Guest Author - Ann Carroll Burgess
DOWNTOWN DIVAS DESCEND ON VICTORIA
Sometimes, even when you live on an island you just have to get away. This was the case when my sister-in-law and I set off for adventure in Victoria, British Columbia. Although we live only a short two hours north of the city we are worlds away from the hustle and bustle of British Columbia’s capital city.
Victoria is best known as being a “little bit of Britain” at the very tip of Vancouver Island. Its nightly-lit parliament building bears a strong resemblance to Harrods’s at night, the statue of Queen Victoria is prominently placed on the lawns of the Government building and more than a handful of bright red telephone boxes bedeck the city streets. And, of course, there are the famous Butchart Gardens
But there is so much more.
We began our getaway by settling into the Oswego Hotel, one of Victoria’s newest hotels. This establishment simply oozes West Coast charm and style. The rooms are simple but elegant in design. Crisp white linens blend with espresso colored leather and a bowl of fresh, British Columbian, of course, apples adorn a table. These are rooms designed for comfort with a very fresh approach. And the beds are so comfy and piled high with pillows you may find it difficult to want to depart a very cozy nest. The Oswego is just a short block from the Inner Harbor of the city and just steps away from the Parliament Buildings, the Royal BC Museum, and lots and lots of shopping.
The Oswego Hotel should be high on the list of those preferring to leave a smaller carbon footprint when they travel. As little packaging as possible is used – the coffee in your room is ground fresh daily from a local roaster and placed in reusable glass jars. There is a distinct lack of advertising and other paper promotional clutter that usually festoons a hotel room. There were also the obligatory blue recycle boxes and subtle notices to remind you that it wasn’t essential to have clean sheets and towels everyday. The Oswego, however, just seemed to glow with a patina of loving care. Its minimalist approach combined with dashes of bright green color, touches of stone and sleek furniture subtly stated that this was a place in tune with its environment.
We indulged and stayed in a two-room suite, with a balcony/verandah fully capable of hosting a small wedding party. Had it not been snowing we would have genuinely enjoyed this amenity with views of the Olympic mountains and Pacific Ocean.
Breakfast at the Oswego is an excellent way to start your day. The buffet features a very colorful array of fresh fruits including kiwis, strawberry and pineapple; eggs, sliced meats and cheese; a formidable if hip expanding selection of pastries and breads; and that freshly ground coffee.
We managed to drag ourselves away from the buffet and set off to take if not the city, at least the shopping centers and museums by storm….but that’s another story.
Downtown Divas to be continued…..
For information on visiting Victoria, British Columbia: www.tourismvictoria.com
The Oswego Hotel: www.oswegovictoria.com