Vancouver is the darling – it’s the better-known city.
But Victoria, the beautiful capital of British Columbia, is getting its fair share of tourism ink too. There are oodles of fab things to do in Victoria. Indeed, the New York Times has called it an “urban jewel.” The downtown Inner Harbor – with its yachts, sea planes and small ferries – is one of the most picturesque in the world.
There are some lovely luxury hotels in Victoria, BC, too. We know! We live in Victoria – and have stayed at many of the hotels here (as well as visiting their restaurants).
Luxury hotels in Victoria, BC
When it comes to deciding where to stay in Victoria, BC, you’ll find lots of choice.
If you’d like a self-contained suite or house with your own kitchen, we’ve sussed out some charming Airbnbs in Victoria.
But if you don’t want or need a kitchen, then the most pleasurable way to visit is by staying in one of the city’s luxury hotels.
We’ve bedded down at all of the following 7 Victoria, BC, hotels – and can personally recommend them.
1) Inn at Laurel Point
Best Victoria Inner Harbour hotel
For that close-up Inner Harbor experience, we loved our stay at the Laurel Point Inn.
One of the best hotels in Victoria, it sports a brick and glass look that’s modern and futuristic. All of its 200 rooms and suites have harbor views.
There are two wings at the inn, Arthur Erickson and Laurel. They’re connected by a large public area which includes the hotel’s restaurant, bar and indoor pool.
Accommodations in the Arthur Erickson Wing are more luxurious, Zen-like and filled with light. The smallest are 400 sq. ft. studios. Suites range from 560 sq. ft to 1,105 sq. ft.
Marble bathrooms have deep soaker tubs, separate glass walk-in showers, L’Occitane bath products and sliding shoji doors. Colorful Canadian landscapes decorate the walls. And expansive balconies with glass railings are perfect for soaking up the sunshine, glass of wine or coffee in hand, as you gaze at the sea planes splashing down and taking off.
Laurel Wing Guest Rooms are more traditional (and a little darker) – but less expensive.
Standard rooms are 300 square feet in size and feature Juliet (standing only) balconies, dark brown leather club chairs and soothing neutral décor.
2) Abigail’s Hotel
Top bed-and-breakfast Victoria, BC
This romantic adults-only hotel, with just 23 rooms, nails the heritage bed-and-breakfast experience, blurring the lines between B&B and a small boutique hotel.
There are several room types at Abigail’s, each decorated individually. But all have bathrobes and fresh flowers.
In the Main House, “Ruby King” rooms (300 sq. ft.) offer claw-foot soaking tubs and king-size beds. “Rose” rooms on the top 3rd floor feature double-sided gas fireplaces between the bathroom and bedroom.
We especially like the elegant “Emerald” rooms in the separate coach house. They offer king-size beds, marble bathrooms with rainshowers, Malin + Goetz bath amenities and wood-burning fireplaces.
Rates include welcoming freshly-baked cookies, evening appetizers served in the lobby and a delicious three-course breakfast – spinach frittata with chicken apple sausage and fried yams anyone?
3) Oak Bay Beach Hotel
Best seaside luxury hotel in Victoria, BC
Want a seaside holiday just a few minutes’ drive from downtown? The Tudor-inspired Oak Bay Beach Hotel is the place to stay in Victoria.
Outdoor pool and beach access:
We love its heated outdoor mineral pools, set on a rocky outcropping jutting out into the Juan de Fuca Strait. Watch kayakers paddle by and eagles soar overhead as you sip on a glass of British Columbia Chardonnay (waiters offer food and drink service).
Step outside the hotel and walk along Beach Drive (one of the most scenic walks in Victoria) and you reach Willows Beach, a lovely long curve of sandy beach, perfect for a beach day.
The hotel has 100 rooms and suites – you’ll want to book a room with an ocean view and private balcony or terrace. Choose from rooms (375 to 500 sq. ft.) to one-bedroom suites (600 to 760 sq. ft.) with kitchens and dining areas. But even the rooms have small galley kitchenettes and fireplaces.
There are also two top floor, two-level penthouses with two bathrooms that sleep four guests each.
The latest addition to the hotel’s dining offerings is FARO, a café-cum-bistro specializing in serving hand-crafted pizzas from a wood stone pizza oven and local BC wines. You can sit at the tasting bar inside or outside on an outdoor patio.
The Snug Pub – Victoria’s first neighborhood pub – is an attractive place for fish-and-chips or a burger and brew.
Its outside patio has fabulous sea views. (But it loses the sun and can be cool in the evenings, so bring a warm sweater. Or go for a late lunch instead.)
4) Fairmont Empress
Best 5-star hotel in Victoria, BC
With 464 luxurious rooms and suites, the Fairmont Empress Hotel is the most famous hotel in Victoria, BC – and the grand dame of 5-star Victoria hotels.
Opened in 1908, it’s one of Canada’s grand railway hotels. The location is fabulous, right on the waterfront overlooking Victoria’s famous Inner Harbor.
