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August Vancouver and Victoria itinerary help

August Vancouver and Victoria itinerary help

Old Nov 15th, 2022, 10:53 AM
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August Vancouver and Victoria itinerary help

Four days Vancouver, ferry to Victoria
Three Days Victoria, would love a nice hotel suggestion. Splurge for The Empress?
Road trip through Vancouver Island - go up East Side (Parksville, Qualicum Beach, Port Alberni?) and then to Tofino, down to Ucluelet - how many days? We are retired and have time. We are an active 80.
Or just Ucluelet and Tofino?
We prefer character/charm not large and modern hotels.
Best car rental out of Victoria?

Thank you one and all!

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Old Nov 22nd, 2022, 07:04 PM
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The Empress is truly lovely, yet not the only lovely hotel in Victoria. It's a nice splurge because it's an iconic hotel and a part of Victoria lore. It's one of Victoria's most famous buildings and a popular tourist attraction itself. I have stayed there for my 25th birthday, albeit almost two decades ago, and then once again shortly after, and it was lovely, but the stay was meaningful to me because it was a special occasion and I appreciated the significance of its architectural history and ties to Victoria's identity. The rooms can be smaller than contemporarily-built hotels, but they have renovated it in recent years (some argue it has taken the charm out of the public spaces, which used to look like sets from The Crown), and if you go in appreciating its historic context, it's definitely worth staying there at least once. If you can upgrade to the Fairmont Gold Floor, it's worth it. The Fairmont is obviously a high-end brand and customer service is their forte, though it comes with steep prices. I personally don't have that kind of budget so Fairmont stays are special occasion stays for me.

For a really nice hotel with less fame and history, I love the Chateau Victoria: https://chateauvictoria.com/

I stayed there earlier this year for a weekend getaway to Victoria and I'd happily go back. It's a few steps away from the Empress, so locationwise is on the same level, and the building is nothing fancy - a concrete tower from the 1970s, but they have lovely specaious yet cozy suites that feel like you've moved into your own apartment, not just a typical hotel room, and those are definitely worth the splurge. The bedroom I stayed at in January had French doors, and a large deck with sliding glass doors, and a cozy living room, plus a full kitchen. Front desk bent over backyards to assist us, I had a nice dinner upstairs at their restaurant Vista 18, but their cocktail bar, Clive's Classic Lounge, is the best in the city and always worth a visit whether you stay there or not. The Chateau Victoria is definitely a beloved hotel for those in the know. Not as famous as the Empress, but a remarkable stay at probably a fraction of what the Empress charges.

As for Victoria or Tofino/Ucluelet - those are very, very different flavours of the Vancouver Island. Both are wonderful places but for completely different reasons, and with three days you only have time for one. What sort of experiences are you looking to prioritize? What's luring you to Vancouver Island in the first place?

Tofino and Ucluelet are all about taking in big nature and experiencing a wild, primeval temperate rainforest and ocean wilderness in Pacific Rim National Park. Stunning sunsets, gorgeous beaches, easy short nature walks in the rainforest and along the ocean. Pristine ecosystems. Rich Indigenous culture. Excellent luxury oceanfront resorts and cabins, fabulous resort restaurants and cafes, but it's all spread out and you'd want a car to get around, but the whole point to go there is to be present with the nature and wilderness. The towns aren't the attraction, but are the service centres. It's Pacific Rim National Park and the stunning coastal wilderness that has made this area famous.

Here are a few photos that really showcase what this area's about:

Whereas Victoria's not about wilderness at all, it's a cultural getaway in a very pretty manicured setting. Victoria's all about being in a compact, small, sleepy seaside city steeped in English colonial historic architecture and gardens. It's a very different change of pace from Vancouver. It can feel like a small town. It has excellent bookstores, tons of fun craft breweries (and distilleries, wineries, and cideries in the surrounding countryside), excellent coffee shops and bakeries, some quirky museums, some popular tourist attractions, a diversity of restaurants, fun pubs and bars, walkable neighbourhoods to explore with quirky shops, seaside walkways and harbours and parks, and such. It also has great whale watching if you're looking for that, too. What I like about Victoria is you can park your car and forget about it for your entire trip.

