Tower above Victoria’s Inner Harbour At this Great Escape
By Jane & Brent Cassie
Contributors to Travelink Publishing
Thousands of twinkling lights framed BC’s legislative buildings, glittering a nighttime welcome as we entered Victoria’s Inner Harbour area. Known as the heart and soul of our capital, it’s the place where the business bustle mixes with oceanfront attractions for all ages even for our twelve-year-old son and his best bud!
The Harbour Towers Hotel, conveniently located within a short walk to all of the hot spots, is a four star member of Canada Select. Forty percent of their one hundred and eighty four rooms are spacious suites. Some are equipped with fireplaces and kitchens, and as we found out, are perfect for accommodating families.
Although starting out the journey hidden behind their pre-teen ‘I’m cool’ demeanors, the reminiscent boisterous guffaws from the two boys were soon expressed upon arrival. "There are three TV’s!" Dan squealed with excitement, as he checked out our two floors of living comfort. I was more taken by the unobstructed ocean view from every picture window, and I envisioned myself later enjoying it while being ensconced in one of the wing backed chairs, luxuriating in solitude. How realistic could that vision be on a weekend getaway with two boys? Not very, but I was determined to at least find time to try out the Jacuzzi tub!
Later, we enjoyed fine dining at the Harbour Towers Impressions Café. In addition to exceptional West Coast fare, the chef also featured specialties in celebration of Italian month. While our mouths watered over exquisite entrees such as grilled snapper deliciously complementing a bed of pesto linquini, and stuffed chicken breast served with grilled polenta, the two boys delighted in the younger favourites chicken strips and juicy gourmet burgers both, of course, equipped with fries! With decadent chocolate mousse cake and caramel apple crisp to follow, the meal was a hit for all. Impressions also features a varied breakfast and lunch menu designed to please any palate.
Victoria offers a wealth of attractions, and although we thought high tea at The Empress or a scenic marine drive would suit our fancy, we rather doubted that it would for two twelve year olds. After checking out the many options from our hotel’s activity guide, we came up with three that did, and they were all within a short jaunt from the hotel.
"It won’t sting or bite," reassured Krista, our Victoria Bug Zoo guide, as she lifted the Giant African Millipede from out of it’s glass enclosure.
We watched in amazement as the animal stretched out the length of her forearm, and while the boys tentatively touched, I preferred to be on the other side of my camera. We were introduced to over thirty species of creepy crawly critters, some camouflaged, others that hissed, and many that looked like they might be from another planet! For twelve year-olds and bug lovers alike, it was a hit.
We then united a little history lesson with pleasure, when visiting the incredible Royal British Columbia Museum. Through realistic re-creations, we journeyed from the ice age times, where wooly Mammoths roamed the earth, to the present day ecosystems of our forests and coastline. We admired the collection of artifacts from our First Nations people and meandered through the Modern History Gallery, where a step back in time took us to the 1700’s. Truly a museum like no other, we highly recommend planning an entire afternoon for this event!
Last but not least, we checked out the Royal London Wax Museum where eye to eye contact with over two hundred realistic replicas has been made possible. Our trail led past presidents, politicians, and royalty, then onto the boys’ favourite exhibit the prisoners of the horror chambers!
By the end of the day a body massage at the hotel’s spa sounded mighty appealing where, from their penthouse location, a full range of esthetic services was offered. As for our two energized young lads - they made a beeline for the shimmering pool and hot tub where cannonballs and shark tag was in store a definite grand finale to this great escape for our twelve-year-old son and his best bud!
If You Go:
The Harbour Towers Hotel
345 Quebec Street
Victoria, BC Canada V8V 1W4
Phone: 250-385-2405 or 1-800-663-5896
Vancouver and other lower mainland travelers: BC 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 Coho ferry from Port Angeles, or the Washington State Ferries will meet your needs
Regularly scheduled airline, float plane and helicopter service is also available from Vancouver and Seattle.
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