Unordinary Lodging Found at Exceptional Hotel Zed Tofino in BC


Colorful mid-century Hotel Zed Tofino exterior shot
Hotel Zed is Alive with Mid-Century Modern Colors © Hotel Zed

Hotel Zed Tofino is proud to say they “Rebel against the Ordinary” and offer an unconventional and fresh perspective on hotel amenities. It is unlike any other hotel and raises the bar for family hotels. Located on the stunning west coast of Vancouver Island in the Clayoquot Sound UNESCO Biosphere Region, Tofino is one of the best places to take your family on holidays. Whether you drive from Victoria, the beautiful capital of British Columbia, or travel on other scenic routes, this bucket-list trip will enthrall your family with the sights and sounds along the way.

Ride the World's First Bike Path through a hotel lobby at Hotel Zed Tofino!

Hotel Zed Tofino is an Exceptional Family Hotel

While driving along the Pacific Rim Highway, carved from old-growth forests, stop and watch the waves from the mighty Pacific Ocean roll onto magnificent log-strewn beaches. Then, after a short drive, you will arrive at Hotel Zed, painted in forest greens and happy mid-century modern colors.

The bright décor continues indoors, starting with the organic, warm colors of the front desk. Everyone will love the spacious guest rooms and suites with bold accent pieces, comfy lounge chairs, and the fabulous showers! But Hotel Zed Tofino isn’t just fun! Every perfectly curated item makes an unabashed statement: “Hotel Zed is different! Hotel Zed stands for something!” And, if you need more evidence of Hotel Zed’s swankiness? Well, there is a bike path—right through the Lobby!!

Hotel Zed Tofino is One of the Most Instagrammable Hotels

It doesn’t take a crystal ball to see why Hotel Zed is so well known. So, get a photo of the kids in the psychic den. Then, make a reel in the Mini Disco with the interactive light display. Next, take pics in the Retro Office, where the kids tell YOU to pick up the rotary dial phone and book a meeting for them! Plus, the custom-made Driftwood VW Bus is an Instagram jewel not to be missed!

A VW Van made completely of Driftwood VW Van at Hotel Zed Tofino
The Driftwood VW Van at Hotel Zed Tofino is Fun for Everyone! © Hotel Zed


Hotel Zed Tofino’s Outdoor Activities

There are so many things to do in Tofino, and many of them are at Hotel Zed. You can experience a new adventure, whether spring or fall, sunny or rainy.  So sit, run, watch, listen, and absorb the magic around you.

The Bird Sanctuary Near Hotel Zed Tofino is Perfect Spot for Nature Lovers

The CEO of Hotel Zed Tofino, Mandy Farmer, and her team created a hotel with families in mind. Initially, they selected the 4 acres of rainforest to embrace the hotel, providing a peaceful, bird-song-filled slice of heaven. Here, families can reconnect with nature—and each other. Also, Hotel Zed Tofino is on the traditional land of the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation, which holds these lands sacred. So, make sure the family takes the short walk down the forest path to a raised boardwalk designed to protect the beloved land and bird sanctuary. Finally, relax in the chairs and take in the stunning inlet views from this extraordinary Tofino property.

The Boardwalk to the Bird Sanctuary looks like black and white Piano Keys, as it winds through the grass to the beach.

Hotel Zed Tofino’s “All Rebels Playground”

However, if you are looking for something more active to do outside, there are plenty of options! Head to the “All Ages Rebel Playground,” a popular spot with Italian bowling, shuffleboard, and more. Luckily, the playground is lit at night, making younger children feel like they are on a grand adventure. Of course, everyone loves the ping pong table between the hotel’s two wings, making ball retrieval a snap. So, if you want to learn table tennis, this is the perfect place.

Two children play shuffleboard at the Rebel Playground, now, how fun is that!
Take Time to Play at the Rebel Playground – photo credit – Hotel Zed

Ride the Amazing Bike Path-Right through Hotel Zed Tofino!

And with bike rentals available at Swell Tofino on the property, it is easy to ride the bike path through the Lobby to the off-road bike trail stretching from the coastal village of Tofino to Ucluelet. This route offers easy access to the best surfing beaches in Canada. Alternatively, ride across the road to family-friendly Chesterman Beach and savor the stunning ocean views.

Showerhead mounted on a surfboard create Showers Outside at Hotel Zed Tofino

Learn to Surf at the Surfing Capital of Canada

Tofino is known as the surfing capital of Canada, so if you want to learn to surf, this is the place to start. Swell Tofino offers surf rentals and lessons. I recommend private lessons for children ages 5 to 13. Swell instructors provide safe and fun lessons plus everything your child needs to get out on the (small) waves. Parents can cheer from the beach or don a complimentary wetsuit and get in the water! Parents and older teens can also arrange private lessons or join a group for added camaraderie. The instructors will choose the safest beach for that day. Still, Cox Bay and North Chesterman usually provide the best and safest experience.

Rainy Day? Kids Have Cabin Fever?

While we all dream of beach vacations where we wriggle our toes in the warm sand, your family can have plenty of fun when Mother Nature decides to water her garden. There is much to do inside the hotel, and no umbrellas are needed!

Hotel Zed Tofino has a Cozy Sunken Living Room with freestanding fireplace

An expansive sunken living room is the hub of the hotel. Families play board games, kids read comic books, and laughter abounds. Hot chocolate, lattes, and cookies from ROAR Coffee and Shop enhance the easy, comfortable feeling. The mid-century modern hanging teardrop fireplaces also add to the living room’s coziness.

