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Looking to recreate your own Eat Pray Love experience with great food, spiritual enlightment and romance right here in BC? You're in luck!
BC’s got just the restaurants, scenery and romantic retreats you’ll want for your own Eat Pray Love journey
So if eating, praying and loving your way around BC’s best restaurants, wellness retreats and romantic getaways is your idea of self-discovery, then pack your bags, you’re in for one fine journey.
Cin Cin, Vancouver: The chaos of everyday life comes to a halt the moment you enter Cin Cin, a heavenly Tuscan-inspired dining room. Its extensive wine list and seasonally focused contemporary Italian menu are sure to awaken your inner Elizabeth Gilbert and have you going back for seconds. Zucchini blossoms stuffed with buffalo mozzarella, wild spring salmon with fava bean ravioli and chanterelle mushrooms, and raspberry brulee are a few of the decadent summer dishes available on this Italian tasting tour.
SoBo, Tofino: For a taste of the Mediterranean on BC’s west coast, try family owned and operated SoBo, a Tofino gem honoured with countless kudos and awards. It offers an imaginative, sustainable menu prepared with fresh, locally produced ingredients. House favourites include the duck confit pizza topped with caramelized onions, soft blue cheese, walnuts and balsamic glaze, a beautifully flavoured saffron and tomato Bouillabaisse overflowing with freshly caught seafood, and unbelievable margaritas prepared daily with freshly squeezed key limes.
Aura, Whistler: Nothing inspires like delicious food combined with an unbeatable view. The newly opened Aura restaurant in Nita Lake Lodge is a truly unforgettable culinary experience that offers both. Ingredients for the restaurant’s creative, thoughtful cuisine are sourced seasonally from local farmers and artisan producers, and picked from the hotel’s rooftop garden. While the menu is ever changing, the exceptional quality and commitment to the food’s true flavour are unwavering. Smoked albacore tuna and trout with sweet potato puree are two of the outstanding dishes on this month’s menu. From its breathtaking lakefront setting to its flawless food, Aura is pure perfection.
Hollyhock, Cortes Island: A sacred place designed for stillness, reflection and growth, Hollyhock is an internationally renowned wellness centre on beautiful Cortes Island offering programs for strengthening the mind, body and spirit in a spectacular oceanfront setting. Month-long Karma yoga practices, restorative getaways and Hollyhock’s signature cooks program are a few of the packages available at this peaceful place of refuge for the soul.
Hastings House Country Guest House, Salt Spring Island: Forgoing life’s finer things to experience a spiritual awakening is not required on spectacular Salt Spring Island. The luxurious waterfront Hastings House offers wellness retreats that start in style with a champagne cocktail welcome reception. Throughout the magical four-day retreat you’ll downward dog, explore the tranquil island and feast on award-winning farm-fresh cuisine.
Coastal Trek Health & Fitness Resort, Comox Valley: If you’re of the mind that balance is achieved through physical fitness, then escape to the great outdoors to challenge and revitalize both body and mind. Located in the breathtaking Comox Valley, Coastal Trek offers fitness programs that begin each day with yoga at sunrise followed by guided hikes in the area’s stunning alpine terrain. During your stay at this blissful west-coast retreat you’ll dine on delicious organic cuisine and discover how to incorporate the lessons learned into your home life. Of course balance is a must, and so each three-night retreat includes a well-deserved therapeutic massage to relax your new muscles.
Wickaninnish Inn, Tofino: Hailed by Condé Nast as the most romantic hideaway in North America for 2010, Tofino’s Wickaninnish Inn is sure to bring on that loving feeling. This Relais & Chateaux destination resort, perched on a jagged point overlooking Chesterman Beach, features deluxe rooms and suites, an exceptional restaurant and lounge, and the incredible Ancient Cedars Spa, which should be experienced by everyone visiting Tofino. Early-morning beachcombing, leisurely walks around the Rainforest Trail and the magical scenery of Clayoquot Sound are sure to kindle the romance at this luxury love nest.Victoria’s Inner Harbour: Quaint, historical Victoria offers a vibrant and scenic setting for strolling hand-in-hand with your honey. A horse-drawn carriage ride through picturesque streets lined with cafes and boutiques is a leisurely and romantic way to explore the lively harbour. After a morning of discovery, enjoy a delicious assortment of finger sandwiches, teas and delectable desserts at High Tea in The Fairmont Empress Hotel (https://www.fairmont.com/empress/). Complete your romantic day by indulging in a couples massage at the hotel’s Willow Stream Spa (https://www.willowstream.com/empress), which was recently chosen by Condé Nast as one of the top five spas in Canada.Rockwater Secret Cove and Spa, Halfmoon Bay: Rockwater’s lavish tenthouse suites offer the perfect romantic escape with deluxe furnishings, private verandas and hydro-therapy tubs overlooking the sparkling waters of Secret Cove. In summer and early fall, couples massages are offered al fresco in open-air spa-tents that showcase panoramic ocean views. A fine-dining restaurant featuring regional cuisine complemented by spectacular sunsets completes this lover’s paradise.
Learn how to create a cheaper, at-home version of an Eat Pray Love journey. Here’s how one Vancouver mom took an Eat Pray Love day.
Mhairri Cuthbert is a travel writer at Arrivals. Visit their blog for additional links, information and photos on BC destinations.