It began with a dream of an off-grid lifestyle in the wilds of British Columbia. So in 1980, Nimmo Bay Spa pioneers Craig and Deborah Murray erected a quaint fishing lodge in the Great Bear Rainforest along British Columbia’s wild western coast. Thirty years and many changes later, the couple’s eldest son, Fraser, and his wife, Becky, now run an upscale, nature-oriented, sustainably minded spa destination that is, “Rooted by wilderness. Inspired by the land.”
Simply getting to the destination requires a sense of adventure, as Nimmo Bay is the only established development in its remote location. Transportation is only available via air and sea, using Vancouver as the launching point. It requires a bit of planning to prepare for a three-, four- or five-day stay, with arrivals and departures carefully coordinated two days each week.
Once onsite, visitors can enjoy an immersive experience in one of nine private chalets. Packages include three meals a day made from locally foraged, nourishing foods. The cost also includes all drinks (including alcohol), a game room, resort amenities and adventure gear.
When you’re ready to relax, you can get a massage with therapeutic and relaxation techniques as well as Shiatsu and Ayurvedic head massages. Unlike a typical massage nature soundtrack, the real-life nature sounds surround you, with birds overhead and a waterfall in the distance. Both in the massage areas and in your cabin, all personal care products are 100% natural — safe for your body and the environment.
“Our goal at Nimmo Bay is to live a life in balance with the environment around us — to participate in our ecosystem in a reciprocal and balanced manner with all we do, so sustainability and community are both things we are highly focused on,” said Beth Mosby, office administrator at Nimmo Bay.
You can then sign up for a group or private yoga session, offered both indoors and in the wild. Join a guide for a meditation walk through the woods, go for a hike, sign up for a fishing adventure, go snorkeling or simply wander along the beach collecting shells. Water is a basic element of healing, so jump into the Pacific Ocean or relax in a cedar hot tub situated at the base of a cascading waterfall. For a different kind of solitude, grab a kayak or a stand-up paddle board and hit the water.
Following a busy day of activities and relaxation, paddle out to the floating sauna for a decompressing steam. As the sun goes down, you can grab a glass of wine and head to the floating dock with a fire pit.
While self care is at the heart of the experience, you can rest assured that it is not at the cost of the sensitive surrounding ecosystem. The owners said, “We sustainably source our culinary ingredients and support local farms, use eco-friendly local products, support our surrounding communities through tourism and education, compost, recycle, carry out excess waste, convert our waste water to clean water suitable for re-entry to the environment, practice renewable energy and fund groundbreaking wildlife research and fin-fishing aquaculture activism.”
Sustainability was always part of the Nimmo Bay goal, beginning with an efficient Pelton wheel hydroelectric system that is fueled by melted snow and rainwater and propelled by the adjacent natural waterfall. This hydropower not only provides clean drinking water but powers up to 80% of the resort’s usage. The team also chooses to use floating docks as the resort expands rather than deforesting the nearby land.
Nimmo Bay represents more than a memorable, likely once-in-a-lifetime experience; it is also an example of how luxury lodging and nature immersion can coincide without damaging the planet. Nimmo Bay has been recognized by the Government of British Columbia with the Environmental Award for Industry, Business and Labour in 1999. The resort also received the Vancouver Island EcoStar Award for Lodging & Accommodation in 2018.
Photography by Jeremy Koreski via Nimmo Bay