Nearby is an exotic-looking psychic’s den (photo alert!) with a drop-in tarot reader for older kids and parents. Or have the kids read the crystal ball themselves! But the mini-disco with a light-up floor is a great spot to take the kids. With the music playing and lights pulsing on the floor, it is time to rebel against the pull of the sofa, move your body, and sing some songs!

The hotel also boasts a hidden 80’s arcade—a games room where your children will enjoy winning a game! And the kids will be pleased to know there is free Wi-Fi for homework. Doing it in the retro office with a rotary phone and mid-century décor makes it more fun!


While the Kids are Away …

If that isn’t enough, there are plenty of options for adults who want to kick back and soak in the relaxed vibe at Hotel Zed! First, experience the ultimate self-care massage on heated tables at Stillwater Nature Spa’s tent. Amid nature, immerse yourself in the healing space and enjoy a customized massage. Next, enjoy Hotel Zed’s outdoor hot tub or cedar barrel sauna—both are complimentary for Hotel Zed guests. And with bird songs floating through the forest, you will feel a sense of bliss you will long remember.

Alternatively, you could relax on the outside patio—a popular spot with hotel guests. Enjoy a glass of BC wine or a unique seasonal cocktail from the bar at ROAR Restaurant. The cocktail “Old Growth,” with Vancouver Island arbutus brandy and Italian vermouth, has to be the ultimate Tofino cocktail! But I tried the Spyhopper with red cedar-infused rum because I am a big whale fan. I have had whales “spy hop”—raise their head vertically out of the water and watch—me when boating many times.

ROAR is a Live Fire Restaurant for the Whole Family Fire blazing as food is cooking

ROAR Restaurant is a Hotel Zed Tofino Must-Do

Just as Hotel Zed isn’t like any other hotel, ROAR—the in-house live-fire restaurant— isn’t like any other restaurant! ROAR is part of the Tribal Park Allies, supporting the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation’s goal to support ecological protection, their culture’s resurgence, and the ancestral garden’s restoration.

Whether you go for a family meal or a romantic dinner, this exceptional restaurant is a Tofino hotspot you must experience! With fresh food cooked in 800-degree coals, the fanfare is entertaining (Yes, Chef!)

Furthermore, every dish is expertly prepared and creatively plated. But the exquisite taste, with the slightest hint of smoke, tantalizes the taste buds that evoke—or create—memories to treasure. ROAR serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner with vegan and child-friendly options.

Salmon at ROAR looks delicious, and is served over corn salsa.
ROAR Salmon is Delicious, as well as beautiful to look at! © Linda Sheppard

What are the Best Things to Do in Tofino?

Of course, the trendy town of Tofino has coffee shops, a great bakery, and an eclectic mix of restaurants. Try the Tacofino food truck and enjoy Gringas and Burritos (Ole!). Then, take a one-minute walk to Chocolate Tofino, where you can indulge in west-coast-inspired chocolates and gelato. So yummy! Or find a great spot to linger in the village of Tofino and munch a sweet doughnut or sip a coffee from Rhino Coffee House.

Most importantly, downtown Tofino has many family adventure companies like the Whale Centre for whale, bird, and bear-watching tours. Another great option is to take a sunset flight with Tofino Air. Or book a session with Tofino Breath and Meditation for beach yoga and heavenly relaxation.

Long view of Chesterman Beach with rocky shoreline
Chesterman Beach is Perfect for Families © Linda Sheppard

The Beach Across the Road from Hotel Zed Tofino is Perfect for Families

Most importantly, go to the beach! Chesterman Beach across the road is the best place for tidal pool exploration, picnicking, surfing, and running! Yes, every beach in Tofino is stunning, but North Chesterman is a 7-minute walk from the hotel and has it all! At low tide, the tidal pools reveal a galaxy of anemones, sea stars, crustaceans and other sea life.

And the rippled sand is perfect for sand castles; kites fly high when the wind blows. Pack a picnic from ROAR Coffee and Shop and find a cozy spot in the logs to enjoy their delicious food. Surfing is best on South Chesterman Beach. Rent your board from Swell Tofino at Hotel Zed, and you are ready to go with the flow!

First Nations Cultural Event

Spend a night experiencing songs, dances, and carvings over an indigenous dinner at naa?uu! a cultural experience presented by the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation. The 3-hour event is a great option for families in a space designed to replicate a traditional longhouse.

A trip to Hotel Zed Tofino is the ultimate family adventure. First, print some West Coast coloring pages from Claire Watson, a Vancouver Island artist, to prepare for your trip. Then, pack your sunscreen and raincoat—you never know what adventures Mother Nature will provide. But Hotel Zed Tofino has you covered. Whether you forest bathe on the property or drink vanilla steamers in the sunken living room, your family will have time to relax and enjoy time together. Expect big belly laughs while playing games or learning to ride the waves.

But go. Hotel Zed Tofino was meant for families. The mid-century modern design is not just a point of conversation but also a playful and colorful connection to the mid-1900s—a time of new thought and social experimentation. So try something new, grab the mike in the disco, and dance with abandon. This is your life. Hotel Zed Tofino will help you make it meaningful!

Hotel Zed Tofino's Classic Portico at night
Hotel Zed Tofino’s Classic Portico © Linda Sheppard

Ready to plan your next trip?

For more exciting vacations, try these locations! You could stay on the west coast and visit charming Cannon Beach. Or travel to Namibia for a birding safari. You might even want to grab a jet to Christmas Island, an Australian territory in the Indian Ocean, for the red crab’s epic annual mass migration!

Thank you to Hotel Zed, ROAR and Chocolate Tofino for their sponsored visits! Their kind sponsorship in no way affected my article; my opinions are my own.


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