Rooms range in size from 230 sq.ft. to 430 sq.ft. Signature harbor view rooms have lovely views over Victoria’s Inner Harbor and come with a small sitting area in a nook by the window. Suites vary in size from 420 sq. ft. to 850 sq.ft. for the Signature one-bedroom harbor view suites to 1,600 sq. ft. for the Royal Suite.
Afternoon tea in the Empress’ renovated and elegant Lobby Lounge is legendary.
For summer, you can ask for the “Empress Tea to Go” box (with iced tea instead of hot tea) – so you can enjoy a delicious picnic by the sea at one of Victoria’s best beaches or on the Empress lawns.
5) Villa Marco Polo Inn
A sumptuous B&B in Victoria, BC
Built in 1923 as a gift for a young bride, this boutique B&B is a beautiful place to celebrate a romantic getaway. (It’s often booked for weddings.) Hardwood floors dressed with Persian carpets, ornate gold-framed mirrors, Italian and Chinese ceramics, fine antiques – the Renaissance-style mansion wows the minute you step foot inside.
And then there’s the Italianate garden with a reflecting pool and fountains, a sanctuary really – providing an outdoor space to rest and relax.
We walk by this inn often, as it’s just a few blocks from our house – it’s one of the most special and best places to stay in Victoria, BC.
Choose from 5 individually decorated suites.
The Alexandria is a cozy choice if visiting in cooler weather, as it features a gas fireplace and adjoining sitting room to relax with a book. The Zanzibar suite (favored by honeymooners) is light and bright, with a Juliette balcony and a huge ivory-and-gold bathroom with a claw-footed double soaker tub and romantic lighting.
On the top (third floor), the Penthouse Shiraz evokes feelings of being in an exotic far-away land with its Persian décor and furniture from Damascus. It features a full balcony (you can see the ocean from here), beamed ceiling, king-size bed and a spare queen-size bed in the living area.
Multi-course breakfasts are delicious. Perhaps a smoothie, fresh fruit and muffins hot-from-the-oven to start. Then a hot savory dish – maybe spinach-and-cheese souffle or scrambled eggs and asparagus vol au vent. And there’s always something sweet to finish off, like lemon tart with blueberries.
Need to know:
Located in the Rockland residential district, the Marco Polo Inn is a 5-minute drive (20- to 30-minute walk) from downtown, so you’ll want a car if staying here.
6) Villa Eyrie
One of the most unique places to stay in Victoria, BC
For a little bit of Italy just a 25-minute drive from Victoria, say hello to Villa Eyrie! Wrought-iron railings, porticos and Tuscan-inspired columns all make you feel like you’ve been transported to a fine hotel around Lake Como.
Except then you see the views.
Set high on the Malahat mountainside 1,880 feet above sea level, the boutique hotel has gob-smacking views of the Saanich Inlet and Vancouver Island. That’s when you realize, no this isn’t Italy. But it’s just as heavenly.
No two spaces in the 38-room Villa Eyrie resort are decorated the same way. For instance, the Cielo Junior Suite has hardwood floors, hand-woven area rugs, a fireplace and probably the best views. But all rooms at Villa Eyrie, which is a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World, have pillow-top mattresses and deep-soaker tubs. If you’re a light sleeper, ask for a top floor room so you don’t hear sounds from above.
The Alpina Restaurant gets rave reviews as one of Vancouver Island’s best restaurants.
Indeed, it makes Villa Eyrie a foodie destination. The chefs blend the flavors and cuisines of Europe’s Alpine regions to create an ever-changing menu.
Perhaps you’ll start your day with crepes, stuffed with roasted pear and pecans, or a three-egg omelette filled with goat cheese, bell peppers and house-cured back bacon.
If you stop for lunch, you might dine on simmered pretzel dumplings and four-hour braised short ribs in a celery root puree. For dinner, how about mushroom ravioli to start, followed by seared scallops with lemon-mascarpone risotto. (Are you drooling now?)
Also popular is the resort’s Tuscan Spa, with three treatment rooms and 180-degree views of the Malahat mountain range.
7) Magnolia Hotel
Best boutique hotel in Victoria, BC
You can’t beat the location of the aptly-named, 64-room Magnolia Hotel, a few steps from Victoria’s main shopping avenue (Government Street) and two blocks from the Inner Harbour.
Rooms are serenely decorated in dove-grey and silver hues. Book a “Diamond” harbour-view room for smashing views and a gas fireplace to cozy up to when temps dip.
Nightly turn-down service and chocolates round out a deluxe stay.
Its Courtney Room was named one of Canada’s 10 best new restaurants for 2018. We have to confess we haven’t eaten here yet, but it’s on our list!
If you like our reviews of these luxury hotels in Victoria, BC, check out our reviews of many other hotels around the world.
Photo credits: 8 © Janice and George Mucalov, SandInMySuitcase | Other photos courtesy the respective hotels