Friday, December 1, 2017

Keeping it Clean at Bowen Island Accommodations: Simple Cleaning Solutions

We pride ourselves on our cleaners' abilities to make sure only sparkling homes greet you on arrival at your Bowen island Accommodations vacation rental. Did you know we also pride ourselves on keeping our cleaning products clean?

Island water ecology and septic systems are particularly fragile, so we try to keep our products simple as well as effective, home-made and odour-free. Here are some of our recipes for green cleaning products, and home-cleaning tips.

Photo by Nick Youngsen

All Purpose Cleaner & Glass Cleaner
(Do not use on stainless steel appliances)

Mix all in a spray bottle:
  • 2 cup of filtered water
  • ½ cup of vinegar
  • 2 teaspoon of dish soap
For a deeper clean say in the tub, toilet or sink apply some baking soda and spray with the above cleaner. It will foam and loosen any stuck on dirt.

All Purpose Cleaner for Stainless Steel, Marble, PaperStone Counters, and Floors

Mix in a spray bottle:
  • water
  • a few drops of dish soap

Baking Soda for (almost) everything
Almost any surface with a textured dirty feel, like soap scum, can be tackled with baking soda, a textured sponge, and some water. Rinse off the baking soda afterwards. (Just don't use it on stone, paperstone, or stainless steel).

Pink Solution
Pink Solution is one product we rely on regularly to remove stains on almost any surface. Watch their (oddly addictive) demonstration videos, to see all that this environmentally friendly product can do.

What do we love about it? It's great for all stains, can be used on white or coloured linens, carpets, upholstery, shower grout, baked on food, you name it. And the longer you leave it on, the harder it works. It's really performed some miracles in our vacation rental homes.

Laundry & Dishes
Our guests sometimes ask us about specific products. We use Ecos in most properties for laundry, and in others we are transitioning over. Same with dish soap, we are moving over to using Kirkland Environmentally Responsible Dish Soap at all properties.

Do you have a product recipe or recommendation for us, one you love to use and that's easy on the environment? Let us know!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

5 (actually 8) Lazy Rainy Day To Do's

Summer is long gone, but good times on Bowen are still here!

Here in the Eagle Cliff neighbourhood, home of the Lazy Bowen Hideaway and the Lazy B Waterfront Suite, our community has long ago put away our summertime dock into safe harbour. Summer is a distant memory, but that doesn't mean you can't enjoy all Bowen Island has to offer in the cooler months. 

To learn more about our Vacation rentals visit our web site  www.LazyBowenHideaway.com

With the end of the summer season comes the exciting Storm Season. The Hideaway and Suite are poised on the perfect viewing cliff  to watch the storms come straight at the property. Whether the rain tapping a tune on the roof or the wind-driven waves crashing on the beach below the rhythmic harmony will lull you into another world of ahhhh-ness. (Same as: be lazy, do nothing, relaxation only, please).

What to do when it is pouring outside? 
Lucky for you we have 8 Rainy Day ideas……………………….

October - April sink into the sofa and relax in front of the fire at the Lazy Bowen Hideaway

1) Light a fire. Our wood-burning fireplaces in the Lazy Bowen Hideaway, Eastman Waterfront Retreat, and Evergreen Cottage, and the wood stove in the Waterfront Suite make for an extra dose of cozy during your stay. It’s not needed to heat the rooms (we have modern conveniences such as baseboard heaters) but it sure adds that “away from it all - put your feet up” ambiance. We allow fires October through April and supply enough wood for your evening fire.

2) Watch a movie or 20 on our flat screen TVs. Both the Hideaway and the Waterfront Suite are supplied with an abundance of popular DVDs and classic VHS movies. You can also borrow DVDs at the Bowen Island Public Library, or pick up some interesting finds at the Knick Knack Nook. The Hideaway 55” smart TV offers Netflix. Your stay is the perfect time to binge-watch without having the early work wake up call. 

