Hotel Zed goes extreme retro in Tofino

Hotel Zed has brought its quirky, retro brand to Tofino with the “world’s first” bike-through lobby, a psychic’s den and mini disco.

It’s the third throwback-style hotel for the Victoria-based company, which has already revived older hotel properties with psychedelic colours, retro decor and unusual services on Douglas Street in Victoria and in Kelowna.

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Mandy Farmer, president and chief executive of Accent Inns, has transformed the former Jamie’s Rainforest Inn in Tofino into a colourful and unique experience for the busy west coast town.

She said the project was worth $20 million.

The hotel’s colour scheme of burnt orange, avocado green and eggplant purple “make it a perfectly groovy fit for Tofino,” Farmer said.

“It has been my obsession for the past two years. I have been part of every detail and every decision. I even personally thrifted every cool vintage thing you see there. I really hope people love it as much as I do.”

Farmer said she wanted to “stay true to our brand of being ridiculously fun.”

The 58-room hotel, with rooms starting at $179 a night, has a bike-through lobby connected to multi-use pathways in Tofino.

Guests will have access to a “psychic’s den,” with a crystal ball, mystic gear and a drop-in tarot-card reader.

A mini disco has a fog machine, glitter wall, mirrored disco ball, LED floorlights that interact with dance moves and a sound system where users can plug in their own devices.

There is also a secret arcade hidden behind an old bookshelf equipped with retro games such as Donkey Kong Jr. and Ms. Pac Man.

“We had so much fun creating the various elements within this property. I have to say that the bike-through lobby is my favourite part,” Farmer said.

Initial response has been “overwhelmingly positive,” she said. “I just love reading the comments online. People are really excited about it. They love all the unordinary amenities we have included and of course that swanky 1970s feel.”

The hotel shuttle is a 1969 Chevrolet Kingswood Estate station wagon. “When I saw it, I knew I had to have it for this hotel. It is perfect,” said Farmer. “Did you know it has bench seating in the back that faces out the rear window? So retro.”

Hotel Zed Tofino is also part of the Tribal Park Allies, a group of businesses committed to the ecological protection and restoration of the Tribal Parks ancestral gardens and Tla-o-qui-aht culture and governance. The hotel has committed to collecting a 1% voluntary fee from its customers for the cause. They will also have a mini-book, placed in every guest room, that tells the story about the history of guardianship and activism in Tofino.“It is important for us at Hotel Zed that visitors to Tofino understand the history of guardianship and activism in this beautiful land we all enjoy,” Farmer said.

Hotel Zed is on four acres of rainforest backing onto the lagoon side of Tofino.

dkloster@timescolonist.com

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