The Fairmont Empress Hotel

Victoria, B.C.

Rates from $239

Photo courtesy Fairmont Empress

Photo courtesy Fairmont Empress

A National Historic Site, the Empress Hotel has graced Victoria’s waterfront since 1908 and continues to welcome guests. A recent $60-million renovation added contemporary touches, including the petal-like lobby chandelier made from about 250,000 crystals, while retaining much of its historical charm (check out the Lobby Lounge’s original mahogany inlay floors). Elevate your stay in a Fairmont Gold room or suite, which features access to an exclusive lounge and terrace. The hotel provides a perfect base for exploring B.C.’s capital, but, with all the onsite amenities, you might find it hard to leave. Take a dip in the thermal mineral pool at the Willow Stream spa, or head to Q Bar and sip a purple-hued Empress 1908 gin and tonic while you admire contemporary portraits of Queen Victoria.  —V.S.

Nearby: Walk a few blocks north to wander through the stacks at Munro’s Books, an independent bookstore in a former bank with impressive 24-foot ceilings.

Pacific Sands Beach Resort

Tofino, B.C.

Rates from $219

Pacific Sands Beach Resort

Photo courtesy Pacific Sands Beach Resort/Chris Pouget

This oceanfront resort on the edge of Pacific Rim National Park Reserve has a fresh look thanks to a recent $10-million renovation and expansion. Along with 43 new oceanside suites featuring full kitchens, fireplaces and private patios, the property is equipped with an on-site surf school and a surf-inspired outdoor restaurant. There are 16 accommodation styles to choose from, including surf-in/surf-out suites and beach houses with 12-foot ceilings and double-soaker tubs. Suites are appointed with custom fir- and hemlock-block side tables, modern charcoal-hued sofas and black-and-white surf photos by Owen Perry. No matter which suite you opt for, they all include floor-to-ceiling windows so you can wake up to epic ocean views.  —J.N.

Indulge yourself: At Chocolate Tofino, nibble on tasty artisanal confections (think lavender truffles) and mini chocolate surfboards.

The Douglas, an Autograph Collection Hotel

Vancouver, B.C.

Rates from $279

The Douglas Vancouver

Photo courtesy The Douglas

Housed inside Parq Vancouver—a mixed-use development located downtown—The Douglas’ design pays homage to its hometown by striking the perfect balance between city and nature. There’s a lush living wall on the main floor and a replica Douglas fir serves as the check-in desk. The hotel’s 188 rooms range from standard to lofts and luxury suites, and all rooms are cozy but modern with warm woods, rich fabrics and luxe amenities. Guests of The Douglas have access to Parq’s many amenities, which are shared with neighbouring hotel the JW Marriott. These include an outdoor terrace and garden, the Spa by JW, a 72,000-square-foot casino, and seven restaurants and lounges. The Victor, a steakhouse with an impressive seafood lineup, stands out as one of Parq’s top eateries. —S.S.

Try this: A five-minute walk away is trendy Yaletown. This neighbourhood is bursting with boutique shops, sidewalk cafés and two waterfront parks.


[This story appears in the January 2018 issue of WestJet Magazine]