoria BC Canada
Level 2 Contributor
9 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 September 2015

If you have the means, I highly recommend it. Amazing to have such food quality, this is a major feat to achieve under such wilderness circumstances. Staff are ceaselessly positive and enthusiastic. Very exclusive (ie hard to obtain such land from the government), comfortable and unique experience for this part of the World. Thanks so much to the visionaries behind this resort.

Helpful?
Thank bcsaltchucker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Rainbow Beach, Australia
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 August 2015

Earlier this year I had to take a business trip back to the States. My wife decided she wanted to come along and that we should start the trip off with a week of vacation/holiday before I had to go to work. We lived in the Seattle area for a long time and always wanted to take our kayaks up to Desolation Sound and spend some time kayak camping in the area. The summer that we were going to take the trip saw us moving to Australia so we never did make it up to BC.

I did some searching on the 'net about kayaking in Desolation Sound and came across the Cabana Desolation Eco Resort owned by Powell River Sea Kayak. I showed it to the wife and she was "all in" for the trip. I contacted Adam Vallance, the owner of Powell River Sea Kayak (PRSK), about a possible date. He said we were a bit early but they could put a trip together from May 31st through June 4th, their first trip of the season to the resort. That worked for us and gave us the opportunity to spend some time on Vancouver Island before and after the trip to Kinghorn Island.

We showed up at PRSK in Okeover Inlet early Sunday morning to find that we were the only people on this trip! What a bonus, just us and our personal kayak guide and chef! Luke, our guide for the week, met us when we arrived and shortly thereafter we met Dan, our chef, and Adam, the owner. My wife was very worried about padding for 6 hours since she had just had double carpal tunnel surgery on her wrists in January. Luke assured us that she would be fine and if she struggled he was prepared to tow her along or that we could just take a double kayak. We opted for the singles and I can honestly say that my wife had no problem paddling out to Kinghorn Island, home of Cabana Desolation Eco Resort. It was an incredibly relaxing trip with spectacular scenery.

We knew the trip was going to be far beyond our expectations when we pulled up on a small island beach and Luke laid out a spread for lunch that was amazing. The stuff he took out of his kayak for lunch just blew our minds, and it just got better from there.

We arrived at Kinghorn and Dan, the chef, helped us get stuff out of the boats and then they showed us to our cabana. What a glorious place! Beautiful little cedar cabin with a great hot shower, that was immediately put to use after our paddle. It had a large window that looked out through the pine forest to the water. The entire place has elevated cedar walkways making it an easy walk from spot to spot so you don't have to walk in the mud if it rains.

When I filled out the health questionnaire, I informed them that I was a diabetic and on a very strict low carb, high fat diet and even listed the things I wasn't to eat and the things that I could eat. Dan and Luke got together before the trip and looked at all sorts of recipes that they could make that I could eat. Dan took my dietary needs as a challenge and came up with the most amazing meals that were perfectly suited for me as a diabetic. He asked lots of questions about my needs and customized every meal for me individually, modifying what was on the menu and, at times, actually preparing different food for my wife. To me, this was one of the most amazing things about the trip. I have never had anybody think about my dietary needs in this way before, except for my wife of course :-) On the meal front, I must say that day two was a real treat. Luke took us on a walk through the forest to a rocky beach where we harvested a bag of fresh oysters. We returned to the Cabana Cafe and Dan prepared the oysters three different ways; raw, steamed and with asiago cheese and hot sauce. It was just divine. The food the entire trip was spectacular, as good or better than most quality restaurants! As the Aussies would say “Good onya Dan!” Kudos to Luke too as he was also involved in the culinary process.

Luke was an awesome guide, taking lots of time to show us the sea life up on the rocks at low tide and taking us to some great beaches for amazing lunches. We saw numerous bald eagles, a seal colony, deer, fish and other wildlife...even a mink. He taught us the correct way to paddle and it made a huge difference in the amount of effort needed to move the kayaks along. He took my wife out snorkeling on one of the small islands that was close by, using a stand up paddle board to make the crossing.

