Queen of Victoria

Magnolia Hotel displays an understated elegance

By: Joanne Blaine

VANCOUVER, British Columbia The newest hotel in Victoria, B.C., does not boast a prominent waterfront location or an imposing lobby. Tucked away on a side street in the provincial capital, you might miss The Magnolia Hotel & Spa if you weren’t looking for it. But the Magnolia proves there’s a lot to be said for quiet elegance.

Floor-to-ceiling windows in each of the 63 rooms and gas fireplaces in rooms on the top two floors are the hotel’s showiest features. But it also boasts small luxuries, such as baskets of apples and premium chocolates in every room.

The hotel, which opened in 1998, is ideally situated a few blocks from Victoria’s inner harbor and the provincial parliament building, and some rooms offer an impressive view of both. The rooms at the front of the hotel, however, don’t have the view and are a bit too close to a lively pub downstairs, so request a room away from the street for clients.

Marble bathrooms with soaker tubs and separate showers are stocked with Aveda toiletries, which are also featured in the hotel’s spa. In addition to standard spa treatments, it offers hydrotherapy baths, a 20-minute treatment in which vigorous jets of water pound different areas of your body. You emerge fragrant and relaxed, with the odd sensation that you’ve had an intense massage by unseen fingers.

Even on a busy weekend, the staff was friendly and attentive. A complaint about a minor plumbing problem was quickly taken care of, as was a request for extra hypoallergenic pillows. However, a room provided by the hotel during a hosted visit proved to be unacceptably noisy the bed was close to the wall shared with the adjacent bathroom. Only the rooms at either end of the hallways appear to have this problem, so clients should avoid them.

The hotel has a well-equipped exercise room and two meeting rooms with state-of-the-art media equipment. Business travelers will appreciate the large desks and multi-line phones in all of the guest rooms.

The Magnolia is affiliated with Ocean Properties Ltd. Hotels and Resorts of Delray Beach, Fla., and it pays commissions.