There are many types of getaways. There are those that can involve a host of friends, bottle service, loud music, skimpy clothes and staying up till the wee hours. There are others that involve only you and your boo snuggled in front of a warm fire after a long day of skiing. And then there are the getaways where you need a break from everyone and everything - maybe even your daily self. I recently needed one of these but didn’t want to go too far. As Bowen Island was only 20 minutes by ferry from Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver, itself only a 15 minute drive from downtown Vancouver, it seemed like the perfect destination.
Since I had needed some down time mentally and emotionally, I decided on a yoga retreat. Many of my friends have done these before in places locally and abroad and have raved about its benefits. I didn’t quite know what to expect but booked myself into Nectar Yoga B&B for their Nectar Loft yoga package which included a two-nights’ stay in their Nectar Loft - a beautifully Scandinavian styled cabin with bespoke interiors that really made you feel at home.
The loft space, which houses the sleeping quarters with an organic cotton queen size bed, makes you feel like a kid again with a ladder for access. There’s also a Canadian-made pull-out couch with memory foam mattress in the living room that can sleep an additional two people. A small but extremely functional kitchenette with a fridge and all the accoutrements that you can imagine has been provided for you should you wish to cook your own meals. It’s great for making your own tea at night or making coffee in the middle of day. You won’t need it for breakfast as it’s provided for you as part of the experience. From homemade waffles with strawberries and maple syrup, yogurt with bananas, cinnamon and chia seeds, to homemade blueberry jam from Clark’s family farm. Everything is made with love and the best local ingredients.
If there’s one thing I’ve noticed is that Clark is a highly detailed person with a fantastic eye for interior design; likely attributed to her background as a graphic designer. All the soaps, conditioners and body washes in the cabins are of course, eco-friendly. There aren’t even any plastic bags lining the garbage cans and instead they’re cleaned out very meticulously after each guest departs. When you walk into the space, you can immediately feel a sense of calm around you. With the loft, you immediately notice how voluminous the space is - and the slabs of hardwood floor and sisal rugs lend a feeling of a modern rustic aura.
The entire property is over 1.2 acres and includes the Nectar Loft, the Forest Cottage (that has a private outdoor shower) and Clark’s own residence, which she rents out for larger retreats. It's a beautiful space filled with natural light and high ceilings with exposed beams. The original owner who was apparently an eccentric craftsman, handmade the windows and casings. You just don’t find houses built like that anymore.
Perhaps the most memorable experience was practicing yoga in Clark’s studio - a geodesic dome near the back of the property where the inside is flooded with natural light and floors lined in a fragrant cedar. Let me tell you, I’ve never experienced yoga in a space like this. In fact, people from all over the world - as far as Singapore - travel just to practice yoga in Clark’s dome. Like Summerhill’s Pyramid Winery, there’s both an art and a science to the structure, direction and mathematics of space within a given confine that influences the energy around you. Clark’s studio is believed to be the only one at least in Western Canada constructed in the form of a geodesic dome. As part of the Nectar Loft yoga package, you get assisted meditations in the morning and evening in addition to morning and afternoon yoga classes. In other words, you get to spend a lot of time in the dome.
Clark - a yoga teacher well before she purchased the property over two years ago - started Nectar Yoga B&B as a means to marry both her desires to open a B&B and teach yoga. Fueled by a passion for giving back and helping people achieve catharsis, Clark now feels like she’s doing her life’s work - and she’s only 33. I’ll be publishing a separate interview with Clark in a couple weeks. She’s a pretty amazing woman who has been able to juggle running this business, maintaining the property and teaching yoga, at the studio and abroad in her many yoga retreats around the world (including one in Ibiza!!). Although we’re well past International Womens Day, Clark is an inspiration and has created a beautiful sanctuary for a brief escape. I highly recommend this place - you won’t be disappointed.