Nestled in a secluded bay in British Columbia's fog-shrouded southern Gulf Islands, Poets Cove is a seaside resort built around an embrace of the liquid world. A 20-minute floatplane ride southwest from Vancouver delivers not only a top-notch hotel but incomparable diving and sea kayaking in the rich, icy green waters of Bedwell Harbor, where playful otters dart through kelp forests and killer whales vie with bald eagles for a tasty bite of salmon.
ROOM & BOARD: Relax après-adventure in the lodge's fireplace-warmed rooms, 22 in all, or soak in a private hot-tub-with-a-view in one of 15 cliffside two- or three-bedroom cottages. Squeeze in a massage and a visit to the eucalyptus steam cave (finished off with a body-tingling cold-water rinse) at Susurrus, the resort's spa. But don't be late for dinner: Chef Martini De Board, plucked from Whistler's renowned Aubergine Grille, cooks with fresh local ingredients like wild salmon, goat cheese from nearby Saltspring Island, and ebony mussels that he steams in apple cider. Incredibly, these little mollusks melt in your mouth like buttery pillows.
OUT THE BACK DOOR: Try breath-hold-diving 20 feet with resident guide Dan Hodgins, one of Canada's premier freediving instructors, or sail around the Gulf and San Juan islandsa gunkholer's paradise of hundreds of rocky-shored islets. If you prefer, stay on land and hike from the water's edge to the top of 889-foot Mount Norman, part of Canada's new Gulf Islands National Park Reserve and the highest point on South Pender Island.
DETAILS: Doubles, $168$613; 888-512-7638, www.poetscove.com