One of our many games available for your rainy day fun

3) Family board games and puzzles abound--------sit around the table and quietly fit this piece to that piece, corners and straight edges first……….the perfect “think about nothing” activity. Or if you fancy yourself a great speller start up a game of Scrabble. We also have Yahtzee, cribbage, cards, and many other games at the Lazy Bowen Hideaway, Lazy B Waterfront Suite, Evergreen Cottage, and Eastman Waterfront Cottage……. I just can’t remember them all. I don’t know about you but one of my best memories is the family playing a game of Hearts around the dining room table on a stormy rainy night…………Maybe you can have that memory too?

Head to the Bowen Island Library to check out a book or buy a used book.

4) Curl up with a book and snuggle under a cozy throw. Of course, you can bring along your favourite novel but no worries if you get in a hurry packing up to leave the city and you forget yours. (I would be in a hurry to get to Bowen Island too.) The Lazy Bowen Hideaway & Waterfront Suite have collections of all kinds of books from romance novels to Reader's Digest. And if that isn’t enough, you can pick up a book at the Bowen Island Library from their well-curated collection. They have used books for sale as well and you will be kindly supporting the Friends of the Library who fund-raise and support our little library throughout the year. 

10 x 4 foot granite counter and convection oven great for prepping and baking

5) A good time to get your Christmas baking done. The all-new kitchen in the Lazy Bowen Hideaway is perfect for baking in our new convection ovens. The NEW Whirlpool convection oven plus the Micro Convection means you can fill the Hideaway with the sweet scents of cookies and cakes. While you are baking up a “storm” you can gaze out the south facing windows watching the ferries and ships sail by………anticipating the next lightning strike. The large 10 x 4 foot granite island allows for a huge mess…..stuff everywhere……..and then………BOOM……….clean up is easy (we have a new dishwasher). Oh and I forgot to mention……..the kitchen has many levels of lighting from bright task to ambient mood lighting……..you will love it!!    
Newly renovated kitchen with dishwasher, filtered water, 2 convection ovens

6) MAXIMIZE YOUR RELAXATION WITH AN IN-SUITE MASSAGE. Can you imagine a 60 or 90 minute in-suite massage by a certified Registered Massage Therapist? No driving required. All you have to do is slowly roll off the table and then sit and immerse yourself in the complete satisfaction that you have just been healed. This little dynamo, Jenni Griffiths is so tuned into your needs that 60 minutes just won’t be long enough…………90 minutes is heaven.  Let her know if you want a deep massage or a relaxation massage………guaranteed she will make you and your body happy. Schedule with Jenni Griffiths of Cedar Room Massage Therapy.

We also recommend Karolina at Spirica Healing (she does mobile massage as well as at her studio), and Solarium Massage Therapy & Rehabilitation.

Lazy B Waterfront Suite NEW covered seaside deck

7)  Defy the Rain and sit outside on our NEW waterfront deck............You are covered.  We love (and our guests love) our NEW Lazy B Waterfront Suite covered seaside deck with comfortable furnishings. Wrap up in a throw, grab a cup of hot Joe and immerse yourself in the fresh air, crashing waves, and nature all around. Bet you can't do this in the city!!!

Lazy B Waterfront Suite queen bed with gel topper and a GREAT sea view

8) BONUS SUGGESTION …….. Oh heck...........just Stay in bed and curl up in the NEW Stearns and Foster mattress from Hudson Bay*  If you can stay awake surf the net (we have FREE Wi-Fi), watch TV and just do nothing………. It is appropriately called the Lazy Bowen Hideaway and the Lazy B Waterfront Suite for a reason………….we give you permission to enjoy the peaceful, gentle patter of rain and the freshly cleansed air.  *(lazy bowen hideaway seaside bedroom only.) 

Lazy Bowen Hideaway master bedroom with new
Stearns and Foster mattress and sea view

Learn more about the Lazy Bowen Hideaway and the Lazy B Waterfront Suite 

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

❄️ Tips for Enjoying Snowy Bowen Island ❄️

Snow has already been gently falling here on our otherwise-green island. If you’ve booked a stay with us in snow season, there’s no need to panic — in fact, a blanket of white will be a welcome prompt to relax once you get here, all you need is a little preparation.

