Quaint, friendly and absolutely delicious. There are many ways to describe the historic British Columbian capital of Victoria, a small city with a very big heart. It’s often referred to as the highlight on any Canadian itinerary – it’s certainly one of mine – and anyone would surely agree once they walk the serene Ogden Breakwater, eat their way through the restaurant-lined Fort Street, or visit the spectacular Royal BC Museum.
It’s a walkable, exciting city that holds great appeal for any type of traveller. But it’s still worth being in the thick of downtown, which is where a historic property like Chateau Victoria Hotel & Suites comes in.
This enormous award-winning hotel is one of the lodging institutions of Victoria, tucked just off the major strip of Douglas Street close to just about every attraction a tourist would want. Buses to Butchart Gardens? Check. Coach transport to Vancouver? Check. Dining essentials like Italian eatery Pagliacci’s and Victoria Public Market. Check.
Of the 177 guestrooms across this towering hotel, the majority are apartment-style suites and offer some of the most spacious living in the city. Seven two-bedroom Penthouse Suites are available for larger groups, but for the most part you can expect a cosy and welcoming One Bedroom Suite to serve as the base for Victoria’s bountiful culture.
The property has been around since 1974, and while interiors are modern enough, the age definitely shows. Comfort and classic hospitality is of a high standard, maintained by the fact that the hotel houses two of the city’s premier destinations for drinking, dining and events.
Food & Drink
Firstly, there’s the dark and moody lobby-level bar, which brings a noticeable thematic disconnect from the bright lobby as guests enter this all-class cocktail bar that feels like it would have served as the template for shows like Mad Men.
Titled Clive’s Classic Lounge, the 50’s-style bar is the ideal place for slinking into a plush booth, martini in hand before calling it a night. You’ll find plenty of locals here, and a high standard that has come with being named one of the best hotel bars in the entire country. No arguments here, it’s a reputation surely earned through consistency and an undeniably cool, slick atmosphere.
On the rooftop is Vista 18 Restaurant, most valuable for its soaring views across to the city and energetic Inner Harbour area. It’s Victoria’s only rooftop bar, and though it’s covered, there’s plenty of spectacle as you peer over this beautiful city. Particularly at night, when the historic Legislative Assembly of British Columbia is illuminated.
As with pretty much all restaurants around Victoria, local produce is key and reason why the food is so good at Vista. Though they haven’t quite picked up their game where coffee is concerned (Australians are snobs, it’s true), the food and the tea is excellent.
Although it could use with an update, my One Bedroom Apartment is impressively large and comfortable. Luxurious linens have a lot to do with it, as does the mid-sized kitchenette with all the necessities
The rather drab colour scheme doesn’t take much away from the room’s incredible value. Step out on the balcony if you’re looking for something a bit more visually spectacular; Victoria’s cityscape keeps it small, so harbour views are expected.
Though fitness mostly always takes place outdoors in beautiful Victoria, there’s a small but well maintained gym on the second floor should guests feel the need. I’d suggest a run along the harbour over this, and then a post-jog soak in the large indoor swimming pool (or hot tub).
The property is locally owned, and always has been, so there’s a real sense of family amongst the staff. Which of course means better communication and service. Basically, if it can happen, it will. And it’s well worth asking staff for suggestions, given Victoria is a city with a lot of local dining secrets and gems many tourists would easily miss if they weren’t paying attention.
As Victoria is a highly seasonal city, hotel rates can fluctuate more than usual. It’s best to check their website on any dates you plan to visit.
FOUR STARS OUT OF FIVE
Address: 740 Burdett Ave, Victoria, BC V8W 1B2, Canada
Contact: +1 250-382-4221
The writer stayed as a guest of Chateau Victoria Hotel.
Feature image supplied. All photos by Chris Singh unless otherwise specified.