HMB Lodge & Retreat: It’s Just So Easy

I was looking forward to a day with just me and the mister after a hectic week that included making Valentine’s cards with a 5-year-old and 3-year-old whose idea of fun is mushing together my expensive and brand new (unopened since I bought them 5 years ago) craft ink stamping pads (“Look Mommy! A new colour!”). Scratch that: I was looking forward to a day with just me and the mister because the last time we were together, alone, with no kids, for more than 3 hours was my third kid’s birthday 15 months, 5 days, 17 hours and 52 minutes ago.

Armed with gift certificates for spa services at the Honeymoon Bay Lodge & Retreat (thanks to the ever-generous Sheila Ie, editor of the Cowichan Valley Voice), the mister and I drove out of a drizzly Maple Bay and into the sunshine along the south side of Lake Cowichan. (Is it Lake Cowichan or Cowichan Lake? I always thought the former until we drove past the big “Welcome to Cowichan Lake” sign).

We were greeted at the lodge by Tim, the soft-spoken and gracious owner, who is quietly passionate about this facility. He and his wife have made many modifications to what used to be a school, and now accommodates 17 bedrooms, a dining room, meeting rooms, and a hot tub.

Tim helped us plan our day at the retreat. Spa services first, followed by a complimentary lunch in the dining room, then a walk around Honeymoon Bay to digest our meal, and lastly a dip in the outdoor hot tub before heading back home.

As the mister said, it was just so easy. Thanks to Tim, the only decision I had to make during the entire visit was whether or not to have a second helping of chicken chili from the lunch buffet. Tim’s gentle and helpful manner extends to his whole staff; they all made us feel like we were their priority.

Having walked around Honeymoon Bay (the entire turn took 20 minutes), we wondered why so many people drive to the Okanagan in the summer when this is in our backyard? A huge pristine lake with hardly anyone on it. Coming from the UK where every single space is accounted for and inhabited, the mister is blown away by the potential in our relatively young country.

Where was this place when we were getting married? It’s perfect for group events. In fact, there was a large group of scrapbookers working hard on creative projects. They would have empathized with my heartbreaking story of two ink pads colliding to make one, dark, indefinable colour. They probably have a few horror stories of their own. Maybe next year, I’ll ditch the kids and the mister and book myself into the lodge to make Valentine’s Day cards for the kids’ classmates on my terms.

Did you know? BC Transit has a bus service all the way out to Gordon Bay. Makes for a cheap excursion with the kids!

How to get there

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4 comments

  1. Hi Maeve, Thanks for the tip about the lovely destination! And you and the mister are so right; we need to take better advantage of what’s in our own backyard…why take an expensive ferry and drive for hours, when you can get away right here? Just wanted to add, though, that although Cowichan Lake (or Lake Cowichan–so confusing! I think one is the name of the lake, the other the name of the town) is lovely and quiet in the off-season, it’s definitely packed and well-used all summer. We don’t go camping there in the summer because of the endless powerboats and cheek-to-jowl summer residents…but it’s so close, it might be worth checking out. It’s still beautiful, just BUSY!

  2. .. and your question about “is it Lake Cowichan or Cowichan Lake?”
    Always kinda confused me too.. but near as I can figure it, the town is called Cowichan Lake, and the Lake is called Lake Cowichan. Which seem kinda counter-intuitive, I know. Or maybe I’ve got it backwards. But I don’t think so…

  3. Love your articles Maeve, just to add a tidbit, we had a wonderful weekday afternoon this summer lazily floating down Cowichan River. It was an awesome leisurely way to while away a few precious hours of together time. I highly recommend it! Marian Lord

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