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Nature’s Elements Envelop Your Wellness Getaway

By Tracey Rayson

Captivating Scenery from the Start

When you think wellness, rarely does the beginning of a mindful journey to relax and restore balance immediately encompass nature’s elements — air, earth, water — from the jump. But it can.

Heading to Vancouver Island’s Oak Bay Beach Hotel aboard Helijet’s 12-passenger Sikorsky S76 helicopter provides the perfect launch. A quick yet calming 35-minute convenient flight sets the tenor for tranquillity, a respite and refuge from the norms of your daily frenetic routine.

From Vancouver’s Harbour Heliport, take a moment to pause before boarding and centre yourself with a deep breath of sea air. Then, seated in supreme comfort, the copter lifts, hovers low and steady, and takes off. As you soar smoothly over the Strait of Georgia, it will ignite a sense of discovery, an immersive experience as the captivating scenery unfolds and your rejuvenating getaway begins.

“As the flight heads into the open Salish Sea and the diverse Gulf Islands, look for marine life below,” advises Jay Minter, Director of Marketing for Helijet International. Sightings are most common during spring and summer, he suggests. “Watch for pods of porpoise or Orcas.”

Flying over the ink-blue waterway of Haro Strait, indented by a maze of inlets and stands of dense forest, the Gulf islands stretch out on either side as you head towards the Strait of Juan de Fuca until rounding the southern tip of the Island to land at Victoria’s Harbour Heliport.

“It’s not every day, or everywhere, that guests can experience the smooth, comfortable flight of a Sikorsky S76 helicopter. This style of air travel truly is a special experience to start or wrap up any getaway,” reveals Minter.

Photo Credit: Garth Eichel

Peaceful Pampering

Photo Credit: Oak Bay Beach Hotel

To continue your relaxing vibe, Oak Bay Beach Hotel offers a guest shuttle (a 10-minute drive) from the heliport, providing an opportunity to forego the stressors of hailing a taxi or driving a rental in traffic.

Peace and serenity are the guiding principles of the property’s Boathouse Spa and the year-round outdoor heated seaside mineral pools flanked by their manicured vegetation. The main pool’s temperature is 34C/93F, and the two hot tubs are 40C/104F, each of which aim to rejuvenate and restore wellness.

“There are huge advantages to breathing the coastal air, coupled with the benefits of the mineral pools,” says Anneke Feuermann, Marketing & Public Relations Manager. “From the pool’s anti-inflammatory properties helping with muscle relaxation, to the mental relaxation, which goes hand-in-hand.”

A hot mineral bath can lower your blood pressure, help increase your circulation and raise your metabolism. They can also help reduce stress and improve your quality of sleep. Soak up the healing properties of the pools on the edge of the Salish Sea while savouring the ocean views out to the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

Photo Credit: Oak Bay Beach Hotel

“Upgrade any spa treatment to enjoy in the gazebo (seasonally and weather dependent), a real highlight with a 180-degree ocean view,” reveals Feuermann. “Also, having spa treatments that tie into pre and post-pool experiences is a nice combination our guests enjoy.”

You’ll be treated to the visually rich mix of colourful skies, cobalt one day, with warming sunshine, dark gray, maybe black storm clouds, and sunsets the colour of pressed grapes. “Many guests feel like they just pushed the restart button on themselves, no matter the weather,” says Feuermann.

The gentle ambient sounds of nature backdrop the pools, so you’ll be blissfully disengaged yet connected to the environment. “Our proximity to the ocean plays into every amenity we offer our guests, whether the spa or culinary, like our local fresh seafood, for example,” says Feuermann. “We use our surrounding resources and pull that into every experience.”

Nourish Your Body: Spa

Photo Credit: Oak Bay Beach Hotel

The Boathouse Spa incorporates a holistic approach to beauty and an entire philosophy that encourages the pursuit of a healthy lifestyle. Choose from a menu of treatments in the oceanfront treatment rooms like deep tissue massage, prenatal massage, reflexology, facials, etc. In addition, the Boathouse signature packages nourish your body and assist in rebalancing with minerals and vitamins in aiding both detoxification and relaxation.

“On April 1, we launched two new spa treatments, Inhale and Exhale,” says Feuermann. “It’s truly the first thing every guest does, so they’re aptly named.”

The Inhale body treatment is aromatic, energizing and profoundly grounding, inspired by the ocean’s natural currents. By contrast, the Exhale body treatment is aromatically firming to help rid the body of toxins.

Nourish Your Body: Cuisine

Photo Credit: Oak Bay Beach Hotel

“We’ve seen, especially recently, the search for wellness and how personalized it is; it’s not just smoothies and yogurt anymore,” explains Feuermann. “It’s a focus on taking care of your body. We have different outlets through our various restaurants that can feature different versions of wellness based on what our guests are looking for.”

Executive Chef Kreg Graham masters dishes with locally-sourced ingredients whenever possible, supporting purveyors in the community and across the Island. You can nosh on light bites and snacks al fresco from the Boathouse Kitchen & Bar (think charcuterie board with meat products from The Whole Beast, just down the road). Tuck into a handcrafted pizza at Faro, along with a tasting room and patio, or indulge in other casual fares at the Snug Pub, Victoria’s first neighbourhood pub. The 34-seat intimate ocean view Dining Room, with a refined and approachable menu, accommodates any occasion. Twice a month, beginning May to October, wine pairing dinners featuring a five-to-six course plated dinner will showcase a BC winery.

Guest Rooms & Suites

Photo Credit: Oak Bay Beach Hotel

Each room comes with either a kitchenette or a small kitchen, a terrific convenience, so guests have everything they need on the property, as Feuermann explains. “One of our favourite things to say is, ‘stay close to home, but feel far away,'” she adds.

Rooms are spa-inspired and cater to your luxury desires: bathrooms have heated tile flooring, rain showerheads and large soaker tubs. In addition, your BABOR skincare products are the same that are carried in the spa and used in treatments. “Those room amenities allow our guests to have a consistent experience no matter where they are in the hotel,” says Feuermann.

When You Go

For more information, visit or call toll free at 1-800-668-7758.

The Oak Bay Beach Hotel was recognized as the #1 hotel in Canada and #19 globally by Condé Nast Traveler 2021 Reader’s Choice Awards.

Book your trip now at or call Helijet Reservations at 1-800-665-4354.

Enjoy a complimentary glass of beer or wine, tea or coffee and a snack from their comfortable lounge in the Helijet terminals. Please arrive at least 20 minutes before departure.

Tracey Rayson is a freelance writer and editor who divides her time penning travel, business and lifestyle articles. Passionate about local travel, she’ll take the road less travelled, the direct route or busy ferry passage, as long as she ends up somewhere uniquely BC. Learn more at