Tag Archives | Rathtrevor Beach

Greening Your Vacation ~ Tigh-Na-Mara

Each summer there is no guess work where we’ll be staying for our family vacation. The Tigh-Na- Mara resort on Vancouver Island has everything a family loves; a beach that stretches for miles covered with magical tidal pools, rustic cabins that provide the comforts of home, and amazing restaurant and spa facilities. The inspiration for this article is the great job Tigh-Na-Mara resort and Spa accomplish with green initiatives. It’s a tough job greening up a resort covering 22 acres of quite possibly the most beautiful land on Vancouver Island and I recognize and appreciate the effort as a returning guest. When booking your accommodations, have you ever wondered what happens to left over shampoo bottles only partially used from your hotel?  Have you inquired if composting and recycling services are available?  The answers might surprise you and would those answers effect how you felt about the resort or hotel? There is a ‘green team’ that is changing the way the Tigh-Na-Mara approaches guest services and it’s a unique aspect that I’m so proud to write about. This year wasn’t any different with new eco initiatives by Tigh-Na-Mara and learning about them really enhanced my family’s vacation.

We had only gotten through the parking lot when we saw the sign to rent ‘eco scooters’ which is something new because these scooters are powered by biofuel or there’s an electric option.  The company Eco Scooter Rentals own and operate these scooters that are located in the parking lot of Tigh-Na-Mara. Another new perk to staying at Tigh-Na-Mara is a free bus service that does pickup at the resort called Get Around Downtown encouraging resort guests to shop and enjoy downtown Parksville while reducing car emissions.

It’s not just return guests that are noticing the greener changes in the way the Tigh-Na-Mara conducts business. They received the ‘4 Green Key’ rating from the Hotel Association of Canada back in March and more recently the 2010 Going Green Award from Business Excellence Awards. Staff and Management of the resort are proud of the full commitment to greening both business and guest experiences, while not compromising their excellent guest and customer service.

More changes that are significant include:
~ Overhaul of kitchen dishwashing equipment to biodegradable cleaning products
~ 80% of kitchen waste is composted
~ Switch to environmentally friendly cleaning products by housekeeping team and laundry cleaning products
~ More than 70% of all collateral produced is printed on recycled paper and several using biodegradable inks

Tigh-Na-Mara’s Grotto Spa rated #1 spa in Western Canada offers signature treatments with a focus on natural ingredients. I discovered my favorite organic skincare line last year while visiting the Spa. Sea Flora is the name of the organic skincare line made of seaweed that is sold in the Grotto Spa and I love the local support for founder Diane Bernard who comes with a magical story and business all on her own! You also see the local love in the Tigh-Na-Mara gift shop and why wouldn’t a resort on Vancouver Island support their own artists and small business owners?  The talent of artists, chemical-free soaps/skin care lines, and handmade items is abundant and inspiring all across Vancouver Island.

As you stroll the relaxing grounds of Tigh-Na-Mara you can’t help but notice the respect to the 22 acres property with abundant Arbutus and Pine trees and electric golf carts used throughout the resort for transportation. Signs of the extensive resort recycling program are everywhere and the fact kitchen food waste is composted is impressive…very few restaurants in big cities are able to maintain a program like this. Take away containers for the restaurant are made from 100% recycled paper using 35% or more post-consumer recycled paper. Tigh-Na-Mara also uses Lightning Nugget Firestarters. Have you heard of these firestarters that are produced with pitchwood rather than harmful chemicals? The nuggets are made in the US – what a great find by ‘Green Team’ member Kelly!

With so many nature based activities to mention in this one article, I’d like to mention 3 memories that will forever imprint my heart from this vacation. The first was walking through the doors of our cabin arriving on the first day and finding a geocaching map with 5 of the closest caches marked for my family to find.  The customer service on this gesture was amazing and very thoughtful of Tigh-Na-Mara staff.  Then later in the week we ventured to Cathedral Grove which is a protected forest filled with 800 year old Douglas Fir trees. The picture below is my kids exploring the roots of an upturned tree. The only word I can think of to describe the images in this forest is Epic!

And yesterday morning my family was invited to join a local biologist on Rathtrevor beach. We are now spoiled for life because all the questions we’ve ever wondered about shore-line creatures were answered in this 2 hour beach combing sessions. This offering is available for any family staying at the Tigh Na Mara and has been wildly popular. This initiative, plus weekly visits to the North Island Wildlife Recovery Association located in Parksville further supports the resort’s commitment to the environment through wildlife education for guests and their children.

My thanks to Kelly, Jenn, and Alexis at the Tigh-Na-Mara for their dedication and excellence with green initiatives and helping my family get to experience many of the eco-magic the Tigh-Na-Mara offers. To keep track of the latest offerings from this fabulous resort, follow the Tigh Na Mara Facebook fan page or twitter account at @Tigh_Na_Mara.  And yes, if you’ve been patiently waiting for my answer about what the Tigh-Na-Mara does with left over shampoo…the answer is all the partially filled bottles are donated to a local Women’s Shelter. It’s a question I will now ask every hotel or resort my family stays because I’ve realized the answer is important to me.

