Sweet Escape

Abigail’s Hotel welcomes bed-and-breakfast lovers in the heart of Victoria

By: Janice Mucalov

Breakfast arrives as we chat with a couple from Seattle at a communal table fresh fruit salad, warm citrus cranberry muffins and poached eggs on roasted zucchini and roma tomatoes, drizzled with a saffron Hollandaise sauce. It’s as delicious as our companions are delightful. A preservation architect, she’s here in Victoria for a seminar; her husband has joined her for a weekend break.

“That’s what we’re about,” says Marion Hansen, the general manager for Abigail’s Hotel, the deluxe bed-and-breakfast where we’re staying. “You get to meet and enjoy the company of other guests.”

Built as a Tudor-style apartment building in the 1930s, Abigail’s has been converted into an elegant B&B. In a quiet residential area just a five-minute stroll from Victoria’s downtown picturesque Inner Harbor, it evokes the charm and history of days gone by.

There are 23 rooms to choose from many with period antique furnishings, wood-burning fireplaces and Italian marble bathrooms. Touches like candles, fresh flowers and a welcome basket with home-baked cookies complement every room. Contemporary amenities include free wireless high-speed Internet and flat-screen TV’s. For a special occasion, book clients into one of the two newly renovated honeymoon suites, with vaulted ceilings, stained-glass windows and double Jacuzzi tubs with neck towels placed at either end. The plush four-poster king bed is so high, a little white footstool is provided. The other rooms in the original main house, which feature queen beds, are all different in size, decor and configuration.

For longer stays, the Coach House rooms in a separate new building offer more amenities. Each has a sitting area with leather couch, coffee maker and small fridge. The Coach House rooms all have king beds. Clients who can’t bear to leave Fifi behind when traveling will be tickled that some rooms are also pooch-friendly. In the late afternoons, tasty appetizers are set out in the cozy library. To stave off hunger before dinner our first day, we sat by the crackling fire and nibbled on hummus and pita bread, samosas and a selection of cheeses. Cider was complimentary, but a glass of good local wine can also be purchased.

Breakfast in the sunny breakfast room (or out on the flower-filled patio in summer) is included in the rates, and there’s a choice of a savory, sweet or healthy entree. Our second morning, I had a hard time choosing between the dark chocolate and mascarpone crepes with fresh strawberries or the ham, leek and Swiss cheese omelette accompanied by maple smoked bacon and scalloped red potatoes.

Last year, Abigail’s added the Pearl Spa Room, so clients can book treatments in-house.

Abigail’s has won several awards, including Victoria’s “best small hotel” by Frommer’s for the past four years. Judging by our recent stay, I can see why.


Abigail's Hotel

Commision: 10 percent


Wine Touring: Small boutique family-owned wineries have blossomed big-time in recent years around Victoria. Clients can sample playful fruit wines like blackcurrant, loganberry, quince and kiwi concoctions at the Marley Farm Winery, one of six wineries within a 15- to 20-minute drive from Victoria. For clients without a rental car, Clipper Vacations offers a Southern Vancouver Island Wine Tour and Lunch package just 45 minutes from Victoria. Five wineries, gourmet lunch and chauffeured limousine bus are included. www.clippervacations.com

Royal BC Museum: Where else can you journey back millions of years to be blasted by cold as you approach a giant Woolly mammoth on a real wall of ice? Starting April 14, a poignant new presentation of Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition runs for six months (to mid-October). Climb the gangway, and immerse yourself in the Titanic passenger experience. Authentically recreated first- and third-class cabins and other galleries showcase some 281 artifacts recovered from the ship’s undersea resting place; the Titanica documentary is being screened in the museum’s IMAX theatre.

Great Walks: Walking is one of the best ways to enjoy Victoria. My favorite is a stroll through beautiful Beacon Hill Park downtown, past the pond lilies and fountains, to the ocean’s edge. A waterfront pathway then leads to Ogden Point, where scuba divers explore the undersea wall. Continue to Fisherman’s Wharf to eye the floating houseboats and the Inner Harbor, then finish off with a glass of bubbly on the Veranda of the Fairmont Empress (better than its famous afternoon tea!).