To Abigail: There are no ghosts here!
To Abigail: There are no ghosts here!
Many of Victoria’s older restaurants and accommodations, and even the Royal Victoria Golf Course, have ghost stories associated with them. Guests at Abigail’s often ask for a ghost story, and the incredibly friendly staff will be happy to tell them one. Unfortunately, the ghosts did not appear.
Abigail’s Hotel is perched on the edge of downtown Victoria, just a stone’s throw from the Inner Harbor and truly is one of Victoria’s best kept secrets. Well not anymore! Letting the cat out of the bag! I have lived here for over 20 years and have passed countless times, each time wondering what it was like. I’ve been to a number of grand old hotels and they’ve all been nice, but often disappointing. Not so with Abigail.
As we walk past the hotel’s entrance, we immediately notice the well-kept English gardens. Passing between the Coach House and the Inn, the two buildings look very similar. At first glance, we couldn’t tell they were built 50 years apart. We park and are immediately greeted by Thomas, the super friendly front desk clerk. He takes us to our room and informs us fully about the hotel and services. Breakfast in bed sounds appealing, but we opt for breakfast with the other guests.
Our room is spacious and decorated with almost every amenity we could wish for. Is it the delicious welcome biscuits, the cozy sofa in front of the fireplace, the four-poster bed or the marble bathroom with Jacuzzi and rain shower? Our room is decorated with rich country furnishings, goose down duvets and pillows, silk bedspreads and fine decorative pillows. It is luxurious and very comfortable.
The library in the main building is a meeting place and refreshments and complimentary hors d’oeuvres are available between five and seven o’clock. In no time we meet friendly people from Louisiana, Nevada, Ontario and Alberta. Thomas is welcome and takes good care of us.
For dinner we take a short walk downtown, no more than 3 or 4 short blocks. We visit the very popular Noodle House to find out what all the fuss is about. Well, not what we expected, but a unique experience and very tasty food! I didn’t expect to spoil my wife with chopsticks and a cardboard takeout box, but nothing is too good for my queen!
In the morning we sit down to a superb gourmet breakfast. A large table accommodates most of the guests. Arriving late, we sit at a table for four and are soon joined by a young couple from Oregon. Abigail’s is designed and operated so that people can easily interact with each other, which adds to the enjoyment of the visit. If you’re coming for privacy, the spacious rooms can be your private hideaway and you can order breakfast in bed!
After breakfast, Marion Hansen (General Manager) takes us on a tour of the hotel. Each room is unique, but all have the same special touches that make Abigail unique. All the staff, from marketing, management, housekeeping and catering, are so friendly and helpful. It’s hard to imagine why anyone would stay anywhere else.
You can tell how much they care, especially when Marion tells us how they invited some of the neighbors over for Christmas dinner. The owner’s philosophy is certainly well ingrained throughout the staff and is evident in the care and attention to detail in both the design and style of the hotel and the service provided to guests.
When we check out, we are presented with a small gift bag containing two bottles of water, goodies and a guide to other “featured accommodations”. Working in tourism makes me really appreciate businesses that take it seriously. This business really deserves its “five stars”.
So now it’s time to play tourist! Our pick for the day is to visit the Art Gallery Victoria. The art gallery is just minutes from Abigail and is located in the historic Spencer Mansion in the Rockland neighborhood. We go there because there is an art exhibit by Takao Tanabe, an artist born in Seal Cove, British Columbia. The artist has won several major awards and is internationally known. His art provides a unique view of land, sea and sky, visible in his vast and beautiful landscape paintings. The sheer size of his paintings present an awe-inspiring vision of Canada and especially the West Coast.
We continue our exploration by heading to Sydney by the Sea for lunch. Having visited most of the local restaurants, we were looking for a new experience. A friend had mentioned Dakota Restaurant at the Victoria Flying Club so we are checking it out! From our table, we can see the runway, so throughout the afternoon, various planes are taxiing quite close.
We heard the breakfasts were winning awards and found out they serve breakfast all day on the weekends. We make our choice and enjoy a very good lunch.
After lunch we explore Sydney and do some shopping and sightseeing.
On the way home I reflect on our great stay at Abigail’s place. I think of ghost stories I could make up for inquiring minds. The fact is, they just don’t need a ghost. Abigail is for sale!
Think Abigail: relaxed, quiet, comfortable, luxurious but not ostentatious, friendly, meeting place, charming, romantic, very special. The best accommodation in Victoria!