Victoria: The Magnolia
With just 64 rooms, the independently owned Magnolia Hotel & Spa always ranks high on the annual top 10 lists. A service-forward approach and a close-to-everything downtown location minutes from Victoria’s inner harbour make it a hit with both tourists and the busy bleisure crowd.
Vibe: The majority of Magnolia guests are week-day travellers from the realms of finance, law (the courthouse is nearby), government and IT. Traditional décor is elegant but not overstated and modern touches keep it from getting mumsy. Vaulted ceilings, gleaming glass, gold accents and orchids dress things up nicely. Grey felt sofas and a gas fireplace warm up the lobby lounge area, where floor-to-ceiling wood paneling is propped up with equally dramatic patterned curtains. Tourists change seasonally, with the shoulder seasons seeing more regional guests from Vancouver and Seattle.
Rooms: Spacious rooms (starting at 300 square feet) feature multiple patterns and textures, with colours borrowed from the rest of the hotel décor—taupe, pearl, silver, grey, gold. Modern marble bathrooms all have a shower and tub, plus plenty of vanity space. Ask for a Signature corner suite for a view of the parliament buildings, a gas fireplace and a cozy corner for reading.
F&B: Opened in 2018, The Courtney Room is bright and white, an airy French bistro-style neighbourhood hub with a more casual main-floor brasserie and bar, and a smaller, upscale upstairs dining room. Expect local fish and meat with a bit of a French twist. The tasting menu is highly recommended. For breakfast, the Egg, Avocado and Crab salad will last you to lunch and beyond.
Extras: Repeat guests have everything as they like it, thanks to detailed notes from their last stay. Spa Magnolia sports seven treatment rooms, a relaxation lounge and well-equipped change rooms, its signature treatment being a 90-minute body scrub, facial and massage. The hotel also has bikes to lend guests, and has created a series of seasonal and theme-based biking and walking maps to show visitors the best of Victoria.
THINGS TO DO: ON VANCOUVER ISLAND
Off-Site: With 20 restaurants within a five-block radius and the cream of Victoria’s shopping within just seven blocks, there’s little need to get on a bus or in a cab. Victoria Conference Centre, The Royal BC Museum, the Harbour Air Seaplanes dock and the BC legislature are all a five-minute walk away. Both the Dallas Road beach and Holland Point Park are a six-minute drive away.