I could go on and on about our experience. I have been on a lot of different types of guided trips and this one tops them all. We were pampered from the time we arrived, the food was amazing, the daily guided trips were amazing and the service provided by Luke and Dan was just top notch. Without reservation, we would highly recommend a trip to Cabana Desolation Eco Resort. It totally exceeded our expectations and we will return again in the future. I can't think of anything wrong with the experience and, if you like the outdoors, you just have to go!

Room Tip: There are only 4 cabana cabins and all of them are wonderful!
See more room tips
  • Stayed May 2015, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Randy O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lafayette, Colorado
Level 4 Contributor
39 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed 12 July 2015

Everything about Cabana Desolation exceeded our expectations. We stayed for four nights, and only wished we had stayed for a week or more. The cabanas themselves are so comfortable and beautifully crafted. We slept great, and loved having french press coffee delivered to our cabana each morning. The large windows looking over the water were stunning, and you really felt immersed in the wilderness. The bed was ridiculously comfortable, and the shower was so appreciated after long days of kayaking.

The food really took the entire experience to another level. Oceane's cooking and gracious hospitality just felt like we were pampered the whole time. The lunches packed in a cooler that we brought on our daily kayak trips were just incredible, too. Having popcorn delivered to you in a hammock is just one small example of how thoughtful and well cared for it all was. Talking to all of the staff about the island and the area as a whole was a great way to learn about Desolation Sound and coastal BC in general. The kayaking in the area can be as easy or challenging as you desire, and the staff have plenty of recommendations and insight to help you decide. And yes, the water is really not cold (and felt great to jump in on a warm day).

We so hope to come back to Cabana Desolation in the next few years, and have already heartily recommended it to both close friends and complete strangers. Yes, it's a long journey to get there from either Vancouver or Victoria, but you're so far from the crowds, while being completely taken care of.

  • Stayed July 2015, travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank SLVTraveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bern, Switzerland
Level 6 Contributor
296 reviews
90 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 575 helpful votes
Reviewed 12 March 2015

Concept: the longtime dream of owner Adam (who designed the cabins) and his wife Laurie (who operates tirelessly behind the scenes despite holding down a full-time job) and two children (Ella in particular has done a splendid job with the interior design but Caleb is just as enthusiastic and passionate about this project as the rest of the family) who modelled the cabanas on Costa Rican eco-lodgings but with a distinct Canadian flair and design. Every effort has been made to ensure minimal environmental disruption (from the use of boardwalks, renewable energy sources, sensitive water systems and waste disposal) and the use of local, often reclaimed or recycled materials and staff (who are largely local too though perhaps not recycled!).

Packages: two options - one self guided, one guided, though both provide unrestricted access to kayaks and paddle boards. We opted for the five day (four night) Chill & Immerse package (self guided) and our entire stay was superb and faultless. We were the last and only guests of the 2014 season and we particularly appreciated the fact that despite the other two cabins being empty and the resort being to all intent and purposes closed for the season, we didn’t get the impression the resort and operation were winding down. Both packages are very reasonably priced considering the care, attention and luxury you get and guest/staff safety is paramount (you need to fill in a comprehensive medical questionnaire before you head out).

Access: the cabins are located on Kinghorn Island some 8 nautical miles from the Okeover Inlet put-in. Energetic guests can paddle there (this can take anything from two hours to five depending on speed and stops) while more lethargic visitors can opt, for an extra fee, for a 25 minute or so boat-ride to the island.

Cabins: there are three for guests and an extra one for staff, along with a larger dining cabin. All are beautifully and solidly handcrafted from locally milled wood and the sleeping cabins are equipped with custom-made log beds and lusciously comfortable mattresses; relaxing day beds; large, glassless windows (but with bug netting and curtains) with views to the sea through the trees and private showers with on-demand hot water. Other thoughtful touches include beach towels (as well as bath towels), masks and snorkels, head lamps and romantic candle lanterns. These cabins have been beautifully planned and crafted and Adam has thought of everything right down to the transparent roof above the door and shower allowing for maximum light. The dining cabin is a masterpiece. Skylights and open sides buttressed by large trunks let in plenty of light (solar panels backed up by a generator provide more once the sun has set) and make you feel part of the forest; the custom-made benches and table are comfortable; the breakfast bar a nice touch; the large map of the sound useful; and the decoration and colour-scheme tasteful and relaxing. There’s even an alcove where electronic devices can be recharged.

