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The Five-Point Weekend Escape Plan

Find Coastal Cool in Victoria

With a burgeoning youth culture, stylish shops, and ultrafresh locavore cuisine, British Columbia’s pedestrian-friendly capital city is a gem no matter the season.

1. Where to Stay

Listen to a record from the vinyl library at groovy Hotel Zed.  

Swing into Hotel Zed (from $73 per night), transformed in 2014 from a run-of-the-mill motor inn into a retro pad complete with a vinyl library in the lobby and rotary phones in the bedrooms. An indoor pool, outdoor Jacuzzi, and corkscrew waterslide up the outdoor fun factor, or play ping-pong in the game room and settle into beanbags with a Wii. Though located on a busy street on the northern outskirts of downtown, the hotel’s own restored ’67 VW van happily chauffeurs guests around.

Sleep guilt-free in the super-green Parkside Hotel & Spa (from $110 per night). Lush tropical foliage fills the atrium in Canada’s first LEED Platinum–certified hotel. Cook in your room’s kitchen, or visit Parkside’s popular Tre Fantastico café, which serves locally roasted coffee, microbrews, and warming regional fare, such as Dungeness crab, wild mushrooms, and bacon on toast ($9). Enjoy a flick in the hotel’s private movie theater, swim laps in the 25-meter pool, or unwind with a massage at the Parkside Spa, which uses Hungarian-origin Éminence organic products (naturally) for facials such as the Luminous Radiance ($95 for 75 minutes).

Unwind in genteel splendor at Abigail’s Hotel (from $120 per night), an adult-only, 23-room boutique inn housed in a 1930s Tudor mansion. This isn’t the usual florid B&B affair—more like your well-off great-aunt’s chic home, with deep clawfoot tubs, fire-burning hearths, and chandelier-adorned bathrooms. Browse the handsome library’s antique books and enjoy the complimentary afternoon hors d'oeuvres, such as port and fig salami, local Salt Spring Island goat cheese and cold-smoked, line-caught Albacore tuna. In the morning, tuck into dishes like fresh-baked scones and du puy lentils with sausage and eggs as part of the five-course breakfast menu.

Published on Jan 22, 2015 as a web exclusive.