First off, why we love a snowy Bowen Island:

  • Winter wonderland walks
  • An excuse to snuggle inside by the fire
  • Peace & quiet only a snowscape can create
  • Explore the great indoors - cook, craft, read, chat, nap...


But to really enjoy it, be prepared to make the best of this rare weather event, and use these tips to guide you through a snowy holiday away from it all.


Check the Weather

Knowing when the snow will come can help you plan ahead.
Will the snow hit while you’re here? If possible, park closer to a main road, where plows will come. (However, parking right on the main road makes it hard for plows to operate).
Will it snow the night before you arrive? Then you may find not all roads are plowed yet, so after disembarking the ferry, grab a latte in Snug Cove while the roads are cleared to your vacation rental. See below for road report links.


Car Prep & Roads

Pack a shovel & gravel kitty litter, in case you find yourself in a jam. While snow tires are not required by law on Bowen, if you have them, use them. We don’t recommend driving on any unplowed roads without snow tires, and even then, please use caution. 

If you’re coming from afar, please remember that certain BC highways do require you to have winter tires from October 1 to March 31. Check the winter tire regulations in BC to see if your route requires them.

Always check Bowen Island road reports before planning your transportation to your rental. There are two places to check:
Municipality: http://bimbc.ca/alerts#Road%20Closures 
An independent road status site: http://bowenisle.info/roads/roadstat.php 

If you do find yourself in need of assistance, our local tow truck operator (for BCAA) can be reached at (604) 947-4357. Leigh Auto (604-947-2222) are our trusty car repair folks, in case you should need further help with your vehicle.



Transportation Options

If you decide last-minute to leave your car at home or in Horseshoe Bay, not to worry, you have other transportation options: Transit, hitchhiking, walking, and Bowen Taxi (see our Transportation Page for more information on these options).


Trip Insurance

Because we have strict cancellation policies we always recommend trip insurance, which can help you deal with the unexpected (such as snowy roads), whether it’s weather-related, medical, or something else altogether. (See specific policies for details). 

While we don't endorse any specific insurance provider, here are a few sites our guests have used in the past, to get you started finding a policy that works for you.
CSA Travel Protection: www.csatravelprotection.com
Travel Guard: www.travelguard.com
SquareMouth: www.squaremouth.com




Stock Up

If it looks like it will snow while you are here, remember to stock up on all your favourite food items and pastimes, as it may take the better part of a day for snow plows to get to your area (and for you to get to restaurants and out to explore).


Power Outages

Power outages may happen, and are usually fixed within a day, but you may want to prepare for this possibility ahead of time. While we encourage lazy snowflake-watching, why not bring a charged laptop with downloaded films, books, and board games? (We supply DVDs, board games, and books at the Lazy Bowen Waterfront Hideaway & Lazy B Waterfront Suite.)

All our properties have flashlights, candles, and a bottle of water supplied for emergencies, but it never hurts to bring more of your own.

And even if your side of the island is out of power, that doesn’t necessarily mean the whole island has gone dark — often Snug Cove and all the great restaurants and stores there have power, even when the remoter areas don't. You can check BC Hydro’s power outage statuses for Bowen Island at:



If we can assist you to prepare for your winter holiday, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We love it here in winter ...and are certain you will too. Book at www.bowenislandaccommodations.net ❄️❄️❄️

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Staff Profile: Farewell to Davina, BIA Cleaning Professional Extraordinaire!

When we've had a staff member for three years, and know and value their work as we do Davina's, it's difficult to say goodbye. But nothing lasts forever and Davina is retiring from cleaning in order to make time for her growing proofreading business, and in that we wish her all the best. Find out more about her business here: www.shadesofcrimson.com Luckily, she's still available in a cleaning emergency, and that's great to know, especially in the high season when we need all the help we can get.

Indeed it makes sense that this is her path, as we've seen her fine attention to detail in all the properties and how it translates into beautiful spaces and contented guests. Before she left this fall, we asked for an interview, to share her Bowen Island story with you all... and Davina was happy to oblige.


