Top 10 weird and/or wonderful V.I. Airbnbs
By Sean Enns
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last decade, you’ll have heard of Airbnb. For that matter, even if you have been living under a rock, you were probably charging people $200/night to share the experience.
A pioneer in the sharing economy alongside Uber and Etsy, Airbnb was initially conceived as a quick-fix response to a shortage of hotel space in San Francisco. Today, the company boasts over 7-million accommodations worldwide, more than all the hotels in the world combined.
For better or worse, Airbnb is still open for business during the the COVID-19 crisis. The better: Through their FrontlineStays initiative, they’re partnering with hosts to connect 100,000 healthcare staff and first responders with places to stay that allow them to be close to their patients—and safely distanced from their own families. The worse: Many other hosts are advertising their accommodations under the tags “Perfect for Quarantine,” or “COVID-19 Free.” That’s in spite of advice from federal and regional health authorities to stay home and avoid all non-essential travel.
Please follow their advice. Meantime, though, we can still dream about travel, and while for many of us an expensive tropical getaway or international trip in the post-isolation world might not be in the cards, there are plenty of options to look forward to right here in our backyard.
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As a destination, Vancouver Island is a traveler’s paradise. We have some of the best hiking, biking, kayaking, and scuba diving in the world. We have beach front resorts and oceanside accommodations aplenty, and, if those don’t do it, more quirky Airbnbs than you can shake a stick at.
And who’s to say that, when the day comes that we can move freely again, off-Islanders should have all the fun? Maybe you’ll be annoyed with your spouse after too much time together (Baroness Fiona Shackleton of Belgravia has been quoted as saying that prolonged exposure to one’s spouse leads to increased divorce rates), maybe you’ll need to unplug and relax for a day or two after all the pandemic stress, or maybe you’ll just decide to treat yourself.
Whatever the reason, these top 10 weird and/or wonderful Airbnbs on V.I. will provide the sort of authentic and definitely unique experience that Airbnb-ers crave:
A Cozy Family get away suite (Nanaimo)
Dreaming of that boys’ trip to Pebble Beach, but don’t have the cash to get there? No problem! This suite is perfect for the golfer-on-a-budget. It’s yours for $90/night (plus fees). Besides the backyard putting green, it comes with a foosball table.
(By the way, wherever we quote a rate here, please assume the “plus fees” part so we don’t start to bore you. Moving right along . . .)
While it’s not remotely comparable to the wonder of the new world it’s named for, in scale, scope, or cultural influence, the Garagemahal in Duncan does have a certain rustic charm. Featuring wood beams, a fireplace, and for some reason, a hand saw nestled above the coat rack, this converted garage could be yours for just $65+/night.
LEAF Dome (Tofino)
If you’ve spent your entire life never having heard the phrase “luxury boutique glamping,” then you’re welcome. The WILDPODs are a collection of six, geodesic domes just moments away from Tofino. Starting at $261+/night, each dome has a queen-size bed with 300-thread count Egyptian cotton sheets, solar-powered heat and insulation, kitchenette, and panoramic views of the Tofino harbour.
Would you, could you, on a boat? The short answer is, “yes!” Just make your way to the Port Sidney marina for this floating getaway. With views of the Sidney harbour above and below decks, and a full suite of amenities, you can safely say “bon voyage” to your bothers.
Waverly Hotel (Courtenay)
I stayed there one night after a Tanya Tagaq concert, and, trust me, when the joint is jumpin’, you won’t be getting a lot of sleep. Still, for just $75+/night, you’re moments away from endless opportunities for outdoor adventures. If you can’t schedule around live music nights, earplugs might work.
Float Home (Cowichan Bay)
With a 20-night minimum, we’re not sure this one qualifies as a getaway. And it won’t take you on an ocean trip, either. Even so, for around $1,500 all-in for 20+ days, this charmer in the certified Cittaslow community of Cowichan Bay, with oceanfront views, two bedrooms, and a full kitchen, will definitely make for a great retreat.
Lagoon Float Camp (Tofino)
It’s hard to get farther away than a floating camp in Clayoquot Sound. Remember glamping? The Lagoon Float Camp offers a tent on a dock for $345+/night. For your dollars, you get a full kitchen and bath, a single bedroom with queen bed, and wood-fired sauna.
Morning Glory Cottage (Nanaimo)
An odd little cabin hidden in the heart of Nanaimo’s University District, it’s the perfect place to binge-read that detective series you’ve been putting off for all these months. From just $80+/night, Morning Glory is full of books, custom woodwork, and enough curiosities to keep you inside for days on end.
Sleep on a Boat (Alert Bay)
Only suckers watch eagles soar overhead from the safety of land. The Passagemaker1 is a 75-foot ex Royal Canadian Navy Dive Tender (that’s a boat) featuring three bedrooms, a full kitchen with gas stove and oven, and views of Alert Bay.
Frog Song Yurt (Cobble Hill)
Boasting an experience that’s “more tranquil than Tofino in July,” this 700-square-foot yurt on a five-acre farm in Cobble Hill starts at just $89+/night and has 14-foot ceilings (do Yurts have ceilings?), a full kitchen, and an Orwellian array of barnyard animals to spend your time with.
From tiny putt-putts, to boats, to mid-meadow yurts, the Island’s Airbnbs offer every type of accommodation you can imagine, with the exception of treehouses. Though if you’re willing to step away from Airbnb and spend a bit more, it turns out we have those too.
Top photo: SeaSuite