Have I told you guys lately how much I love Canada? The people, the nature, the food; everything in Canada has been top notch for me. My newest city to add to the list of Canadian cities I love is Victoria, B.C. Ever since moving to Seattle back in January, I have heard over and over about how wonderful and charming Victoria is. Ben and I finally decided to spend the weekend in Victoria and it lived up to and surpassed every expectation we had. We kept saying that we felt like we were in a Hallmark Christmas movie, and we were the stars! It was that magical!
HOW TO GET THERE: If you live in Seattle, the best way to arrive is by The Victoria Clipper. I cannot describe to you the ease and convenience The Clipper provided. We arrived at the ferry terminal, checked our bags, and walked on to the boat within 10 minutes. After a quick under 3 hour journey on one of the Clipper's high speed vessels ( we enjoyed coffee and breakfast on the boat), we arrived in the Victoria harbor. Canadian customs only took about 15 mins (if you know anything about crossing the border, this is INCREDIBLE) and we set off for our home away from home for the weekend.
WHERE TO STAY: We spent two incredible nights at the lovely Magnolia Hotel & Spa. We stayed in one of the Diamond rooms with a harbor view and were tempted to never leave. We spent lots of time lounging cozied up by the fireplace enjoying the gorgeous views of the water. We loved how spacious the room and bathroom were and the traditional decor was gorgeous and luxurious. It was in the perfect location and was within walking distance of everything. I love a hotel that puts you right in the midst of things with easy access to restaurants and shopping, and The Magnolia Hotel was just that. The service was incredible and we felt like family from the moment we stepped through the doors!
As a part of their holiday turn down service, The Magnolia Hotel leaves hot chocolate and Bailey's kits in your room. It was such a fun treat to come back to room and sip on before bed! Who doesn't love a little nightcap?
One of my favorite parts of staying in boutique hotels is the incredible attention to detail. The Magnolia Hotel has put together a series of maps for their guests that guide you around the city based upon your desired interest. They have everything you could think of from holiday maps to craft breweries, but Ben and I decided to to do the Tea-riffic trail. It was so fun to be explore the city by foot in search of the best tea rooms and tea shops!
Our first stop of the day was the lovely Venus Sophia Tea Room. It is located right in the heart of Chinatown and is only about a 10-15 minute walk from the Magnolia Hotel. It's what girly tea dreams are made of and a place I would love to take my mom and grandma some day (even Ben loved it). The tea was absolutely delicious (we suggest the Monk's Blend and the Victoria Rose) and the accompanying treats were equally as yummy (the quiche was to die for). We left pleasantly full and ready to walk off our stuffed bellies!
If you're looking to indulge in a little history and tradition, look no further than afternoon tea at the Fairmont Empress! The Empress first opened her doors in 1908 and has been standing tall over the harbor ever since. It truly is a magical and historic hotel that you cannot miss when traveling to Victoria. I loved popping in for afternoon tea + champs with my hubby. We lounged fireside and indulged on delicious scones and clotted cream and jam while sipping hot tea and bubbly. It was seriously divine!
The best part about traveling to Victoria over the holidays was all of the fabulous decor around town! Everywhere you looked was decked out in gorgeous lights and garland. It was pure Christmas magic and made me giddy! My favorite was the historic parliament building that was covered in tons of colorful lights. I drug Ben to see it lit up both nights because I loved it so much! Just walk towards the harbor and you won't miss it!
You can't wander the streets of Victoria without popping into one of the many shops! My favorite shop we stopped in was the gorgeous Silk Road Teas. After enjoying several lovely afternoon teas, it was apparent we had tea on the brain! It was SO fun to wander into Silk Road Teas and get to taste and smell a huge selection of rare artisan teas from China. We walked away with several different teas to brew at home!
WHERE TO EAT:
10 Acres Kitchen: A DELICIOUS farm-to-table dinner with a huge selection of wines. We had one of the best dining experiences we've ever had and everything from the food to the service was exceptional. I HIGHLY recommend making a reservation here (conveniently located right around the corner from The Magnolia). We also stopped in to the bistro part of the restaurant for happy hour each night!
Catalano Restaurant: A delicious restaurant attached to the hotel. We enjoyed breakfast here both mornings and were told they have the best happy hour in town!
Jam Cafe: We never got to eat here, but it was recommended to us several times for brunch! Definitely adding it to the list for next time!
Il Terazzo: We popped in after a recommendation from our bartender at happy hour and were lucky to snag the last two seats at the bar. They were completely booked with reservations, so I would highly recommend booking one in advance. The food was DELICIOUS, and I can't wait to go back!
After an incredible 48 hours exploring the charming and beautiful Victoria, we hopped back on The Clipper and set sail for Seattle. It's a must visit for anyone living in Washington and a place I would put at the top of the list if you ever get a chance to come to the Pacific North West.