Toilets: did I mention them? No, well I didn’t want to spoil the picture, but they are probably the best thing about Cabana Desolation. Where else have you encountered gravity-fed, flushing toilets (two located at either end of camp) in the wilderness? Heaven indeed!

Activities: apart from the kayaking (lots of locations to visit nearby), guests can swim (the sea here is warm in summer - you don’t need a wetsuit); fish; explore the island though there are only limited trails and once you leave them you will need to bushwhack and require a sense of direction (the island takes about an hour to leisurely circumnavigate by kayak if you stop to explore the seashore but requires much longer to cover on foot and is surprisingly steep in places); or simply while away the hours (reference books and games are provided). Wildlife we spotted included turkey vultures, bald eagles, loons (lots of other birds), marine creatures (fish, bat stars, starfish and sea cucumbers etc.) as well as Henrietta (black-tailed deer) and Albert (seal) though I suspect Albert has multiple doubles as there is a healthy seal population on Kinghorn Island, which does apparently draw in transient orcas though we unfortunately didn’t see any.

Kayaks: top quality boats of varying makes and sizes. The latest acquisitions are Delta boats which are safe, stable, fast and track well. All come with rudders. Spray skirts, pumps, tow ropes, pfds, sponges and paddles are provided too.

Food: superb, fresh, local, balanced and beautifully presented. Dan was an accomplished, gifted and inventive chef who spoiled us with three meals daily and freshly baked snacks in between. Picnics weren’t a question of sandwiches, but featured freshly made salads, dips and cookies. Guests’ dietary requirements and preferences are respected as much as possible so we were regaled with vegetarian and seafood dishes. Dan’s menu is thoughtful too. On a cooler, wetter day he warmed us with a hearty vegetable soup, while he produced lighter fare on the other sultry ones. All his dishes were superb, but his lavender flavoured scones and sushi were particularly memorable, as were the freshly harvested oysters from neighbouring Station Island which we chose to eat raw (Dan checks with Adam for possible red tide before guests consume them). Portions weren’t just delicious, they were generous so don’t be surprised if you actually put on weight despite hours of kayaking! The resort’s policy is to provide guests with a happy hour beer or a glass of wine, but we brought our own wine and enjoyed it with our food, though we did take up the offer on our last night when we ran out of white. We offered some of our wine to Dan and he politely and thoughtfully declined (which we really appreciated as it meant all the more for us :-). Apart from cooking he also acted as the site manager and entertained us with his good humour, infectious energy and enthusiasm.

Experience: this is what Glamping is all about. Cabana Desolation allows guests to experience wilderness surroundings but without the inconvenience/hardship of wilderness camping. You’ll have all the comforts of home (of course there’s no wifi or TV but there is cell phone coverage) with the added bonus of being pampered and well looked after. It feels exclusive and it is as the three cabins guarantee privacy. But it’s the little things (things that are unfortunately becoming all too rare these days) that make Cabana Desolation so special. It’s the thought and love that have gone into the design and build; the quality of the amenities and service; and the passion that everyone involved with the project harbours.

Superb and highly recommended. The best eco-experience ever, with some of the friendliest, most helpful and passionate people. Thanks again for a wonderful time.

  • Stayed September 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank wucie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bern, Switzerland
Level 6 Contributor
296 reviews
90 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 575 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 October 2014

Picture three cozy, private wood cabins linked by a meandering cedar boardwalk nestled in a sheltered forest on a private island right at the heart of one of BC’s most popular kayaking destinations. You are surrounded by a picturesque island-dotted sound bathed in warm waters and a row of high quality kayaks and paddle boards with which to explore it (if you’re energetically inclined) or hammocks strung between trees and custom-made and strategically placed Adirondacks (if you aren’t). Behind you, your very own chef is preparing a delicious dinner of locally grown and harvested foods in the large open-air dining cabin cum kitchen. After dinner imagine retiring, pleasantly sated, to the Adirondack perched high on the rocky outcrop and watching the light fade from the sky, the outlines of the islands darken and the stars appear. If you’re really lucky you might spot the inquisitive Henrietta and Albert or witness the amazing bioluminescence that illuminates the sea at the tail end of summer. Then retire to your cozy cabin and let the sound of the waves lull you to sleep safe in the knowledge that despite the luxury and comfort of your surroundings, you are impacting minimally on the island. It sounds like heaven. Well Cabana Desolation is.

