Way out in the wilderness, surrounded by mountains, reachable only by air or water. Twenty guests, no mobile coverage, no roads out, and surrounded by orcas and grizzly bears. Wearing my crime novelist hat, it sounds pure Agatha Christie – the ideal set-up for a perfect murder. But in real life, as we found out, it’s the blueprint for the perfect holiday.
So what makes Nimmo Bay so special? Seeing as I still have that writer hat on, let’s plot it out…
Starting with the setting
The landscape that surrounds Nimmo Bay is unbelievably beautiful. Thousands of acres of unspoilt forest, sloping down to narrow fiords, where bears dig about on the beaches for clams and crabs. Tiny islands of the Broughton Archipelago, on the west side of Queen Charlotte Strait, which are home to colonies of sea lions, and schools of dolphins, porpoises and passing whales. Misty mornings and glowing sunsets, and if you’re up early enough you might just catch a pine marten swimming purposefully across the Nimmo inlet…
The view from our cabin.
And that’s just the natural surroundings. Nimmo Bay has been carefully designed to complement the landscape. Six ‘inter-tidal’ wooden cabins face the water, and there are three more among the trees, all of them beautifully kitted out (and not a TV in sight). The attention to detail is just wonderful, and sometimes it’s most obvious in the smallest things. Like the box in the bathroom, with all sorts of basic essentials like combs and toothpaste that you might have forgotten (and certainly can’t nip out to buy!).
The main lodge area is dominated by the ‘fire dock’. It’s where the seaplanes come to rest (and if you’ve never flown in one of those that’s quite an experience in itself). It’s also for gathering for meals, talking over the day, and sitting round the bonfire after dark, gazing up into a deep black sky full of stars, one of Kyle the sommelier’s signature cocktails in hand.
Next up, action
Nimmo Bay is all about adventure. From helicopter flights up over the glaciers (we didn’t do that but apparently you can even bring some ice back for that late-night cocktail), to watching wildlife by boat (both the finny and the furry kind), to kayaking, paddle-boarding, fishing, and hiking – though don’t worry, the dogs will come with you if you go anywhere on foot. #bewareofthebears #eveniftheylookcute
Photo by Andy Jones, our guide.
The key is that each set of guests have their own guide, and their own programme every day, so you do what you want to do, and aren’t dragged along by a pre-set schedule, though if you make friends while you’re there you can certainly do things together.
Nimmo is an adventure in taste too. The food is outstanding – fresh, imaginative, and beautifully presented. The mind boggles at the degree of planning needed to run a high-class operation like that in such an isolated location. And thanks to Kyle, we discovered some excellent British Columbian wines too. Canada produces great wine; who knew?
And finally, the cast
Kyle is only one of Nimmo Bay’s resident characters, both two-legged and four-legged – Tom and Jerry, the dock cats, are a floofy hoot for a start. When it comes to the humans, there are way too many names to list, but from chefs to guides to spa therapists to housekeeping, it’s a class act, and there does seem to be a genuinely happy, family atmosphere about the place, which communicates itself to anyone lucky enough to stay there. And I know it’s a cliché (and novelists are supposed to hate clichés) but you really do arrive a client and leave a friend.
Incidentally, to end nice and neatly where I began, Kyle is the nearest thing Nimmo Bay has to a butler, so I guess if they ever do have a murder he’ll be the first in the frame.
Could be a classic case of ‘exit left, pursued by a bear’ – but I bet he still wouldn’t spill a drop!
Photo by Adele Scielzo, one of our fellow guests.
Cara Hunter is the internationally best-selling author of the Adam Fawley crime novels, set in Oxford, England. More than three-quarters of a million copies of the series have been sold since Close to Home was first published in 2017, and the books have now been translated into more than 24 languages across the world.
Cara’s trip was organised by Peter Croxford, of Travel Counsellors UK.