Cowichan’s Merridale yurts provide a unique accommodation experience

Large yurt at Merridale Estate Cidery, Cobble Hill, Vancouver Island, British ColumbiaMy husband and myself are pretty much up for almost any experience during our travels, but when I suggested staying in a yurt for a couple of nights he looked askance at me. I was considering the yurt offerings at Merridale Estate Cidery at the time, which are most definitely not what you would call rough camping.

With a little cajoling hubby agreed to join me (otherwise he was going to miss out on three wonderful days in the Cowichan Valley, so it didn’t take a lot of convincing.) The Merridale yurts offered a lot of amenities and a new experience for both of us.

Interior of large yurt at Merridale Estate Cidery, Cobble Hill, Vancouver Island, British Columbia

A comfy bed and a claw foot tub – not exactly rough camping!

Yurts are portable bentwood-framed dwelling structures that were traditionally used by Turkish nomads.  The ones used at Merridale and other locations across North America utilize high-tech materials and are highly engineered, making them more of a permanent structure than an easily transportable home.  The evolution  from a moveable round felt tent-like structure to our home-away-from home at Merridale was quite remarkable and, thankfully, probably a lot more comfortable than the original designs.

Essentially the Merridale yurts are similar to a one-room cabin. The round structure – no sharp edges or corners – imparts a serenity and coziness not found in many accommodations.

Reclining easy chairs inside large yurt at Merridale Estate Cidery, Cobble Hill, Vancouver Island, British Columbia

Nice sitting area with recliners and a fireplace

We stayed in the large yurt, which offered many of the comforts of home, including two bathrooms.  There was a cozy sitting area replete with reclining armchairs, a lovely deep claw-foot tub and a warming gas fireplace that helped keep the place warm even in early Spring. Returning to the yurt each evening after a busy day of exploring the Cowichan Valley was a real pleasure – soft lighting and firelight infused our evenings with coziness and warmth. When we tucked in to the comfortable bed we could look through the skylight above us, and the Spring song of frogs at the nearby pond lulled us to sleep.

There is no WiFi, television or telephone at the yurts at Merridale so being ‘unplugged’ added to the relaxing effect.

There is a kettle and coffee supplies at the yurt, so we began each day lolling about in bed with a hot beverage.  Unfortunately the weather wasn’t conducive to sitting on the deck when we visited, but I could envision myself enjoying my first coffee of the day out there in warmer weather.

We headed up to the Merridale Bistro around 10 each morning, where we were served scrumptious fresh-baked goods, fresh fruit, yogurt and a cornucopia of other flavourful and healthy breakfast items.

All told, staying in the Merridale yurts was a unique and lovely experience.  Even the over-zealous rooster who woke us each morning had his charms – it made for a true ‘country’ experience.

Deck view from the large yurt at Merricale Estate Cidery, Cobble Hill, Vancouver Island, British Columbia

The view from the deck

If you are considering the Merridale yurts, there is plenty to do at the place without ever leaving the property.  I wandered through the extensive apple orchards, enjoying the fresh Spring air and the sounds of nature.  There are cider tastings and great food at the bistro, a shop offering gourmet food items.  There is a spa on-site, and you can enjoy a self-guided tour of the cellar to learn about the cider making process.  There is never a dull moment at Merridale, but the rural ambiance permeates everything, leaving visitors delighted and relaxed.

            Further information on Merridale Estate Cidery and the yurts can be found at the website:

Merridale Estate Cidery is located at 1230 Merridale Road, Cobble Hill

GPS co-ordinates are:

Lat. 48.664441  Long. -123.586655

N 48 39.866 W 123 35.199


About Shirley

More years ago than I like to remember, I completed the Journalism program at Vancouver Community College and launched straight into a career as a newspaper reporter (thanks to my journalism professor Nick Russell and an opening at the venerable daily Alberni Valley Times.) My work as a news reporter/feature writer/columnist and ultimately, newspaper and magazine editor, took me to many interesting places and introduced me to hundreds of interesting characters over the years. I loved every minute of it, but burnout caught up with me while I was trying to juggle the simultaneous editing of five trade magazines, and for 27 years I abandoned my keyboard (on a professional basis, at least) and followed my heart in a variety of other careers. In 2010 I returned to the journalistic fold, thanks to the encouragement (nay – nagging!) of my husband. I feel no regret – only great joy to be back at the keyboard, and to be spending time interviewing interesting folks and discovering great places.
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