Set on the southern end of Vancouver Island, the city of Victoria hugs a scenic harbor surrounded by boat slips and stately structures. The iconic British Columbia Parliament Buildings, illuminated by more than 3,300 individual bulbs each evening, extend along the waterfront here in the provincial capital.
About two blocks away, select rooms at the Magnolia Hotel & Spa overlook the Inner Harbor and its surroundings. A Forbes Four Star property since 2014 and an 18-year AAA Four Diamond designee, the 64-room boutique inn offers low-key luxury in a convenient downtown location.
When I arrived for a recent hosted stay, my welcome package included truffles, prosecco and bath gel by the regional producer Saltspring Soapworks plus a whisk to whip up bubbles in the bathtub.
Amenities at the Magnolia include nightly turndown service, bedside chocolates and fresh fruit along with complimentary internet access. Free maps curated by the hotel outline itineraries related to romance, gardens, bicycling, craft breweries, boutiques and other interests.
Accommodations feature two-poster beds and rich textiles that underscore the property's old-world charm. The rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows, marble-floored bathrooms and, on some floors, gas fireplaces.
Downstairs, the Spa Magnolia offers facials, nail services, massages and body scrubs built around natural and organic products. Across the lobby, the hotel's Catalano Restaurant & Cicchetti Bar is open for three daily meals and happy hour. Dishes put a Canadian twist on Mediterranean cuisine, with vegetables, seafood and other elements sourced from area producers.
Vancouver Island ingredients turn up on many menus in downtown Victoria. Around the corner from the Magnolia Hotel, the culinary team at the 10 Acres Kitchen pairs produce, meat, herbs and eggs from a proprietary organic farm with international wines. Local bounty is also on the menu at the adjacent pub, the 10 Acres Commons, and up the street at the restaurant group's casual 10 Acres Bistro.
Across the harbor at the Nourish Kitchen & Cafe, farm-fresh fare is served in an 1889 home retrofitted as a multifaceted gathering spot. The main floor, sit-down restaurant has signature bites like local greens, fresh fish and cultured cashew cheese delivered with buckwheat seed bread. There's also a bone broth bar, a second-floor fermentation room and comfortable upstairs seating for laptop-toting guests.
For lighter bites, head downtown to Fol Epi Patisserie to try house-made breads, breakfast sandwiches and baked goods incorporating seasonal fruit
Major cultural attractions are located within blocks of the Magnolia Hotel & Spa, too. The Royal BC Museum documents British Columbia's natural and social history with interactive ecological displays, historical photos, a walk-through replica of early-19th century Victoria and interactive galleries that showcase the First Nations' culture, language and art.
Exhibits at the Robert Bateman Centre chronicle the life and work of the accomplished Canadian nature painter called one the 20th century's "heroes of conservation" by the Audubon Society. The center's location, in the Steamship Terminal building, built in the 1920s, also overlooks the bustling Inner Harbor.
Magnolia Hotel rates begin at about $299 per night; visit www.magnoliahotel.com. For more on Victoria tourism, see www.tourismvictoria.com.