Author: Lorna McFadden
Date of Trip: March 2014
There is nothing more special than the bond between parent and child, even when they get older we should never give up on spending quality time with our children. Most parents are encouraged to attend Mommy and Me classes to bond with their babies, well why stop just because they are teenagers or young adults. I try to keep the Mommy and Me time, as well as family group time, to this day with all my children. I believe this is why I am so close to them and haven’t ever had to experience the usual separation most do. We still connect and continue to keep communications open.
This month is my daughter Allishia’s 23rd birthday and instead of going off to a bar somewhere with a bunch of rowdy friends getting into trouble, we are going on a trip together to Canada. The timing couldn’t be more perfect; she had to renew her driver’s license on this birthday, so I told her to add the passport enhancement. This allows travel outside the U.S. to connected countries. We have been to Victoria before, but it was long ago when she was young and she remembers little of the experience. So, this was a great time to revisit the City of Gardens, as it’s known by, now that she is an adult. We can now explore it all over again together and create new and more lasting memories.
Living in Washington state it is fairly easy to get to Victoria, plus we have the local expert out of Seattle called the Victoria Clipper to assist travelers in all ways Canada. The Victoria Clipper is not only one of the fastest ferry companies out of Seattle, it is a one-stop shop for all things vacation. They have a wonderful staff eager to assist in creating packages to enhance your visit to Victoria, Vancouver or the San Juan Islands. Clipper Vacations have been a staple to Seattle’s pier 69 since 1986 and have great connections to many of the hotels and local attractions. Butchart Gardens, the Royal BC Museum, and Craigdarroch Castle are just a few enhancements that can be added to the total experience and if you are confused on what to do, the friendly reservation staff is willing to make suggestions. The staff on board the unique catamaran style ferry is just as committed to customer excellence. My only real complaint is the small waiting areas at each terminal and no Wi-Fi service on board, so unless you have a book it can make for a long trip.
Your wish is our command…No, this isn’t the real slogan of the Victoria Marriott at Inner Harbour, but I think it should be. The lobby is breathtaking, decorated in rich wood, fine artwork and a warm fireplace, but travelling in through the revolving door reminds me of the fancy hotels from the old movies. From check in to check out and every point in between, the staff couldn’t have been more courteous, professional, accommodating or customer service oriented if they tried. The Victoria Marriott is definitely a five star experience with truly exceptional accommodations. Our room was incredible, it was very large and had exquisite furnishings like; Luxurious beds, a wonderful bathroom (complete with aromatherapy toiletries) even lavish robes and slippers to use when you visit the relaxing pool and spa area.
Stephen, the General Manager of the Victoria Marriott should be commended on the staff he has put together. They are all outstanding, from the service desk and concierge, to the room service and housekeeping staff, everyone seemed to put in whole heartedly their best efforts on making your stay the most comfortable and rewarding experiences of your life. A special thanks to Jӓn at the front desk, not only was he extremely pleasant and greeted us with a big smile, but he directed us to a great hot spot for dinner where my daughter and I had a wonderful time. Also to our Concierge, Sean, what a personality…we enjoyed our little talks between his world class customer service requests. Nothing was too big or too small to ask of him and all was done with a smile. From loaning us a couple of umbrellas to storing our luggage after check out to get in more shopping before our ferry left, the staff was beyond accommodating.
The Sticky Wicket, this unusual and informal multi-level eatery is a lavish Victorian style pub, with a beautiful interior and most unique rooftop sports area complete with a sand court for beach volleyball. The food was great; their portions were large, well plated and reasonably priced. The Prime Rib with Yorkshire pudding and Creamy Mashed Potatoes was to die for and our waitress was friendly and very attentive. This lively little hot spot has a gaming area, enough flat screens to keep any man happy and live music. To the Sticky Wicket for a smashing good time, Cheers!
After a fulfilling meal Saturday night and brisk walk back to the hotel, my daughter and I later decided that a sweet treat was in order. We called down to the Fire & Water restaurant located in the Marriott’s lower level and ordered two sinful desserts to be brought up to our room. Although Fire & Water is a lovely little place that has a warm and inviting dining area complete with fireplace, outdoor patio with water feature and charming seating, we chose to dine in our room. Presentation of these delightful creations was artistic and simple; however, the flavor was out of this world. What a great way to end a perfect night.
We spent our last few hours in this vivacious city, after having a bite at the Old Spaghetti Factory, just strolling past Chinatown, the Maritime Museum and popped into the Royal BC Museum for a while. Allishia, my daughter, exclaimed to me as the minutes ticked down until our departure, “I want to stay a bit longer, I’m not ready to go home” I agreed with her sentiment but we have lives to get back to and family that missed us. I told her, “as long as you still have Canadian money left in your wallet, you will have a constant reminder to return again”. I believe she will return, even if I am not with her next time. Victoria has definitely left a lasting impression on both of us and we haven’t stopped talking about it since we have been back.
Victoria is a charming place, full of inspiring beauty, multicultural history and friendly people. It is an experience everyone should embrace at least once in a lifetime; however once you have been there you will be hooked. There is so much to see and do and more places to eat than you could ever try, but try you must. Whether you are an explorer, shopper, wildlife observer, or history buff, there is something for everyone. Although Victoria Downtown is delightful I highly recommend you venture to the other surrounding Villages and encompass all that this lovely land has to offer. We would normally visit in Spring and early Summer when all is in bloom and horse drawn carriage rides could be taken, but even in the off season it was a wonderful trip. My daughter and I had a great Mommy and Me experience full of good food, great memories and lovely new friends that we look forward to seeing again soon.