Travel Blogs from Victoria
... 11:00 p.m. with a connection in Chicago, so they weren't getting home until about 9:00 a.m. on Monday! Yikes, I was so glad that wasn't me!!
We met up with our tour group and scored a front row seat on the tour bus....and off we went to explore the Island of Vancouver, which is where the city of Victoria is located. It's a beautiful city--very clean and breathtaking views of the water, mountains & homes. ...
On our way back to Courtenay, we stopped in Nanaimo at auntie Mary's to pick up some things. I even got to borrow their guitar which is really really really sweet of them! (Thanks a bunch!)
Now, before we went for the weekend, one of the teachers asked me if Marloes and I wanted to come with them on their cross-country ski trips. They go ...
Pouring rain:( took ferry to Port Angeles, Wa then another from Kingston to Edmonds. En route stopped at Olympic Cellars winery. Back to the Rv to watch Mizzou. They beat Tennessee . Went to Anthony's a cute dinner spot on the Puget Sound. ...
... thumb but even I could appreciate the time, effort and skill that went into creating this amazing area. The Sunken Gardens are actually in an old limestone quarry as the original owners of the area were i the cement business. Once the limestone had been depleted, the wife wanted to make it look pretty so set about creating the Sunken Gardens.. and holy moly did see succeed in making the area look 'pretty'!!!
... A bloke by the name of Robert Buchart began manufacturing cement on the site in 1888 because of the rich limestone deposits that were necessary for cement production. Robert was married to a sheila by the name of Jennie and she loved her gardening. She commissioned a Jap to design gardens for her and her husbands estate. In 1909, when the limestone quarry was exhausted, Jennie set about turning the eyesore into the Sunken Garden, which was completed in ...
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Historical Traveler Reviews English Inn Victoria
We had the pleasure of staying at the English Inn Resort in Victoria, BC during a weekend in April 2005 for our first anniversary. The grounds were spectacular, especially when lit up at night. The king sized bed and two person bath tub were more than romantic. The main lodge is spectacularly furnished and the staff is very helpful and accommodating.
We had dinner in the rosemeade dining room (their onsite restaurant) and it was absolutely amazing. The food is gourmet, flavors that are absolutely divine. The waitstaff and bar staff are attentive and friendly. It was the perfect setting for us to get engaged, and we did!
I would definitely recommend this resort to couples for a romantic getaway. They also do weddings and have the grounds all set up for it. Also, during the off season, the price is only about 80$/night US. Not bad for what you get.
While in Victoria, you absolutely have to go on the city tour. You can catch the double decker bus in front of the Empress Hotel at 10,12,and 2. The tour takes about 2 hours and is well worth it, they take you all over. The ghost walking tour was also excellent. You catch those guys around 7pm in front of the Visitor's Center just across the street from the Empress. And if you've never been to one before, the IMAX theater is a must. It's located inside the Royal BC Museum. Craig Darroch castle is also a must see, their restoration project is amazing. And last but not least, everyone has to see the astounding 55 acres of flowers at the Butchart Gardens. Oh and don't forget the Dutch Bakery. It's to die for!
This place is amazing!
We just made a trip to this place, and let me assure you...it's amazing. I actually found the bad reviews on here before we left, and I called the hotel to ask what was going on. They reassured me that all of the rennovations were complete (which they are) and that everything's really new (which it is). There's this lovely dark wood EVERYWHERE...it was so nice and polished. I would HIGHLY recommend eating in the Rosemeade Dining Room as well...the food is excellent, the prices are reasonable (in the 20s CAD for gourmet, very very nice entrees...), and the service at dinner was impeccable. The service during breakfast was a little slower, but still very friendly and very nice. You can take a tour through the kitchen if you want....we were going to, but we were so full and sleepy after dinner that we ended up retiring to bed instead.
The gardens are lovely...and we went there mid-March, so not everything's in bloom yet. There were a couple of corners that seem like they need a little more work, but it's early spring...the gardens are going to be lovely very soon. The hut with the thatch roof's roof looked like it'd seen better days, but it seems like they turned the inside into some sort of meeting room...had lights on and everything, looked fine inside.
