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 Islands Information

Galiano Island, BC, Canada:

Galiano Inn
A Gulf Island Gem

By Jane Cassie
Photography by Brent Cassie

Island getaways possess a definite appeal for those in search of relaxation and romantic aspirations. Skirted by wave-lapping shores and distanced by a body of water, they offer an idyllic reprieve from businesses, babies and the bustling throngs of metropolitan centres.

At least, this certainly pertains to the recently opened gem that sparkles from the shores on BC's Gulf Island of Galiano.

Windows become aglow with soft incandescence and, from a distance, when nighttime lights majestically outline its frame, Galiano Inn appears to float on the water. Upon arriving after a short ferry ride, pleasure-seeking passengers discover that this island paradise, just a stone's throw from the terminal, is definitely no mirage.

They are ushered along its circular driveway to a garden rotunda where perennial blooms embrace an impressive Grecian fountain and West Coast cedar shingles cloak the Inn's cozy exterior.

The informal reception area doubles as an inviting lounge, enticing with butter-soft leather furnishings and a crackling fire. Novels from book-lined shelves and a treasure chest of games offer pleasurable pastimes, and displays of galleon models allude to the seaside setting. Pacific Rim artwork graces the walls and stairs leading to a lower level gallery host works of other talented artisans.

Throughout, there are touches of terra cotta, accents of wrought iron, and soothing French yellow hand-trowelled walls to imbibe a Mediterranean feel. They mix insouciantly with regional flavors such as post and beam ceilings, gleaming darkly burnished fir floors, and handsome layered sandstone.

Amidst it all, Pam and James Patchell discreetly welcome guests and see to every need. "We share all of the Inn's management duties," Pam proudly relays, "including the food and beverage end of things." With James at the helm of the culinary team and Pam responsible for staff, the Inn runs to perfection and has received rave reviews since its grand opening June 30, 2001.

Anchored at one end, adjacent an ocean-facing conference hall, is a full-featured spa. Here, sun-drenched treatment rooms help transcend the mind, body and soul with their heavenly offerings of massages, facials and other captivating body treatments. An outdoor hot tub soothes under starry nights and eventually more polished accommodations will hug the far shoreline of the three-acre property. Although plans are still in the making, they will mirror the current designer works of art.

These lavishly appointed suites could pass as Riviera villas if they didn't hold West Coast island titles. Wood burning fireplaces warm all ten interiors, while embracing decks boast Active Pass vistas. Their sumptuous baths, ensconced in Italian-tile, host jet or soaker tubs, glass block showers, and twenty-four karate gold fixtures that gleam in polished decadence. Couples rediscover intimacy while being blissfully freed from televisions, and sweet dreams are assured whether snuggling under down duvets that drape sleigh beds, French Provincial kings, or comfy queens towered by a canopy of wrought iron.

Bountiful breakfasts are included with each night's stay and, like other meals, are served in the oceanfront Atrevida Restaurant. While savoring morning specialties like poached eggs and smoked salmon delightfully doused in a rich hollandaise, or raspberry filled pancakes deliciously sweetened with maple syrup, guests enjoy a visual overload. Windowed walls wrap the view-boasting atrium to provide a perfect panorama from all fifty-six seats in the house. Beyond the grassy knoll where a scenic promenade hugs driftwood shore and corsets colorful gardens, nature provides the finest in entertainment. Stoic herons and sun-basking cormorants poise perfectly on ferry pylons while dolphins and seals break the surface of sun-glinted waves. Eagles soar above and pods of whales spout from the deep. As the sun rises from behind the silhouette of Mayne Island, a silent symphony of color is performed. A shell pink sky, shot with streaks of violet are a prelude to a crisp clear day and, backed by cloudless heavens, Mount Baker presides in sharp outline like a majestic sentinel.

Although this feature flick changes during lunch, dinner and from the outdoor patio's zoom-in outlook, the sensational cuisine, attributed to James and his creative culinary team, remains constant.

Evening extravaganzas extend from appetizers like the West Coast crab pot flavored with garlic, thyme and parmesan cheese to olfactory sensations such as garlic prawns seductively paired with creamy risotto, and New York pepper steak delicately doused in a demi-glaze. All are exquisitely presented and sinfully spectacular!

Strains of classical melodies drift from a baby grand and the flickering fire casts a soft glow over candlelit tables swathed in silver service. While sharing fine wine, the gourmet selections and a romantic ambience, couples gaze out over Sturdies Bay where the moon reflects on still waters, the stars blanket the sky and little white ferries transport rejuvenated passengers back to businesses, babies and the bustling throngs of metropolitan centres.

  • Hiking
  • Parks
  • Kayaking
  • Cycling
  • Art galleries
  • Gift shops / bookstores
  • Boat rentals
  • Diving tours
  • Golf course
  • Marina
At A Glance:
Galiano Inn
134 Madrona Drive - Box S24-C47
Galiano Island, BC, Canada V0N 1P0
Tel: 250-539-3388
Toll-free: 877-530-3939
Fax: 250-539-3338

Jane and Brent Cassie are a travel writer/photographer team. Follow their other adventures on their website -