Prices at this classic British-feel hotel on Victoria’s Inner Harbour are as old school as its style.
TRAVEL ADVISORY | Quick. What hotel comes to mind when you think of Victoria, B.C.? If you didn’t say the Fairmont Empress Hotel I’d be shocked. With its historical blend of architectural styles, grand public spaces and elegant afternoon tea, the Empress easily maintains its number one position as the most British of places to stay in Victoria.
Yet there’s another hotel that looks and feels infinitely more British than the Empress and happens to be located directly across the street from it.
The Inn At The Union Club, a well-kept Victoria secret, isn’t a hotel at all but a 133-year-old private social club (how British is that?) with 22 rooms and suites available for members, or the general public if they haven’t already been booked. Like the Empress, the Union Club is located in a landmark building just steps from Victoria’s picturesque inner harbour. And like the Empress it also has a rich and historical interior: high ceilings and dark panelled walls, a huge library, billiards room and lounge that look and feel straight out of a grand house in the English countryside. The Union Club, which boasts the second oldest elevator in Canada, is a little bit stuffy in the old school British way (you aren’t allowed to wear jeans or runners in their restaurants), but this only adds to the charm.
What You Get For Your Money
Rooms at the Union Club are less expensive than at the Empress. Right now during low season, you can get a non-view queen room for $119 for a night and a corner suite with a separate sitting room overlooking Victoria’s inner harbour for $199 a night. By comparison, the Empress has a moderate, non-view room for $169 a night, and a harbour view suite with a sitting room for $499 a night. Parking at the Union Club is $10 a day (two blocks away in a garage, but hardly a hassle) compared to $30 a day at the Empress. The Union Club has another bonus you won’t find at the Empress and that’s a complimentary off-the-menu breakfast that’s fresh and awesome.
I’ve stayed at the Fairmont Empress Hotel and the Union Club on several occasions, in both modest rooms and suites. I prefer the Union Club, and not just because it’s less expensive. I love it because it’s classically British—and you can’t get more Victoria than that. —C. Rule
The Union Club of British Columbia is located at 805 Gordon Street, Victoria (250) 384-1151. Visit www.unionclub.com
Photo: Inn At The Union Club Interior