Ecotourism in Style at Sonora Resort, British Columbia

Our contributor explores the rugged and beautiful environment surrounding this luxurious resort

Helicopter at Vancouver International Airport.

Summer camp was never this good. A dozen of us climbed into a private helicopter at Vancouver’s International Airport. We were bound for Sonora Resort: an all-inclusive private getaway and member of the Relais & Châteaux collection of fine hotels and gourmet restaurants where outdoor adventure meets opulent luxury. Located on Sonora Island, the resort can only be accessed by boat, helicopter, or seaplane.

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During the 50-minute flight, I noted remotely populated areas along the Outer Discovery Islands along the passage between Vancouver Island and mainland British Columbia that are home to fish farms, fishing, kayak lodges, homesteaders, and logging camps. Calm emerald waters that swirl into tidal rapids throughout the channels surround snowcapped mountains and deep inlets. Bundled logs floated between the islands like meandering rafts.

The helicopter hovered above Sonora Resort. Set amid wild rugged terrain, Sonora offers a taste of paradise with every amenity possible. A swimming pool, mineral baths, spa, gym, tennis court, movie theater, games room, and nine-hole putting green are all within a short walk around the grounds. I could also sign up for guided salmon fishing trips, eco-adventure or kayaking tours, or hiking the trails. Evenings can be spent at Story Pointe, an outdoor fire pit encircled by logs and complete with hot chocolate and s’mores.


After a smooth landing, my bags were shuttled from the helicopter to my room as I walked down to the main Tyee Lodge for cocktails, cheese, and crostini. Like the rest of Sonora, the lodge looks out at Bute Inlet where Steller sea lions, Pacific white-sided dolphins, and Killer Whales can be seen from the deck. Next came lunch, a vibrant green celebration salad, artisan bread with New Zealand butter, and red pepper fennel soup.