BIA: When and why did you move to Bowen? Where did you move from?
Davina: I moved to Bowen the end of November, 2011, from Kitsilano to enjoy a more relaxed lifestyle. I fell in love with Bowen in 2000 and visited frequently. Once I became self-employed, I realized that I could do that from Bowen and not have to commute to the Mainland every day.

BIA: What do you like best about working for BIA / why is it a good fit for you?
Davina: Being in such beautiful places, prepping for the guests, imagining their pleased looks when they first check in for their vacation. It's a good fit for me because I enjoy cleaning, am service-oriented, and particularly enjoy the staging details.

Jan (top) and the team at our summer 2017 potluck, with Davina on the right.

BIA: How would you describe your cleaning style, or cleaning philosophy?
Davina: Cleaning, to me personally, equates to spreading TLC and good energy around a space. I sense each space as a living being and feel compelled to nurture that space. A clean space is empowering to those who spend time in it. An unclean, cluttered space has the opposite effect.

BIA: What do you do, when you’re not working for BIA (other work, fun)?
Davina: When I am not working for BIA, I proofread advertising material for local agencies and edit novels of authors who are referred to me. I spend a lot of time on the trails with Zoe, my teacup Yorkie, and dining in local restaurants. Most of the time, living on Bowen puts me in vacation mode!

BIA: What’s the biggest surprise a guest has left for you (good, bad, totally weird…)?
Davina: The biggest surprise a guest has left me is a $20 tip.

BIA: Which BIA property would you most like to stay in, and why?
Davina: I have stayed in the Eastman Cottage twice. I love the remote location and the expansive view of the water and Hutt Island. I love the cozy cottage feel of this location.

BIA: What’s your favourite thing about Bowen Island? Least favourite thing?
Davina: My favourite thing about Bowen Island is the close access to trails, beaches, the close-knit community, the silence, and lack of streetlights at night. My least favourite thing is running for the ferry and rushing around during shopping trips to the Mainland to ensure catching the ferry back home at a suitable time.

BIA: What’s your favourite Bowen Island event?
Davina: My favourite Bowen Island events are the Bowen Island Community Choir Christmas and spring concerts; I sing in the choir and it's a wonderful experience connecting with fellow choristers and enjoying the buildup during the week leading up to the concert and of course, being up on stage singing to a wonderful audience.

BIA: What would you hope visitors to Bowen Island could take away from their experience here?
Davina: I would hope that visitors feel pleasantly re-energized after visiting Bowen Island and recognize that this oasis is just a short ferry ride from the Mainland for more relaxation.


Thank you, Davina, for your years with Bowen Island Accommodations, and we wish you success with your home business, Shades of Crimson!

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

What Wood is Good? Building Safe Indoor Fires

Fire season is coming up once more, and most of our guests will be looking forward to building a cozy fire indoors, a luxury we are allowed on Bowen Island, but is becoming a rarity in most cities as homes and building codes modernize.

Enjoy a romantic fire... safely.

We've shared with you in the past why wood is the price of gold out here, and you can re-read that blog post here: Why Firewood Doesn't Grow On Trees.

What we'd like to emphasize in this post is why it's so important to only burn the proper wood in fireplaces and wood stoves. With the cost of wood being so high, it may be tempting to gather wood from outside, but here's why it's a bad idea for your safety, respiratory health, and for our vacation rental homes more generally.

Gathered wood from the forest is not dry enough.
When we say wood needs to be "seasoned," it means having been stored in a ventilated dry area for about a year, so that the moisture in the wood and sap is mostly gone when we burn it. This is important because trying to burn "green" wood, (wood that's been collected from the forest, or unseasoned firewood, for example), results in excessive smoke, particulates being released, and a fire that's difficult to start and keep lit. Fires made of green wood also do not reach a hot enough temperature, and therefore deposit creosote into chimneys, increasing the potential for a dangerous chimney fire.

Branches and fallen wood are not properly seasoned to burn indoors.