Not surprisingly despite only opening in July 2014 (and without much advertising), the Cabanas have proved very popular and they won’t be a secret for long. Not once the word gets out (why am I writing this review!?). So stop reading this and book your space for next year. Adam and his team answer all emails promptly and send any prospective guests a comprehensive pre-trip list, but here’s our take on the resort.

Concept: the longtime dream of owner Adam (who designed the cabins) and his wife Laurie (who operates tirelessly behind the scenes despite holding down a full-time job) and two children (Ella in particular has done a splendid job with the interior design but Caleb is just as enthusiastic and passionate about this project as the rest of the family) who modelled the cabanas on Costa Rican eco-lodgings but with a distinct Canadian flair and design. Every effort has been made to ensure minimal environmental disruption (from the use of boardwalks, renewable energy sources, sensitive water systems and waste disposal) and the use of local, often reclaimed or recycled materials and staff (who are largely local too though perhaps not recycled!).

Packages: two options - one self guided, one guided, though both provide unrestricted access to kayaks and paddle boards. We opted for the five day (four night) Chill & Immerse package (self guided) and our entire stay was superb and faultless. We were the last and only guests of the 2014 season and we particularly appreciated the fact that despite the other two cabins being empty and the resort being to all intent and purposes closed for the season, we didn’t get the impression the resort and operation were winding down. Both packages are very reasonably priced considering the care, attention and luxury you get and guest/staff safety is paramount (you need to fill in a comprehensive medical questionnaire before you head out).

Access: the cabins are located on Kinghorn Island some 8 nautical miles from the Okeover Inlet put-in. Energetic guests can paddle there (this can take anything from two hours to five depending on speed and stops) while more lethargic visitors can opt, for an extra fee, for a 25 minute or so boat-ride to the island.

Cabins: there are three for guests and an extra one for staff, along with a larger dining cabin. All are beautifully and solidly handcrafted from locally milled wood and the sleeping cabins are equipped with custom-made log beds and lusciously comfortable mattresses; relaxing day beds; large, glassless windows (but with bug netting and curtains) with views to the sea through the trees and private showers with on-demand hot water. Other thoughtful touches include beach towels (as well as bath towels), masks and snorkels, head lamps and romantic candle lanterns. These cabins have been beautifully planned and crafted and Adam has thought of everything right down to the transparent roof above the door and shower allowing for maximum light. The dining cabin is a masterpiece. Skylights and open sides buttressed by large trunks let in plenty of light (solar panels backed up by a generator provide more once the sun has set) and make you feel part of the forest; the custom-made benches and table are comfortable; the breakfast bar a nice touch; the large map of the sound useful; and the decoration and colour-scheme tasteful and relaxing. There’s even an alcove where electronic devices can be recharged.

Toilets: did I mention them? No, well I didn’t want to spoil the picture, but they are probably the best thing about Cabana Desolation. Where else have you encountered gravity-fed, flushing toilets (two located at either end of camp) in the wilderness? Heaven indeed!

Activities: apart from the kayaking (lots of locations to visit nearby), guests can swim (the sea here is warm in summer - you don’t need a wetsuit); fish; explore the island though there are only limited trails and once you leave them you will need to bushwhack and require a sense of direction (the island takes about an hour to leisurely circumnavigate by kayak if you stop to explore the seashore but requires much longer to cover on foot and is surprisingly steep in places); or simply while away the hours (reference books and games are provided). Wildlife we spotted included turkey vultures, bald eagles, loons (lots of other birds), marine creatures (fish, bat stars, starfish and sea cucumbers etc.) as well as Henrietta (black-tailed deer) and Albert (seal) though I suspect Albert has multiple doubles as there is a healthy seal population on Kinghorn Island, which does apparently draw in transient orcas though we unfortunately didn’t see any.

