Starting out on the alluring shores of Vancouver Island can be hazardous to a road triponce nestled there, we were half tempted to scrap the drive altogether. The Brentwood Bay Lodge & Spa, opened last May beside North America's southernmost fjord, on the Saanich Peninsula north of Victoria, is particularly dangerous in this regard. From the lodge's marina, you can set out on a dive boat (if the prospect of 48-degree water doesn't faze you) to explore a colony of glass sponges and some old warships recently imported to the seafloor. Or saddle into a kayak and paddle for hours around the deep-water inlets; the dock of the Butchart Gardens, Victoria's best-known tourist draw, lies a few minutes away by boat. The in-house spa, taking a cue from nearby vineyards, offers such enticements as the three-hour Vino Ritual, involving various antioxidant grape concoctions (both on the skin and down the gullet), including the Vino Stomp Pedicure. Each of Brentwood Bay's 33 suites, though, is something of a spa unto itself: With saltwater views, slate fireplaces, king-size platform beds, rice-paper lampshades, exotic bath salts, and jetted tubs, one could do nicely without ever leaving the room.
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