Tigh-Na-Mara Seaside Resort Is Spectacular In Canada's California
by Scott A. Sumner
Many of us in Canada think of our climate as quite cold especially in the winter. Nestled on the ocean on Vancouver Island is one our best resorts with warm sandy beaches, spectacular views and the ability to pamper their guests to the fullest extent possible. The Tigh-Na-Mara Seaside Resort is a spectacular $100 million development privately owned by the Hirsh family.
Dan Hirsh, is the General Manager of Tigh-Na-Mara Seaside Resort in Parksville. "I grew up here on the property. My parents built the resort from 12 cabins to what you see today." notes Dan Hirsh. The 27 year old lived in the states for 7 years, went to Penn State University and graduated at the top of his program.
"My family bought the resort in1981 with 10 acres and 12 cabins. Since then they kept building and bought more land until our site in now 22 acres. We are the largest SPA in western Canada and have the largest conference centre north of Victoria. We are also the largest resort with 192 rooms," notes Hirsh. "Each unit is sold off as a strata development to a specific owner. It is a financial thing. They come and stay for a smaller fee and we manage the property and rent it out for the other times."
A one bedroom suite like I stayed at is 1000 square feet and rents from $190 to $350 in the high season of July and August. Business is excellent at the Tigh-Na-Mara Seaside Resort. "Business is fantastic. It just keeps going up yearly and we are at 100% occupancy on weekends," smiles Hirsh. "We are expanding the spa on the third floor of one building which was not developed previously. We'll have two different lounges, one coed and one ladies only and a separate dining area. There will be a few couples suites, each will have a copper tub and a place to dine."
Guests at Tigh-Na-Mara come from BC - 12% the US and 12% international. They fly to Vancouver or Victoria. There are six golf courses in the area, horseback riding and good hiking trails right near the river Rach Redor Park, one of the nicest in BC. The company owns the common areas and have a current staff of 198 and are adding 17 for summer.
Fine dining and wine is a big part of Tigh-Na-Mara Seaside Resort. I was able to talk to Atilla Cimsit, restaurant manager about his passion for wine.
"Wine is a living organism. It talks to you. It reachs you in different ways because there is a lot of emotional involvement in the growing and wine making period. The wine grower has to go through a lot of emotional stress - when they will prune, how they will manage the canopy, how much hue - how long will they wait til it ripens. Wine is a living organism for those reasons. It talks to you."
"You start by looking at the wine to see the colour, the legs, viscosity. Then you swing it and are looking at viscosity and how it breaks down at the rim. The colours come alive on the rim and the core of the wine will show intense colours. The legs are next. You have to wake the wine up letting the air kiss the wine. I love wine and wasn't a wine drinker until I stated living in Italy," said the Turkish Cimsit. "I was working for cruise lines in Italy. I fell in love with the ship and then my wife who was working on the ship. She took us all ove the world for 12 years."
"Our mission is to promote our visitor a bout the BC wine industry which is a baby at this time. One day it will become a giant." smiles Cimsit.
Tigh-Na-Mara is the Scottish word for house by the sea.