Enjoy A Taste Of The Mediterranean amidst the Beauty of Vancouver Island's West Coast
By Chris McBeath

You probably wouldn't believe us if we told you a taste of the Mediterranean was just 30 minutes outside of Victoria BC.

We were amazed, too, when we saw red-tiled roofs, and teal green awnings on the mountainside villas. The only thing that gives away it's Northwest origin is the backdrop of magnificent cedar and arbutus trees. Appropriately named after the eagle, The Aerie is proudly perched above the Malahat. Designed, built, owned and operated by Leo and Maria Schuster, their "castle in the mountains" has earned much deserved recognition in the prestigious Relais and Chateaux.

We walked into our Aerie suite and were immediately awestruck. It was far beyond that of just a room. In nine hundred square feet of luxury, these three-tiered havens boast all the ingredients to create the intimacy couples come here to find. Canopy kings, plump with down duvets and Christian Dior linens, are romantically embraced by lace-draped fabric. On the middle tier, we looked forward to trying out the suite's decadent focal point. In an elevated window seat, the oversized Jacuzzi tub, cornered by gold leaf roman columns, is definitely made with lovers in mind. It overlooks the spacious living area where all the amenities have been considered for romance. We thought we had experienced it all, and then we opened the drapes to reveal how the Aerie got it's name. Like the captivating view from an Eagle's eye, we marveled at the scene before us. From every aspect of the multi-windowed suites is a magnificent view of the Finlayson Arm, and beyond, the picturesque San Juan Islands. On a very clear day, we were told you could even get a sight of Mount Rainier!

Private terraces that cascade down the hillside are separated by waterfalls and fish ponds to accommodate intimate interludes. We admired the immaculately manicured gardens and imagined how idyllic the setting would be for a wedding at the outdoor chapel.

Star gaze while relaxing in the outdoor hot tub, or bask lavishly in the one indoors. Challenge your partner to a tennis match or try out the "Aesthetically Yours" spa, which offers all luxuries from back massage to aroma therapy. They are wonderfully inviting and you'll want to try them all!

Dining itself, is an ultimate experience at The Aerie. Tucked away in one of the intimate alcoves we felt elegantly pampered. Exceptional vintages from France, Germany, California, and the Northwest are offered on the varied wine list. Chris Jones' culinary magic successfully brings out our Pacific Northwest flavors in his creative French cuisine. Try the exquisite seven course meal or order a la carte from the menu...definitely not weight watchers...but worth every decadent bite!

No comfort is overlooked at The Aerie. When we returned to our suite, fresh towels and decadent chocolate truffles were waiting on our turned down bed. Coffee and an assortment of teas were also provided for the morning.

The complimentary breakfast includes an assortment of pastries and is followed by your choice from the varied menu. Brent chose the traditional selection of bacon and eggs, while I decided to be a little more daring and try the roasted venison. Prepared with a European flair, both of our meals were absolutely outstanding.

We took our time, enjoying coffee and conversation, nothanting to leave this Mediterranean paradise. So close to golf, sailing, hiking, and whale watching and yet perfectly secluded with romance in mind. We decided that we'd just have to book the "two day Romantic Hideaway Package" on our next visit!

If You Go:

The Aerie
Resort P.O Box 108,
Malahat, B.C. Canada V0R 2L0
Phone: 250-743-7115 Fax: 250-743-4766
Web site: www.aerie.bc.ca
E-mail: aerie@relaischateaux.fr

General Manager: Markus Griesser

A breathtaking scenic drive along the Malahat, thirty Miles north from Victoria will take you to this "Castle In The Mountains"

Vancouver and other lower mainland travelers: B.C. Ferries accommodates travelers from Tsawwassen or Horseshoe Bay terminals to Swartz Bay. General Information for sailing schedule is 1-888-BCFERRY (223-3779)

For our State-side Neighbors: Either the Victoria Clipper, The Princess Marguerite, or the Washington State Ferries will meet your needs For those who have time restraints or want to start their romantic adventure with a bit of excitement, try flying in via helicopter to the Aerie's private helipad!

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