Baillie Lodges new-look Clayoquot Wilderness Lodge in the remotes of Canada’s beautiful Vancouver Island will open on June 17 this year following an extended closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has offered an opportunity for the Australia-based luxury lodge operator to complete a $2million makeover on the acclaimed property.
Upgrades include a full renovation of interiors for the iconic property’s 25 luxury tents for a more contemporary look and feel, while specially commissioned furnishings from local designers will create a real sense of place. Meanwhile, a refreshed itinerary of wilderness adventures will also be introduced, including a series of signature experiences to be included in the rate.
Working closely with the team at KSL Capital Partners which has owned Clayoquot since April 2019, Baillie Lodges has embarked on a three-year strategy to elevate the guest experience and align the luxury wilderness lodge with the company’s growing portfolio of boutique lodges around the world.
As part of the plan, Clayoquot Wilderness Lodge will join Baillie Lodges sister properties Capella Lodge on Lord Howe Island, Longitude 131° at Uluru-Kata Tjuta, Huka Lodge in New Zealand and Silky Oaks Lodge in Queensland’s Daintree Rainforest which is set to open on October 1 this year. The company’s flagship property Southern Ocean Lodge was destroyed in the wildfires on Kangaroo Island in early 2020, an event that drew global media attention. Baillie Lodges is currently planning its rebuild.
The first stage in Clayoquot’s renovations has seen an interior refurbishment of its 25 luxury tents, leading with a lighter, more clean-lined vibe with luxurious linens, new king beds and generous lounging areas. The tents maintain their individual styles with views opening directly to Clayoquot Sound and its wilderness surrounds. A second stage in the renovations will take place after the 2022 season, and include a significant refurbishment to the Cookhouse Restaurant, bar and central guest facilities, as well as a makeover for the Healing Grounds Spa.
Renowned for its range of exhilarating adventures from horse-riding, whale and bear-spotting to canyoning and scenic helicopter flights as well as spa treatments and daily yoga, the new-look Clayoquot features an itinerary of signature experiences to showcase the natural highlights of Vancouver Island, and align it with the all-inclusive nature of the existing Baillie Lodges properties.
Lodge General Manager Sarah Cruse has returned to lead the team at Clayoquot along with her many loyal Canadian staff members who know and love the property. Some of Baillie Lodges’ key staff have also joined the Clayoquot family this year; Executive Chef Asher Blackford, formerly of sister property Southern Ocean Lodge, has taken the helm in the kitchen while Assistant General Manager Kate Hollick, formerly of Longitude 131° is already enjoying this very different wilderness setting.
Ms Cruse said the team was beyond excited to be opening the luxury camp and once again welcoming the guests that really bring it to life, following an extended hibernation in 2020 and into 2021.
“We are super pumped to be showing the new-look Clayoquot to a new generation of keen travellers; it’s been quite quiet here aside from the renovation works and the good sounds of rumblings in the kitchen,” Ms Cruse said.
“The whole team here just can’t wait to welcome our friends to experience all that Clayoquot has to offer, from Chef Asher’s wildly beautiful, locally sourced dishes to adventures on horseback or by helicopter in this magnificent wilderness,” she said.
“Clayoquot has always been a breathtakingly beautiful destination, here on Vancouver Island’s wild west coast. The fresh new Baillie Lodges look and feel – and sense of feel-at-home inclusion for our guests – will add tremendously to the experience at Clayoquot.”