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Where to Stay in Victoria
There are numerous hotels in Victoria and in nearby towns throughout Vancouver Island. In the heart of the city, the largest district of hotels is located on the south side of the Inner Harbour. These rooms are within walking distance of the harbour’s scenic promenade, the Parliament Buildings, the Royal BC Museum and the Undersea Gardens, where you can view marine life from a glass-enclosed viewing theatre 16 feet below sea level.
Another large but more spread-out hotel district is just a short stroll away in Downtown Victoria, on the east side of Inner Harbour. This neighborhood is packed with restaurants, bars, and shops, so while it can be busy and loud at night, it’s truly the center of the action in Victoria. The section of Downtown closest to the waterfront is Victoria’s Old Town, where many of the buildings are beautifully restored Victorian and Edwardian mansions.
If you need cheap hotel deals in Victoria to suit your travel budget, look in the neighborhoods of James Bay to the south, George Road to the north and West Bay to the west, on the other side of Inner Harbour. If you’re willing to look for accommodations outside of Victoria, you’ll find outstanding hotels in more peaceful settings in towns like Sidney, Bear Mountain, Saanich, Malahat and Sooke.
Victoria Hotel Tips
Most lodging options near Inner Harbour are lavish luxury properties, including towering spa hotels, bed and breakfast mansion inns and hip, modern boutiques. Mid-range and budget hotels are less common but still easy to find; the cheapest accommodations include hostels that generally cater to students and backpackers.
Farther from the city, many resorts have positioned themselves as tranquil retreats with posh spa services and nature excursions arranged by hotel staff. If you’d like more privacy, you’ll also find a few furnished cabins and vacation homes for rent, with many located right on the water.
Victoria Hotel Recommendations
The historic Fairmont Empress, one of the most recognizable buildings on Victoria’s waterfront, boasts impressive interiors to match its postcard-perfect façade. The elegant rooms and prime Inner Harbour location are huge perks, but the hotel may be best known for the amenities that are also open to the general public, namely its fine dining restaurants and sophisticated afternoon tea service. If you don’t choose to stay at the Fairmont Empress, stopping by for a look around and a leisurely tea session is recommended.
The ultra-luxe category is extremely competitive, with standard-setters like The Inn at Laurel Point offering some of Victoria’s best spa pampering in the privacy of each plush, Asian-inspired guest room. An on-site art gallery, Japanese garden and ornamental pond, along with stunning water views from every room, make this one of the most popular hotel destinations in the city.
If you’re seeking comfort at a more affordable price, the Abbeymoore Manor Inn is a small Victorian mansion B&B with reasonable rates on huge, bright rooms with private baths and ornate antique furnishings. The largest rooms will make you feel like you’re in your home away from home with features like fully equipped kitchens.
When staying outside the city limits, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a finer room than those at Brentwood Bay Resort, located about 14 miles to the north. Private ocean-view balconies, decorative gas fireplaces and spacious showers with multiple massaging shower heads solidify this retreat’s standout status. A private guest water taxi to the nearby Butchart Gardens, complimentary gourmet breakfasts and a full menu of spa treatments are just a few of the high-end features.
The best way to get around in Victoria depends a great deal on where you’re staying and what you intend to do during your trip. Downtown Victoria is very pedestrian-friendly, and covering the city on foot is the best way to savor its sights; if your hotel is in this area, you may be able to get by with public transportation and your own two feet. If you’re staying closer to the city’s outskirts, renting a car at Victoria International Airport after your flight to Victoria will give you more freedom to explore without the hassle of waiting for rides and scheduling your days around buses.
BC Transit provides bus transportation throughout the metro area, and many of its routes make use of fun double-decker buses, where the upper decks offer excellent views of the passing scenery. These buses are the most affordable means of reaching attractions outside of Downtown Victoria, such as the Butchart Gardens.
Taxis are available though several local cab companies, but you’ll need to call for a ride in many areas. Near the harbor and in front of the largest hotels, you may be able to find a taxi waiting for a fare.
Victoria is considered one of North America’s most cyclist-friendly cities, as it offers miles of scenic and well-planned bike paths, and its local drivers are known to be courteous to riders. If the weather is suitable and you’d like to take a ride, you’ll find affordable bike rentals throughout Downtown Victoria and other tourist districts.