Inn of the Month: Resort at Quait Bay

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Savvy Traveler: Inn of the Month c 0501

Far away, in a place that time forgot, sits the floating Resort at Quait Bay. Nine miles by water from the nearest paved road, it's a corner of the earth where people don't keep track of time by clocks or calendars, but by the rhythms of nature.

If it sounds like the setting for a fairy tale, it is. Situated in a hidden cove deep in British Columbia wilderness, this luxurious sanctuary isn't the kind of place you just happen upon. To get here, you first hop a shuttle from Vancouver or Seattle to Tofino (on Vancouver Island's western shore), then take a 20-minute boat ride to the floating inn.

During the ride, boat captain Qaamina, a native of the Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations tribe, will point out bald eagles, black bear, otters and seals. As you glide past rugged snow-capped mountains and ancient Western hemlock, Sitka Spruce and Western red cedar, you'll feel the pull of this supernatural wilderness.

As Qaamina docks his boat alongside the renovated 110-foot barge, resort managers John and Adele Caton, three dogs in tow, will amble down the gangway to greet you. Bags will be whisked away to one of 16 immaculately appointed rooms as you're guided on a brief tour and then to the dining area for a glass of merlot or a cappuccino.

From here on out, the sky's the limit: Hike with a naturalist through one of the world's largest temperate rainforests; sail, canoe or sea kayak the sound; spend a day on the mighty Pacific tracking orcas, humpback and gray whales or trolling and downrigging for salmon and halibut. If your stomach's not up to ocean swells, fly-cast one of two lakes or five local rivers for trout. Or you can simply read on your private deck, soak in the outdoor hot tub, enjoy a spa treatment and eat exceedingly well. Fresh local seafood and produce find harmony in Chef Tim May's acclaimed menu. You may be in the middle of nowhere, but nowhere will you be more attentively pampered. Details: There is a two-night minimum stay and summer rates are $369 per night, including three meals and water transfers. Contact: 888-333-5405 or 250-726-8235; www.wildretreat.com.