Updated: May 21, 2015
Best Victoria BC HotelsLocated on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, tantalizingly close to Washington State, is the city of Victoria, BC. Just a 90 minute ferry ride from Port Angeles, Victoria is THE main city on the island, and a delightful place to spend a weekend. Most popular during the summer months, with plenty of outdoor bars and restaurants overlooking the harbor, Victoria is inviting any time of the year. Assuming you arrive by ferry into the Inner Harbor, you'll be greeted by the sight of perhaps the most famous hotel on the island, The Fairmont Empress. It stands guard over the harbor like some ancient castle or chateau. But a hidden jewel just around the block is the subject of this review - The Magnolia Hotel and Spa in Victoria, BC. In this review, we will cover a recent visit to the Magnolia, with maps showing location, room information, amenities, rates, photos and more.
Magnolia Hotel in Victoria CanadaThe picture to the right shows the location of the Magnolia Hotel in downtown Victoria, BC, just 2 blocks from the harbor and 1 block from The Fairmont Empress Hotel. If you are facing the front of the Empress, the Magnolia is one block over to the left off of Courtney Street (that's where the main entrance is). Located between Government Street and Douglas Street, right by the harbor, the Magnolia is in one of the best locations in Victoria. Everything is within a short walking distance. The hotel has 64 rooms on 7 floors and was selected as one of the top 3 hotels in Canada by Conde Nast in 2007. As you enter from Courtney Street, the registration desk is to the immediate left. A small lobby with a few sofas, chairs, piano, and fireplace is to your right -- that's also where the 2 elevators are located. Check-in was quick and painless, and an express check-out was offered as well (bill is left under the door on your final night). Beyond checking in and out, we didn't have much interaction with the staff. Their official website is MagnoliaHotel.com.
The Google map below shows the location of the Magnolia - it's the upper blue marker, while the Empress is the lower blue marker, just to show how close they are. The Inner Harbor is off to the left there.
View Victoria BC Hotels in a larger map
Victoria, Canada Hotels: Magnolia Hotel RoomsSo lets get to the rooms. The elevator basically sits in the center of the building, and the rooms occupy the outer perimeter. Low number rooms are to the left, higher number rooms are to the right as you exit the elevator. Rooms on floors 6 and 7 are called diamond level rooms - they are a little larger, have gas fireplaces, and better views (they also get a nightly turndown service and some extra chocolates!). We stayed on the 7th floor in room 709, which is a city-view room looking towards the Strathcona Hotel (and Sticky Wicket Pub) just across Douglas Street. The city view was pretty good, but not as dramatic as some of the available views.. The rooms with the best views look out over The Empress and Victoria Harbor area -- ask for those when you book (they have a little map behind the front desk showing the view from each room). Sitting by your fireplace while looking out across the roof of the Empress towards the harbor lights -- if you can get it, that's the view you want. Also consider the corner rooms, which give you two walls of windows looking out towards 2 different angles.
Two apples, 2 chocolates, and 2 bottles of water are waiting for you in your room when you arrive. Rooms offer king or queen beds, complimentary Internet access, a fully stocked minibar with a selection of teas and coffees in-room, two chairs and a desk area, and comfy bathrobes in the closet. There is also a dresser upon which sits a good-sized flat screen TV, with about 100 cable channels. The bathroom had a marble counter with single sink, all the usual soap and shampoo amenities. There is a glass shower stall and a separate soaking tub. Very clean, very elegant. There was a good variety of pillows (6) on the king bed -- if you can't find one you like, you may be too picky! The fireplace is a nice addition if you are there in fall or winter -- great to sit in the evening looking out over the city (again, only in upper floor rooms).
In terms of room rates, we checked rates for mid-November -- $169 for superior, $229 ($CAD) for Diamond level; for March, $149 Superior, $209 Diamond; rates are higher in the summer. As a comparison, rooms at The Empress in mid-November were offered at $239 for a basic queen room, $359 for a harbor view. We paid $189 for a Diamond level King room the first week of November.
Complimentary continental breakfast includes waffles (make your own), toast and english muffins, fresh fruit, yogurt, cereal, and granola, while beverages include coffee, tea, juice, milk, and hot cocoa. The breakfast is offered inside the adjoining Prime Steakhouse, just through the lobby (left as you exit the elevators), from 7AM to 10AM daily.
The Spa Magnolia is another reason guests visit this hotel. They offer a variety of scrubs, hydrotherapy, waxing, facials, and massages ranging from $65 for a facial or 30 minute massage, to $175 for a 90 minute hot stone massage. Why not indulge yourself? The Spa is open 10AM to 6PM daily, open to 8PM on Fri and Sat.
Adjoining the Magnolia Hotel is the Prime Steakhouse restaurant, offering 6 different cuts of steak (try bone-in New York for a treat) with lamb, seafood, and chicken offerings as well. If you brought your appetite, perhaps the 20oz Porter House is your thing! They offer a daily lunch (11:30-4:30) and dinner (4:30-11PM). Appetizers are $10-$18, entrees are around $25, while the steaks run from $24 to $42.
Victoria: Magnolia Hotel Review and SummaryOverall, we give the Magnolia a 9 out of 10. Location can't be beat, rooms are elegant and clean, some with terrific views, service is very good. The free breakfast is generous. Coming over from the US, we like to have a hotel within a few minutes walk of the ferry, and the Magnolia really fits that bill without breaking the bank. So if you are looking for a place to stay in Victoria, put the Magnolia at the top of your list.
Below are more pictures showing you what the hotel looks like. Enjoy. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions.
|Here's the minibar area, with coffee maker and coffee and tea selections.
|Here's the bathroom - quite modern and clean.
|The rest of the bathroom, shower and tub..
|A picture of the small sitting are in the lobby - not huge, but cozy with piano and fireplace.
|View from our windows..
|View from Douglas Street, Magnolia is on the left there..