Our Oceanside Retreat

TighnamaraWe are staying in the same Vancouver Island lodge resort we stayed in on our honeymoon – the Tigh-Na-Mara, in Parksville.

The view, above, from our room’s huge deck is spectacular, worth a million bucks… the beach and tide flats go on for miles and make for wonderful walking and beachcombing. The room is cozy, with log beams, a gas fireplace, and a jetted tub. The food at the lodge dining room is excellent, if you want to spring for a fine dining experience with every meal – that’s not really our style (nor our budget!)

Tighnamara ViewThe lodge now has a high-priced destination spa, with all the body treatments you can think of – facials, skin, manicure/pedicure, massages, etc. I’m mostly not a massage fan – although I do enjoy a really good pedicure/footrub – I think it’s the whole intimate touchy-feely with a stranger thing.

I am very disappointed that there is no internet access to any of the lodge rooms – and this is a pretty high-end resort. I can go to the conference center and use wireless there – but from a convenience and family vacation perspective, that’s pretty disruptive. Having it and not choosing to use it is a vacation. Not having it available at the price I’m paying is frustrating.

Update, day before checkout: I have actually been quite disappointed with the resort throughout my stay here. It’s as if they are coasting on their million dollar view and fabulous facilities – and
providing fair-to-poor customer service.

Sometimes it’s the little things – like not following through with their commitment to eco-friendly housekeeping practices.

And then there were the bigger issues – like housekeeping throwing away an expensive package of barely used cigars from the back deck during their visit. Or not vacuuming our room – once – during our stay.

Or the final straw. When we called the front desk to let them know we wanted to depart a day early, we were informed, “I’m sorry, we have a five day cancellation policy, we’ll have to charge you for that night.” Nothing more. No customer service inquiry like, “I’m sorry to hear that, is there a problem, or anything we can do to make your stay more enjoyable?” Just, “We have your money, we’re going to keep it, do what you want.”

So, we stayed the original duration, under duress. And didn’t spend one thin dime at the resort outside of our room – not at the spa, the restaurant, the bar, nothing. And we won’t be back, nor recommend this place to others, because a great resort requires more than a nice room and a high price to be truly special.

4 Responses to “Our Oceanside Retreat”

  1. Brenda Says:

    What an amazing vacation you’re having! But I can’t blame you one bit for being miffed about the lack of private internet access. Ok yes, I was spoiled at the Great Wolf Lodge with it… it’s nice to be all caught up with uploading photos & blogging after returning from the trip.

  2. Becca Says:

    Looks like you are having a great vacation. I agree with you on the internet access. We constantly look for wireless when we travel. Sad when you pay top dollar you can not find that as an amenity. I hope more places figure it out soon before they lose customers. Maybe more of us should start complaining.

  3. Holy Says:

    Tigh-Na-Mara is grossly over-rated. I can think of other properties I would far rather splurge the dollars on…tons of great boutique properties on the island.

    But location, location, location. I don’t so much mind not having the wireless in the rooms from a vacation standpoint – I applaud properties like Kilmorey Lodge in Waterton National Park in Alberta who refuse to go high-tech and ruin their rustic appeal…but if they’ve got it elsewhere in the property, they should have it in the rooms too.

    Anyhoo, sounds like your vacation is going well otherwise. I envy you – I miss the Island and long time no Tofino.

  4. Jeri Says:

    Brenda – I thought it was too funny that we were both lodge-retreating at the same time. :)

    Becca – as we left, there was a very irate man complaining about numerous items to management on the front step to his room – and he was paying lots more than us! I just left my complaints in writing – and on the blog.

    Holy – I agree, if I’d been seeking a remote rustic vacation, many lodges have that! This one just did not deliver at the level it wanted to think it was playing at, if that makes sense. Too bad – ten years ago it was quite charming.

    All in all, I’m glad we went – but we could have spent a couple days less and been just fine.