Welcome to the first in a series of reviews of hotels on the west coast of Vancouver Island near Tofino and Ucluelet.
We at Prince of Travel have taken on the rather unfortunate task of staying at a number of nice hotels in one of Canada’s most beautiful destinations to give readers an idea of which options exist for their trips.
In this part of the world, there is a particular absence of chain hotels at which you can redeem points enjoy your elite status benefits, so you’ll have to pick from one of a number of independent hotels if you’re staying in the area.
In this first post, I’ll review one of my favourites: the Black Rock Oceanfront Resort in Ucluelet.
Black Rock Oceanfront Resort, Ucluelet – Overview
The Black Rock Oceanfront Resort is located on the rugged west coast of Vancouver Island in Ucluelet, British Columbia. It’s set immediately on the ocean, a 14-minute walk from the town centre.
The resort features a main lodge with a number of suites with ocean and rainforest views, as well as a number of one- and two-bedroom suites in separate units strewn throughout the gorgeous property.
Since moving to Vancouver Island in July 2020, I have stayed here a number of times. This is mainly due to the excellent travel agent rate of $129/night during non-peak travel periods, but I also stay here because I prefer Ucluelet to Tofino for a number of reasons.
For the general public, rates begin at $200/night in low season or $220/night in shoulder season, rising to $300/night during peak times.
Since the resort isn’t part of a chain hotel’s loyalty program, the best way to use your points for a stay here would be to redeem fixed-value travel points like HSBC Rewards or Scotia Rewards to offset the cost of your purchase.
Black Rock Oceanfront Resort, Ucluelet – Studio Lodge Suite
In my most recent stay in May 2021, I stayed in a Studio Lodge Suite, which was located in the resort’s main lodge. The resort has a two-night minimum stay and we decided to come for a weekend to meet with another couple who were celebrating a birthday.
Our room was located on the side of the lodge that faces the ocean. We enjoyed the sound of waves crashing against the shore and had a view that was a mix of rainforest and ocean.
As is the standard in this resort, our room featured a king bed, a gas fireplace, a rain shower, a soaker tub, a furnished patio, and heated bathroom floors.
The entrance to the room shows the mini-kitchen with a sink, mini-refrigerator, Nespresso coffee machine, toaster, and convection microwave oven. I certainly appreciate having the option to do some self-catering in a hotel where I don’t enjoy free breakfast benefits.
In the bedroom, there is a sturdy king bed with wooden accents, a natural gas fireplace, and a television that can swivel toward the bed.
You can see glimpses of the ocean from the bed, and I often leave the door cracked open to fall asleep to the bellowing of the distant lighthouse horn or to awake to the sound of waves crashing against the shore nearby.
The configuration of other rooms is such that the fireplace and television are directly in front of the bed instead of around the corner. While it is nice to feel the heat from the fireplace, it’s also nice to see the fire burning from the bed.
One feature of this room that I appreciated was having a couch. In similar rooms, there have been two chairs and a table instead, but I preferred this setup as I could see both the fireplace and the view at the same time.
Outside, there is a covered patio furnished with two sturdy chairs and a coffee table. It’s a perfect place to enjoy a cup of coffee in the morning or a frothy beverage in the evening both when it’s sunny and when it’s raining. The view from each room has been wonderful, too.
In my experience, the bathrooms in the resort are all fairly similar and offer a number of nice touches. I am a sucker for heated floors, which are especially nice after a long run on the town’s trails or after a day spent surfing the chilly ocean waters. There is a rain shower with a textured rocky floor and a soaker tub, too.
The view from the tub overlooks the room and whatever view you are treated to. With the blinds up, anyone else would be treated to a view of whatever is happening in the bathroom, too, so be mindful of this if there are others in the room.
The bathroom is stocked with refillable natural Oneka products and a bar of soap made on Vancouver Island. There are also two bathrobes at your disposal, another nice touch that I appreciate.
The Black Rock Oceanfront Resort is a very dog-friendly hotel. There is a fee of $25 per night, up to a maximum of $50 per stay.
