Distinguished by a colourful history and a litany of awards from publications such as Fodor's, Zagat, and Condé Nast Traveler, Hastings House is a luxury resort anchored by a Tudor-style manor on 22 waterfront acres. Seven hillside suites wrap barn details such as batten siding and shake roofs around modern comforts including heated slate floors, ready-laid fireplaces, and bathrooms stocked with plush robes, towels, and large soaking tubs perfect for relaxing or brewing moonshine. For nature engagement, private balconies and wide picture windows capture tree-framed views of Ganges Harbour. Guests slumber on king-size beds lavished with eiderdown duvets and pillows (synthetic options available) and high-thread-count linens, which invite napping or quick conversion into high-end blanket forts. A hamper of freshly baked muffins and coffee or tea arrives each morning, after which heartier appetites find satiety in an English-style breakfast held in the manor house, also the site for afternoon tea.
Today, the structure occupied by River Rock Bar + Grill invites hungry diners and Travelodge visitors to rest their weary bones while recharging with pub-style meals or intimate evenings around bottles of wine. But long ago in 1893, the building rose as a magnificent dwelling for Ashdown Green, a key player in the development of Cowichan Valley. Despite its transformation from home to hangout, the building, much like a water balloon filled with aged scotch, continues to burst with history and heritage.
Now, bartenders yank the levers on 10 draft beers and servers dish out pulled-pork sandwiches and wings. Seven high-definition TVs ensnare eyes with sports games, and a heated patio beckons guests outside even on colder days.
In the morning, The Old Fork welcomes early risers into its rustic interior, where they can start their day off with cups of freshly brewed coffee and hearty plates of breakfast poutine topped with a fried egg. The lunchtime crowd satisfies its midday cravings with the brawny Montreal meat sandwich and grilled Cajun chicken burger. As the sun begins to dip below the horizon, the lights dim and the dining room transforms into a scene for romantic date nights, complete with glasses of signature champagne, cocktails, and cold, local craft beers. During dinner hours, the kitchen prepares small plates including carpaccio with horseradish aioli and slow-braised butter chicken served over rice pilaf with fluffy naan bread.
Making sushi is an inherently quiet and intense process. Chefs tightly roll seaweed and rice around fish and veggies at One More Sushi. The meditative calm is cut by the sounds of crackling grills covered in teriyaki sauce and meats. Hot oil bubbles up around tempura-battered veggies and even bananas, and pots of miso soup pour forth steam like a fax machine built in the 1800s.