Beach wood/driftwood causes toxic gases.
Burning the salty driftwood that you find on the beach releases carcinogenic gases from the chlorine in the wood. Apart from being a risk to you if you inhale the gases, releasing it into the environment is no good for others who might inhale it as well. On top of the danger, it's possible that the smoke from burning driftwood could corrode some metals found in wood stoves. So please, never collect and burn driftwood.

Leave it on the beach - driftwood is dangerous to burn.

Other things to never burn:

  • Pressure-treated wood
  • Wood pallets
  • Garbage
  • Forest debris

And please remember...
Outdoor burning is never allowed on any of the properties, at any time of year. This is for your safety, the safety of the property, and in respect to neighbours in the area.

What can I burn?
Please, only burn the firewood or long-lasting packaged logs we provide at our properties. If you want to burn more than what we provide, buy dry, seasoned wood or packaged logs meant for indoor burning, available in bundles at mainland gas stations or other reputable stores. While you likely won't find dry log bundles for sale on Bowen, the General Store and Irly Building Centre on Bowen Island sometimes sell compressed logs meant for fireplaces and wood stoves as well. These places may on occasion sell bundled logs, but call ahead and don't rely on it. Best to stock up before arriving on Bowen if you want to enjoy extended fire time for certain.

Note: In addition to providing enough wood* for your evening fire we also have log bundles for sale at the Lazy Bowen Hideaway and Lazy B Waterfront Suite. They are 20.00 (includes tax), counted up and charged to you after your stay, and available while supplies last.


We appreciate you taking the time to read about indoor fire safety. Our hope is that you enjoy safe, warm, and wonderful fires during your stay in the colder season.

After you build your safe fire, you can rest easy and put up your feet!

* Enough wood for an evening fire means 4 logs per night plus kindling and paper.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Interview: Twenty Years Visiting and Loving Bowen Island

We love hearing from guests who choose Bowen Island again and again for their vacation getaways, as we know they love it as much as we do. Every now and then we like to ask them what, specifically, they love about this special place. Robert, who, with his wife, has stayed many times with Bowen Island Accommodations, kindly agreed to answer our questions about their Bowen Island experiences.


BIA: Where is home for you, and why do you choose to vacation on Bowen Island?
Robert: My wife and I live in Port Coquitlam and have visited Bowen Island at least twice per year for close to 20 years. At first we would just do day trips and have dinner in Horseshoe Bay to celebrate our wedding anniversary. Our kids were just young then and we would go usually on a Saturday with our two Basset hounds to walk around the Killarny Lake trail, and also visit Dorman Point. The trails were very pleasant to walk, the meadow area along the Crippen trail has been a favourite spot for us.

BIA: What’s your favourite thing to do here?
Robert: We often bring our inflatable canoe to paddle in Tunstall Bay,  and we usually always include a visit to the Cape Roger Curtis area as well to walk the trails there.

Robert and his wife have been vacationing on Bowen Island for over 20 years

BIA:You’ve stayed many times at the Hollybarry Cottage (a vacation rental until 2016), twice at the Lazy Bowen Hideaway, once at the Lazy B Waterfront Suite, and twice at the Eastman Waterfront Cottage. What have you enjoyed about these places, and do you have a favourite?
Robert: I would have to say our favourite place to stay now is the Eastman Waterfront Cottage. We enjoy the close proximity to the water with all the properties, and we find the people that have homes locally are very pleasant. We have always felt welcome.

For several years we would stay at Hollybarry Cottage during Easter and then at Island Thyme suite on the opposite side of Bowen during the September Long weekend. This was our family tradition. Sadly, Island Thyme suite has new owners, and we have not tried vacationing there under the new owners' term. We were first introduced to the Lazy Bowen Hideaway when the HollyBarry cottage was not available one Easter weekend. We decided to try the Eastman Waterfront Cottage as well, as we were comfortable trying another property managed by Jan as we knew it would be clean and well appointed.