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Vacation Paradise ~ Tigh-Na-Mara

This article is starting the old fashioned way (pen to paper) – while I look across miles of sandy beach and crystal clear waters.  As I sit in a beach chair on a beautiful sunny day and write this article I am watching my children exploring tidal pools teaming with an abundance of magical sea life, running from one tidal pool to another, splashing and having the time of their lives.  I can’t help but think how lucky we are to be here.  Where are we, you ask? No we’re not in Mexico or Hawaii…we are in beautiful Parksville, British Columbia on Vancouver Island, such a magical place and just a short drive and ferry ride from our home.  In this day and age, with the economy and the environment being what it is, vacationing locally just makes sense.  Especially since we live near one of the most beautiful islands on the globe.

Recently voted 10th on a list of top 10 Islands in the world (wow!!) by Travel and Leisure, its’ easy to see why… Vancouver Island is spectacular. A great local, easy get-away for West Coasters and Pacific Northwesters and well worth the travel for families further away.   As for accommodations, we couldn’t have picked a better place for our family.  The Parksville resort Tigh-Na-Mara nestled between the forest and the ocean front in Parksville has elevated what will become an annual vacation for our family.   I’m proud to support a local vacation destination and love the pampering we’ve received.  How awesome to get the entire experience of a sea-side vacation and not have to worry about passports or boarding a plane.  The combination of the Tigh-Na-Mara’s family friendly activities, rustic cabins and award winning dining and spa services seems to have every aspect covered for families that want the combination of family time and adult pampering.

Since arriving here on Saturday, we have gone to a local farm where our children got to ride ponies, milked and then bottle fed that milk to baby goats. We have played mini-golf and gotten soaked on bumper boats equipped with water guns.   We spent an afternoon at the unique Coombs market and had a great lunch on an outdoor patio while goats walk around on the roof eating grass right above us.  The best part is that all this was within 15 minutes of the hotel!

While at the resort, parents are able to relax and watch kids play unscripted in nature with shovels, buckets and imagination in-hand. The perfect environment for families of all ages, but for our family, wonderful because of how safe you feel with young children.  Tigh-Na-Mara is located right at Rathtrevor Beach, where you can walk out into the ocean for a kilometer and still only be ankle deep, which makes it the perfect beach for families with young children.   When the tide goes out it leaves hundreds of tidal pools perfect for toddlers to splash in and big kids to boogie board.

I’ve always thought the concept of ‘kid’s clubs’ and babysitting services were only available on cruise lines or all inclusive resorts, but that is not the case.  Tigh-Na-Mara offers a wide variety of family and kid friendly activities during the summer including, swimming and tennis lessons, build your own bear workshops, Campfire stories, cave tours, dinner and movie for kids, qualified baby sitting services and the very impressive “Tigh-Na-Mara Kids Club” which offers a variety of games, arts and crafts and activities such as treasure hunts and beach tours.  The kids club is safe and supervised by several of the resort’s knowledgable and friendly staff who ensure that all the kids have a great time.  It runs all day and parents can drop off and pick up thier kids at thier convenience.  And did I mention that it is complimentary for hotel guests. Wow…that blew me away.

While the Tigh-Na-Mara keeps your children happy and engaged, high end adult amenities are on-site like the Cedar Dining Room, Copper Lounge, and Grotto Spa.  We have a spa package booked including the Grotto Mineral Pool, infused with natural minerals and elements to detoxify our weary bones <grin>.   Funny, the last time we treated ourselves to this sort of luxury was on our honeymoon in Antigua 10 years ago.  It’s been a busy couple of years creating our wonderful large family…so we are so looking forwards to the spa.  It’s so great to know that childcare is readily available so we can enjoy this time together.

When on vacation, the whole idea is family bonding, spending time concentrating on each other without outside distractions and we have definitely been able to do that. However, it is also important to give the kids some independence and make new friendships while taking some time to enjoy some time alone as a couple.   Ray and I will be celebrating our 10 year anniversary during our stay here and have already booked our spa time followed by a scrumptious meal at the “Treetop Tapas and Grill” which is exclusive to spa guests and where we will be dining in our bath robes.  Needless to say, we don’t do that type of stuff everyday.  The options offered at the Tigh-Na-Mara are truly the best of both worlds. 

We are just half way through our vacation and have three glorious days left.  I may just have to write another post when we get back home.

A sneak peek of the spa.  .  .  I’ve been in love since I saw this picture on the Tigh-Na-Mara’s web site.  This is the kind of natural beauty everyone needs to pamper themselves with occasionally. 

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