Duncan is located about 50 kilometers from both Nanaimo and Victoria. Despite its small population of just under 5,000 people, the city serves the larger Cowichan Valley, making Duncan feel more populated than its city limits suggest. In fact, many residents of North Cowichan have Duncan mailing addresses, but they are not counted among the small city's population.
The city is named after William Chalmers Duncan who arrived in Victoria in 1862. Soon after his arrival, Duncan and a hundred other settlers traveled to Cowichan Bay. Duncan settled close to present-day Duncan, and in 1876, his son became the town's first mayor. By the early 1900s, Duncan had a vibrant Chinatown that was the social center of the entire Cowichan Valley's Chinese population. Duncan is also the traditional home of the Cowichan Tribes and features a large First Nations community.
Today, Duncan's tourist slogan is “The City of Totems” thanks to the 80 totem poles scattered around town. The totem poles were erected in the late 1980s. Duncan's other claim to fame is that it's home to the world's largest ice hockey stick, which was officially recognized by Guinness World Records in 2008.
Whatever your reasons for visiting Duncan, it's important to find the right hotel that allows you to explore all the points of interest this unique town has to offer.
When to Visit Duncan, BC
The best times to visit Duncan are from March to May and again from September to November. These shoulder seasons offer mild weather along with bargain hotel rates, helping you save money on your trip. Spring and fall also provide ideal weather for exploring Vancouver Island beyond Duncan.
Given Duncan's reputation as a tourist town, its peak season is in the summer when school-aged children are out of school and families are taking advantage of the city's attractions. If you do want to visit during the busier summer season, try to book your room a few weeks in advance.
Despite Duncan's biting winters, the city serves as a great home base for snowboarders and skiers. Skiing options on Vancouver Island near Duncan include Mount Cain Ski Resort and Mount Washington Ski Resort. Be mindful of the population's penchant for winter sports, however, as hotels tend to fill up quickly and tourists take advantage of rock-bottom lodging rates.
Below is a chart of the current pricing seasonality of hotels and motels in Duncan, BC:
Duncan by Star Rating
Below we've posted 3 graphs demonstrating mean price patterns by star rating class in Duncan, BC. You can use these charts to determine the cheapest months to make a reservation in Duncan for any future trips.
Luxury Hotels in Duncan, BC
Duncan doesn't offer any upscale accommodations, but you can easily find the extra amenities you're looking for by expanding your search to nearby communities.
Situated about 15 miles from Duncan near Spectacle Lake Provincial Park, Villa Eyrie Resort is a stunning accommodation offering everything you need for a memorable stay. Hotel amenities include a full-service spa, indoor pool, 24-hour fitness center, concierge services, bar, gift shop, free Wi-Fi, luggage storage, event facilities, and free valet parking. The resort also offers an on-site restaurant where you can savor a complimentary cooked-to-order breakfast each morning of your stay.
The guest rooms at Villa Eyrie Resort are just as impressive as its amenities. Every room features a flat-screen TV with cable programming, work desk, refrigerator, espresso maker, free bottled water, rainfall showerhead, bathrobes, and complimentary toiletries. Upgraded rooms add even more amenities, such as a jetted bathtub and spectacular views.
Brentwood Bay Resort & Spa is a little farther out, coming in at 17 miles from Duncan, but it's worth the drive. The hotel offers a variety of recreational opportunities, including an outdoor pool, spa tub, fitness center, concierge services, and a spa. You'll also enjoy free Wi-Fi access, an on-site gift shop, a 24-hour business center, free newspapers, and a laundry service.
Guest rooms at Brentwood Bay Resort & Spa boast flat-screen TVs, premium bedding, down comforters, private balconies, iPod docking stations, separate showers, jetted tubs, and designer toiletries. Upgrade to a villa to enjoy a separate sitting area, fireplace, and minibar.
Budget Hotels in Duncan, BC
Finding an affordable hotel in Duncan is easy because the city only offers two budget-friendly accommodations within its city limits.
Ramada by Wyndham Duncan Cowichan Valley is the most centrally located hotel in Duncan. Located on the Trans-Canada Highway, this accommodation offers a 24-hour business center, seven meeting rooms, free newspapers in the lobby, a fitness center, a lobby fireplace, and complimentary Wi-Fi internet access. The hotel also features an on-site restaurant, The Old Fork Restaurant, which specializes in American cuisine. Enjoy a cooked-to-order breakfast for an additional fee.
Guest rooms at Ramada by Wyndham Duncan Cowichan Valley are bright and inviting. Make yourself at home with a flat-screen LCD TV, digital programming, a well-lit work desk, a microwave, a hairdryer, and complimentary toiletries. Upgrade to an efficiency suite to enjoy even more space and amenities, including a separate living area and sofa bed.
The second option within the city limits is Super 8 by Wyndham Duncan. Also located on the Trans-Canada Highway, this hotel features a 24-hour front desk, business center, ample self-parking, guest laundry facilities, a bar, and an on-site restaurant. Start your day with a complimentary continental breakfast before exploring the sights. You can always come back to your comfortable guest room and its free Wi-Fi access, cable TV, and coffee maker. Rooms featuring microwaves and ironing facilities are available upon request.