Here are some photos that showcase Victoria:

Anyway, which you choose depends on what sort of experiences you're after.

Last edited by BC_Robyn; Nov 22nd, 2022 at 07:48 PM.
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Old Nov 26th, 2022, 09:14 AM
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Wonderful reply, thanks! We have 3 days in Victoria and then 3-4 days exploring Vancouver Island, this after 3 days in Vancouver.
I am thinking to ferry from Vancouver to Nanaimo and onto Tofino. Suggestion for lodging?
Have my eye on Black Rock Resort in Ucluelet. Good choice?
Love your Chateau Victoria recommendation. We will raise a glass to you at Clive's. Or come join us.

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Old Nov 30th, 2022, 11:34 AM
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Your plan sounds good.

If you're flying into Vancouver first before going to Victoria, take the Tsawwassen-Swartz Bay ferry to get to Victoria. Tsawwassen is a 45 minute drive south of Vancouver. Swartz Bay is a half hour drive away from downtown Victoria. After Victoria, it's then a five hour drive to Tofino. After Tofino, it's a three hour drive to Nanaimo. From Nanaimo, I'd take the Departure Bay to Horseshoe Bay ferry to get back to Vancouver, then it's a half hour drive from Horseshoe Bay into downtown.

Re: Black Rock Resort, I haven't stayed there but everyone I know who has stayed there (including my sister earlier this year) has raved about it! During my last three visits to the area I've stayed at the Long Beach Lodge Resort and also the Ocean Village Resort (rustic cabins). The only major difference is the oceanfront in Ucluelet is rocky, whereas the oceanfront at Tofino is sandy. But not a massive deal - you'll be splitting your time between the two areas during your visit.

Re-reading your initial post, the Empress certainly has charm, but I do have a soft spot for the personable at-home comfy feeling I get at the Chateau Victoria. If you end up booking it, I hope you enjoy your stay! Thanks for the invitation to Clive's... tempting.

Last edited by BC_Robyn; Nov 30th, 2022 at 11:37 AM.
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Old Dec 6th, 2022, 07:02 AM
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I actually have a place saved in my places to go in Tofino. https://oceanvillageresort.com/.

A few years ago we went to Victoria. We rented a car through Enterprise. We only stayed in Victoria for a few nights before going to stay at https://pointnopointresort.com/ .

We also had a great meal and Red Fish Blue Fish. It is a dockside restaurant out of a shipping container. Great views and even better food.

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Old Dec 7th, 2022, 08:56 AM
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Hi Paula,
BCRobyn has nailed it above, with their fantastic photos plus the apt description about 'very different flavours'.
We would skip Victoria, if only because Ukee and Tofino offer a genuinely unique experience. Victoria, I dunno. It just doesn't fit that descriptor.
We rented right next door to Black Rock and dined there a few times. Great vibe.
We were there in February, but am guessing that August will mean more crowds in Tofino than Ukee. Maybe something to consider.
Don't settle for any property without a hot tub!
Best Wishes.
I am done. the sand
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Old Dec 22nd, 2022, 07:44 PM
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I get food from a restaurant in a shipping container when we go to Victoria for a trip. I found it fascinating that they converted a shipping container into a restaurant, and I'd like to learn more about it. He is a 20-year-old man who rented a shipping container to start his small business. When I asked him to take a small room for work, he said that renting a shipping container was more affordable to him rather than a room.

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Old Dec 28th, 2022, 02:26 PM
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Depending on how slowly you want to travel from Victoria to Tofino, try to take the 'old island highway' or Hwy 1A rather than Hwy 1 after you hit Chemainus. The old highway is slower pace, windy and more scenic, and you get a feel for the island. On one trip we even went from Victoria up-island via Salt Spring island, stopping in Ganges for a wander and lunch. You could stay in Parksville overnight, then carry on to Tofino/Uculet the next day. It depends on your tolerance for how much driving to do in a day, and at what pace.
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Old Jan 27th, 2023, 06:14 AM
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One thing to mention to you if you're taking the ferry - make a reservation. www.bcferries.com Otherwise you will end up spending hours in a lineup in a very hot parking lot. The small fee is well worth paying
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