Kayaks: top quality boats of varying makes and sizes. The latest acquisitions are Delta boats which are safe, stable, fast and track well. All come with rudders. Spray skirts, pumps, tow ropes, pfds, sponges and paddles are provided too.

Food: superb, fresh, local, balanced and beautifully presented. Dan was an accomplished, gifted and inventive chef who spoiled us with three meals daily and freshly baked snacks in between. Picnics weren’t a question of sandwiches, but featured freshly made salads, dips and cookies. Guests’ dietary requirements and preferences are respected as much as possible so we were regaled with vegetarian and seafood dishes. Dan’s menu is thoughtful too. On a cooler, wetter day he warmed us with a hearty vegetable soup, while he produced lighter fare on the other sultry ones. All his dishes were superb, but his lavender flavoured scones and sushi were particularly memorable, as were the freshly harvested oysters from neighbouring Station Island which we chose to eat raw (Dan checks with Adam for possible red tide before guests consume them). Portions weren’t just delicious, they were generous so don’t be surprised if you actually put on weight despite hours of kayaking! The resort’s policy is to provide guests with a happy hour beer or a glass of wine, but we brought our own wine and enjoyed it with our food, though we did take up the offer on our last night when we ran out of white. We offered some of our wine to Dan and he politely and thoughtfully declined (which we really appreciated as it meant all the more for us :-). Apart from cooking he also acted as the site manager and entertained us with his good humour, infectious energy and enthusiasm.

Experience: this is what Glamping is all about. Cabana Desolation allows guests to experience wilderness surroundings but without the inconvenience/hardship of wilderness camping. You’ll have all the comforts of home (of course there’s no wifi or TV but there is cell phone coverage) with the added bonus of being pampered and well looked after. It feels exclusive and it is as the three cabins guarantee privacy. But it’s the little things (things that are unfortunately becoming all too rare these days) that make Cabana Desolation so special. It’s the thought and love that have gone into the design and build; the quality of the amenities and service; and the passion that everyone involved with the project harbours.

We can’t recommend Cabana Desolation enough. The only problem was that it set the bar very high for the rest of our trip which, unsurprisingly, rarely came close after that…

Thanks Adam, Dan, Laurie, Ella and Caleb for a most memorable stay. We hope to see you again some day. Oh, and Dan, get yourself enrolled on MasterChef!

Helpful?
5 Thank wucie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
San Francisco, California
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 17 October 2014

My husband and I have travelled to many beautiful places around the world. Desolation Sound is one of the most spectacular. The four days our group of 6 spent at the Cabana Resort were truly ideal--the accommodations were so comfortable and pretty, the plentiful food was delicious, the guide knowledgeable and fun to be with. The kayaks and paddles supplied by the resort were excellent and we spent perfect days paddling around the pristine, quiet Sound.
Thank you, Adam, for your superb hospitality and the perfect resort.

Stayed September 2014, travelled with friends
Helpful?
3 Thank JuneSF
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Cabana Desolation Eco Resort

Property: Cabana Desolation Eco Resort
Address: Kinghorn Island in Desolation Sound, Powell River, British Columbia V8A 0G4, Canada
Region: Canada > British Columbia > Sunshine Coast > Powell River
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 10 Speciality Lodging in Powell River
Number of rooms: 5
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Cabana Desolation Eco Resort is a comfortably designed, exclusive eco resort located on an uninhabited island in the heart of Desolation Sound, British Columbia, Canada. Where warm Pacific waters, lively marine wildlife and towering Coast Mountains provide an awesome setting for a truly unique, west coast British Columbia, eco resort experience. Inspired from the eco lodgings of Costa Rica and designed and constructed with a west coast British Columbia flare, Cabana Desolation is a place to relax, enjoy wonderful foods from an on-site chef and to recreate in one of the world's most beautiful settings. Packages are available for those seeking guided sea kayak trips as well as for those who simply want to chill and immerse in the majestic scenery of Desolation Sound. All packages include kayaks, stand up paddle boards, snorkelling equipment, freshly created food and thoughtful service. Join us at Cabana Desolation Eco Resort for an experience that is unique, wonderful, relaxing and adventurous. ... more   less 

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