Weekend Wanderings: Victoria, BC

Photo Credit: Magnolia Hotel

One of my favorite things about living in Seattle is our close proximity to Canada, and Victoria is one of the best destinations for a weekend getaway. There is so much to love about this quaint Canadian city, from the beautiful harbor views, to the sprawling restaurant scene. Victoria makes you feel as if you’re in Europe, when in reality it’s less than a three hour ferry ride from Seattle!

We had the pleasure of visiting just recently and got to experience so many of the wonderful things that this city has to offer, so without further ado, here’s your guide to a lovely weekend getaway to Victoria.

Getting There

There are several ways that you can get to Victoria, but we definitely recommend taking the Victoria Clipper. This scenic ferry ride takes 2 hours and 45 minutes, traveling directly between Pier 69 in downtown Seattle and the Belleville Terminal in downtown Victoria’s Inner Harbor.

There are food and drinks served on board for you to enjoy while cruising through the Salish Sea. The passenger-only round trip fare for the Clipper ranges from $115 to $160, depending on the time of year.

Where to Stay

We stayed at the Magnolia Hotel during our weekend in Victoria, and we couldn’t recommend it more. Locally owned and operated, the Magnolia Hotel is Victoria’s top luxury boutique hotel. It’s located right in the heart of the city and is walking distance from the picturesque Inner Harbor, and many shops, boutiques, and restaurants.

The Magnolia Hotel offers both stunning waterfront views and unparalleled service. We were taken care of from the moment we arrived. It’s no wonder that it was recognized in both the Conde Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards and the Travel + Leisure World’s Best list this year!

We stayed in one of the hotel’s “Diamond Rooms,” which had so many wonderful features, including floor-to-ceiling windows, a cozy fireplace, a deep soaker tub, a Nespresso machine, and a Dyson hairdryer. We really felt at home during our stay.

Photo Credit: Magnolia Hotel

Another thing we love about the Magnolia Hotel is its growing collection of Curated Trail maps with independent and artisan recommendations throughout the city. We really enjoyed the Craft Brewery Trail and the Tapas Trail! There are trails dedicated to sightseeing as well.

Perhaps most importantly for our fellow foodies, the Magnolia Hotel is home to The Courtney Room, their beautiful on-site restaurant that won Best West Coast Upscale in the YAM Magazine 2022 Restaurant Awards. The hotel also has a full-service conscious wellness spa, Spa Magnolia.

The Magnolia Hotel is currently running some fantastic hotel deals. They have several packages that include discounts, complimentary dining at the Courtney Room, and more.

Where to Eat + Drink

The Courtney Room

An extension of the Magnolia Hotel’s award-winning boutique hotel experience, The Courtney Room is a modern dining space where guests can enjoy a menu that showcases local ingredients and honors both land and sea. The Courtney Room is inspired by the classic French bistro, featuring abstract expressionist art and an elegant ambiance.

Gather at the bar for fresh-shucked oysters, unwind with friends over shared plates and cocktails in the lower brasserie, or savor an elevated experience in the upstairs dining room with impeccably prepared local seafood, steak, and fine wines from the Pacific Northwest.

We started our evening in the brasserie, sipping on handcrafted cocktails that were fun, delicious, and unlike anything we’ve had before. We snacked on the Potatoes Courtney, which are essentially a fancy twist on tater tots and are not to be missed–fried in duck fat and served with homemade ranch.

Campaschi crudo at The Courtney Room. Photo Credit: Molly Amber

We then made our way to the upstairs dining room, which featured a gorgeous glassed-in wine room and vintage style lighting. We decided to indulge in the chef’s tasting menu with wine pairings, which was absolutely phenomenal. Highlights included a foie gras “leggo” paired with a sparkling wine from Ontario, twelve day aged Campaschi crudo paired with a natural Semillon that reminded us of an orange wine, and duck breast with truffle paired with a bright, fruity red that closely resembled an Oregon Pinot Noir. Parts of our meal were lightly dusted with caviar, which was a lovely touch. If you’re looking for a fancy date night, this is truly the perfect spot!

In addition to dinner, the Courtney Room also offers a continental breakfast, brunch, lunch, and happy hour.

The Teahouse at Abkhazi Garden

The Teahouse at Abkhazi Garden is a world renowned, historical tea house that offers exceptional food in a beautiful setting. Seasonal menus showcase regional or Abkhazi Garden-grown produce, complementing the garden’s appearance when it is in bloom.

Located a bit further inland from Victoria’s inner harbor, we took the scenic route to get there, passing through Beacon Hill Park followed by a picturesque stroll along the water, which looked out at the Juan de Fuca Strait and Ross Bay.

We partook in the Festive Christmas High Tea, which is $65/person and includes four courses. The hot honey buttered crumpets, turkey cranberry croissants, freshly baked cheddar dill scones with house made clotted cream, and Granny’s shortbread were just a few of our favorites. The seasonal peppermint tea was the perfect complement to the treats that we devoured.

Festive Christmas High Tea at the Teahouse at Abkhazi Garden. Photo Credit: Molly Amber

Other spots we loved, that are definitely worth checking out:

Q at the Empress

Nubo Japanese Tapas

Il Terrazzo Ristorante

Eva Schnitzelhaus

Artemis Whiskey Bar

For more information on everything that Victoria has to offer, check out Tourism Victoria. Happy traveling!