Perched above a rocky outcrop on the West Coast of Canada’s Vancouver Island sits one of the most unique hotels in the country. Set among tall fir trees and overlooking a rugged coastline, the Black Rock Resort is about as West Coast as you can get in Canada, and I got to experience it all first hand.
I have wanted to stay at the Black Rock Resort since images of it first popped up in my feed a few years ago. A beautiful building with a mix of steel, wood, rocks, and crashing waves at its front step. Well, just like my bucket list trip to Gaspé, it took a pandemic, or at least the tail end of one, to finally get there.
I spent three days checking out the Black Rock Resort and its nearby sites and activities. Here’s what I found.
Where is the Black Rock Resort Located?
The Black Rock Resort is located in the harbour town Ucluelet on the West Coast of Vancouver Island. It’s accessible by floatplane from Vancouver and Vicotria via Tofino Air. Harbour Air offers seasonal flights to Tofino. The nearby airstrip between Tofino and you Ucluelet has scheduled service by Pacific Coastal Airlines.
Although flying to Tofino or Ucluelet offers some incredible views, driving from Vancouver or Victoria is super scenic and includes some great stops along the way. The drive from Vancouver takes about five hours including an hour and forty-minute ferry ride to the island. From Victoria, it will take you four hours.
Note: At the time of writing this, there is a short stretch on Highway 4 that is under heavy construction. To allow for blasting, the road is often closed at scheduled times. Please consult the Tofino Tourism page for the latest details.
What Amenities and Services Does The Black Rock Resort Have?
The Black Rock Resort has a massive footprint yet is purposely discrete. The property consists of the main lodge, a stunning feat of architecture built into the shoreline, and several cabin suites surrounding it. The cabin suites are tucked between the massive trees and most offer ocean views.
The Black Rock’s main lodge is the properties hub and includes a lounge, restaurant, spa, ballroom, gym, and picture-perfect outdoor pools.
Spa and Pools
Overlooking the crashing waves, the Black Rock Resort features a hot tub and a small plunge pool. The latter brought some welcomed relief to the heat on our visit.
Overlooking the pool area is Drift Spa. Unfortunately, the spa was completely booked on my visit so I could not check it out. Looking at their menu, there are many soothing services available. Paired with its outdoor pool and hot tubs just steps away, I can only imagine how relaxing a time it would be.
There’s also a decent-sized gym on-site for those looking to sweat a little while on holiday.
The Black Rock Resort features both a lounge and a restaurant which are separated by a surge channel in the middle of the property. Currents is a 90 seat eatery with amazing sunset views. The Big Beach Bar & Lounge overlooks nearby Big Beach. The menu at each is Westcoast and, on my visit, only the Currents menu was being offered. As pandemic restrictions lift further, this should change.
Parking at the Black Rock Resort is free of charge and ample. There are two J1172 EV chargers free to use for registered guests.
Black Rock Resort Suites
On my visit, I stayed in a massive Two Bedroom Trail Suite. This room features a full kitchen, a separate living room with a pull out couch, fireplace, rain shower, soaker tub, heated tiles, and an expensive deck with amazing ocean views.
Although the suite sleeps six, the extra space was welcome as both Erin and I worked out of this room for one day. We found plenty of space to take our calls and work comfortably.
Aside from the views, having a full kitchen is a nice touch and makes for a great place to bunker down for a winter storm. Appliances are from Miele and include a convection oven/microwave, dishwasher, and fridge. We were visiting in the summer during a record heatwave so cooking was not in our best interest. Charcuterie boards, beer, and enjoying it with sunset views certainly were.
My morning routine over the three days was one of my favourite things about the hotel. No alarm clock, just the sound of waves, birds, and wind in the trees to wake me up. I then took advantage of the in-room Nespresso machine and made my way to the balcony with a book. Little reading was done as I found the end of my coffee cup without turning a page, instead, taking in the truly stunning scenery the hotel offers.
Sleeping to the sounds of the crashing waves was another highlight. At home, I have a Google home bedtime routine which includes sounds of the ocean to fall asleep to. We joked as at one point I caught myself asking Google to stop 🤦♂️ .
The Not so Good
Space, views, and nature more than makeup for some of the guestroom shortcomings. That said, there are some things to be aware of for your visit. For one, the rooms have no air conditioners. There is a portable fan and a cool ocean breeze however during a heatwave, air conditioning would be nice.
That said, in normal “wet coast“ weather, the Black Rock Resort would be the cosiest place in Canada. Our waitress at Currents commented on the heat saying last year, she did not wear shorts once. Under normal circumstances, I envision curling up with a book and hot drink in front of the fireplace while watching the massive waves crash on the black rocks below.
Another downfall was the room seemed a bit in disrepair. Cracks in the ceiling, stains on the carpet, and overall empty decor were a bit surprising to see. Our bed was also dated. It was so worn in that we literally slept in separate crevices in the mattress.
Now, we are just coming out of a pandemic that wrecked the travel industry. Maintaining a place as large as the Black Rock Resort is no small feat so I expect better days ahead.
What Is There To See and Do Near the Black Rock Resort?
Although the Black rock resort is a destination of its own, there are several sites and activities within a short stroll or drive.
Wild Pacific Trail
There is no shortage of places to take a stroll in Ucluelet. In fact, from the doorstep of the Black Rock, you can beach comb your way to two beaches or hop on the Wild Pacific Trail. This coastal trail is described as “a meditation with nature.” After a few steps in, it’s easy to see why. Beaches, bogs, bald eagles and even whales in the distance can all be viewed along the Wild Pacific Trail.
A little further south and on the tip of the peninsula, the Wild Pacific Trail does a loop, passing by Amphitrite Point Lighthouse. This is a great spot to take in a sunset or evening stroll.
Kayak rentals, whale watching tours, and fishing charters are available to book and depart from here. There’s also Ucluelet Brewing which has a beautiful patio overlooking the harbour.
Pacific Rim National park
A short ride up the highway and in between Ucluelet and Tofino you will find the Pacific Rim National Park. This is home to some seriously long stretches of sand and is Canada’s best surfing destination.
Located 40 km north of Ucluelet, Tofino is slightly larger and more touristy. Although that means more crowds, it also means plenty of dining options. Recommendations here include Rhino Coffee, Tofino Brewing, Wolf in the Fog, and The Shed. Tacofino is a must-stop on your way in or out of town.
Despite visiting during a heatwave and in rooms that could use some TLC, the Black Rock is an incredible retreat. Thanks to its rugged views, beautiful architecture, and rainforest setting, relaxing here is a given. I look forward to returning during the winter storm season to really put that cosiness to the test!
Stay tuned for my full three-day itinerary of things to see, do, eat and drink in Ucluelet a nearby Tofino!
What say you?
Thoughts on the Black Rock Resort?
— Black Rock Resort on Instagram —
Although I was provided with a complimentary stay, the experience, opinions, and ocean sound relaxation are my own.