Robert's family swimming the waters around Bowen Island

BIA: What’s your favourite place to eat on Bowen, or do you cook at your residence?
Robert: We do cook most of our meals at the cabin when we stay on the island. We just find it to be more relaxing to stay at home and prepare our own meals and have more family time together. The best views are often at the cottage! We have ordered takeout from a couple of the restaurants on the island and enjoyed the meals at the cottage, taking in the view.

So much to see around Howe Sound

BIA: With many vacation rental offerings here, why do you choose Bowen Island Accommodations?
Robert: We like using Bowen Island Accommodations as Jan has a good support team, she is very prompt with her replies to vacation requests, and we just find the process to be very organized and effortless!

There are trails here for all the family members to enjoy.

BIA: Any recommendations for folks new to vacationing on Bowen Island (preparations, things to do, places to go, what to bring)?
Robert: My recommendation to people wanting to vacation on the island is to bring a variety of clothing to be outside during all types of weather, and make sure to bring a camera. We also bring movies, books and/or games from home that we've always been meaning to use, but don't seem to have time to when we are at home.

Also, we always bring our coffee french press, usually stop for muffins and bring some nice wine. Staying for two nights is a must, but three nights is better!

The ferry service is excellent, we have never had more than a one sailing wait even at the busiest of times! We might have been lucky, but we don't mind waiting as it isn't a very long turnaround for the ferry.


Thank you to Robert for taking the time to answer our questions, and we so appreciate his love of Bowen Island, going back 20 years!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Staff Profile: Anne

Last summer we interviewed Lisa, our newest cleaning professional. This fall we introduce you to Anne, our longest-standing cleaning professional, whose attention to detail and focus on guest experience makes her work with Bowen Island Accommodations so valuable. When you see the cleanliness of our vacation rental homes, it's due to the keen eye of cleaners like Anne -- most of whom, if not all, have been trained by her over the years.

BIA: How long have you been working for Bowen Island Accommodations?
Anne: 5 years

BIA: What do you like best about working for BIA / why is it a good fit for you?
Anne: What I like best: working as part of a team of cleaners; the individuality of each property and the waterfront locations; satisfaction of contributing to making it a clean and inviting place for the next guests. Why is it a good fit for me? After retiring from office work, the part-time work of cleaning vacation rentals keeps me physically active.

BIA: How would you describe your cleaning style, or cleaning philosophy?
Anne: I put myself in the shoes of guests and aim to provide a clean and comfortable environment for their stay.

BIA: What’s the biggest surprise a guest has left for you (good, bad, totally weird…)?
Anne: I have not come across any real surprises, but there is always the suspense before entering the house, whether guests left the place as they found it. Of course, when guests leave a tip for the cleaning staff, that is a pleasant surprise.

Which BIA property would you most like to stay in, and why?
Anne: The Waterfront Suite! I love the closeness to the ocean and the decks.

BIA: When and why did you move to Bowen? Where did you move from?
Anne: 1979 when our son was 4, we moved from a high-rise in Vancouver's West End to our present house, which was a cabin that was raised by one storey and was partially renovated. Bowen appealed to us because of the rural character and being an island. And the house prices were much less than in the city, making it possible for us to own our home. Bowen had the same appeal for us then as it has today for young families; it is a wonderful community for raising children.

Anne (centre) & Jan (top) and the BIA team of professional cleaners

BIA: What do you do, when you’re not working for BIA (other work, fun)?
Anne: I run a small B&B, using the guest room in our house to offer accommodation with breakfast. In my spare time, I like going for walks, I love to swim in the ocean in the summer and ride my bicycle in the city, enjoying the bike routes along the Vancouver waterfront. During the colder months, I don’t spend as much time outside and I knit socks and read.

BIA: What’s your favourite thing about Bowen Island? Least favourite thing?
Anne: Favourite: Beaches, forests, wild berries.
Least favourite: Days of rain and darkness.

BIA: What’s your favourite Bowen Island event?
Anne: Bowfest.

BIA: What would you hope visitors to Bowen Island could take away from their experience here?
Anne: Closeness to nature, serenity and friendly encounters with the community.