Unlike most other hotels that I’ve stayed at with my dog Blaze, the hotel stocks the room with food and water bowls, a few treats, and a dog towel. There is also a dog washing station on the property to help rinse the sand out after a round of fetch at the nearby beach. Make sure to bring Fido by the front desk for some treats and some attention from the staff, too.
Black Rock Oceanfront Resort, Ucluelet – Amenities
The Black Rock Oceanfront Resort has the Drift Spa, a small fitness center, a pool, two hot tubs, the Currents Restaurant, and the Big Beach Bar and Lounge.
I’ve started and ended a number of days by soaking in the hot tub and appreciating the views. It’s particularly refreshing when the rain is falling (as it often does), which also seems to deter other guests from going for a soak. During the pandemic, the second hot tub (with a better view) has remained closed, but I imagine it will reopen again soon in the future.
The Big Beach Bar and Lounge offers a pub menu and some great “Happy Hour” specials if you’re one to enjoy an afternoon beverage. Between 3pm and 5pm every day, you can enjoy a variety of British Columbian craft beers and cocktails at a sizeable discount to the regular price. There is a fantastic view of the coast, too, rain or shine.
I have yet to frequent the spa and the restaurant at the resort, so I can’t offer an honest review of my experiences there at this point.
In the five times that I’ve stayed at the resort in the past year, I have always had great experiences with the staff. These interactions were limited due to the pandemic, but they were attentive to any request or question I had on every one of my stays.
Black Rock Oceanfront Resort, Ucluelet – Nearby
One of my favourite aspects of staying at the Black Rock Oceanfront Resort is its location. Whereas other resorts along the coast are a long way from outside amenities, this resort feels remote but is also within a reasonable walking distance to a number of beaches and trails and the restaurants, bars, and attractions in the town of Ucluelet.
Right next to the property is Big Beach, one of Ucluelet’s many beaches. Beach fires are permitted here and it is an easy 5-minute walk back to your room after you’ve watched the sunset, spent some time talking around a campfire, and extinguished it fully.
The Wild Pacific Trail, which stretches roughly 8km along the coast, can be accessed by foot right off of the property. You will be treated to outstanding views of the ocean as you weave through the coastal rainforest.
This trail is perfect for an early morning run, a hike with your significant other (or dog), or enjoying a coffee at one of the many benches while you appreciate the view of the stunning West Coast scenery.
The town of Ucluelet is a short 14-minute walk or an even shorter 4-minute drive from the resort. There are a number of restaurants, stores, and bars to access if you feel the need to leave the property.
Black Rock Oceanfront Resort, Ucluelet – Overall Impressions
For me, the Black Rock Oceanfront Resort meets a lot of my must-haves and many of my nice-to-haves:
- It is in a gorgeous location but isn’t too far away from everything else in the area
- It is nice, but not pretentiously so
- It has amenities that I appreciate: outdoor hot tub, fireplace, heated bathroom floors, a decent beer list, fantastic views year-round, and being very dog-friendly
- Even without a travel agent rate, there are a number of specials throughout the year
- Each of my stays has been consistently good overall
The Black Rock Oceanfront Resort in Ucluelet, British Columbia is a very comfortable place to stay year-round. Expect it to be busiest in the summer and slightly less so in the other seasons. As it is well-equipped for stays in any weather, you’ll be able to enjoy your stay rain-or-shine.
During storm-watching season in the winter months, you can watch from the comfort of your covered porch as massive waves pound against the rocky shoreline. When the rain is pouring, you’ll be warmed by the fireplace and the heated bathroom floors.
In the summer months, you’ll enjoy equal access to the amenities of the resort, the many beaches and trails nearby, and the sometimes-bustling sometimes-sleepy town of Ucluelet. With the nicer weather, you’ll be better able to enjoy the outdoor seating and natural wonders that surround you, too.
I’m curious to hear from anyone else who has frequented the Black Rock Oceanfront Resort. What was your experience? Would you go back? Feel free to get in touch with a comment below, in the Prince of Travel Elites Facebook group, or in the Prince of Travel Club Lounge on Discord.