I dunno...I very much get the impression that these people know the reputation that precedes them, and they're working very hard to earn a good name. Even though my boyfriend and I are not getting married anytime soon, I would definately consider the place for a wedding (he would too, for that matter). The place is not in downtown, but it is worth the drive (only about 5 minutes from downtown)...and it is definately a place for a romantic, relaxing getaway. Not the place if you have to be in the middle of everything though....but we enjoyed the wonderful staff and service, and the peace and quiet.
A very nice visit
As a single person going to an unknown resort I was a wee bit apprehensive, but it soon became very clear to me that the staff was going to make my stay there enjoyable. I touched base with the Inn twice before I arrived, once to see if they had a shuttle service to and from the airport (no they didn't have there own shuttle service, but pointed me in a direction of a shuttle service) and twice, my early arrival time. I arrived early, (9:00 am) and they were very accommodating with my early arrival time and me. I received nothing but help and suggestions!!! Every staff member I talked to gave me clear directions and advice and equipped me with a map of the area.
Thank you Shaun, Meg and Jane!
PS. It's great when staff members of any Resort can remember the guest's name/s and talk to them on a first or last name bases. Keep up the great work... people!
We made the mistake of booking our wedding day in March 2003 at this establishment. Upon arrival the promised room was no longer furnished as it was when I first made my booking and I was not advised of this before we arrived. We ended up in a much smaller room. I was told that all decor/chairs would be taken care of. The staff set up for our ceremony as the guests were arriving. Far too many chairs were put out and the decor was minimal. Also the grounds were completely dug up with construction and noise taking place. I was also not advised that this would be taking place on my wedding day. The breakfast buffet was quite nice and the some of the staff did make an effort to keep us happy but generally the experience was disappointing. Don't book your wedding here!
A Stunning Inn
My husband and I had our wedding at the Inn in August. I am so surprised that it recieved low reviews. For seekers of quaint paradise there is so much. The gardens are beautiful and the rooms are romantic.
It is true -that they are still in renovations since the owners sold it to investors and they will be revamping the inn to a resort style atmosphere. BUT....you cannot take away from the ambiance that awaits you. It is WELL worth the money!!!!
This type of Inn is for honeymooners (not single people or people who have to be right in the heart of town) since it is about 10 minutes from town situated in a more residential location. Once you are on the grounds, it seems like the city is a million miles away.
For a wedding reception nothing can compare to the beauty it unfolds. I hope that you do give this Inn a chance since it has been such a magical experience for bothof us.
Stay clear of this place!
Shame on me for not going with my instincts. Shame on you if you make the same mistake we did and fall for the English Inn & Resort's blatant distortion of the truth. This place is a scam...and judging from comments we heard from at least three different locals in Victoria, what we experienced is pretty much the norm from the scam artists who own the English Inn & Resort.
A little background: In the Spring of '04, I surfed the net for a charming place for our 2-night stay in Victoria. Since we hadn't been there before, I didn't know the layout of the city over and above what I could glean from a map. From their web site, the English Inn & Resort looked absolutely charming...and the price wasn't bad at all -- in fact it seemed like a bit of a bargain (that should have been my first clue...but since it was in Canadian dollars, I just chalked it up to our buck going a bit further across the border). When I asked them about their proximity to the Inner Harbor, they said that it was a quick cab or water taxi ride -- or a little brisk walk - just across the Johnson Bridge. Sounded and looked delightful.
About 3 weeks before we were set to leave, I tried to find the English Inn & Resort's web site, but couldn't remember the URL, so I went into Yahoo's search. Along with the Inn's web site, I found several other listings, including a few comments on TripAdvisor.com. Several reviews talked about the place being under construction and not all that had been represented. After reading that, I got a bit nervous, so I checked around to see what other lodging options were still available only a few weeks before we were planning to arrive. The new Marriott on the Inner Harbor was still available - at the same price, so I started to call them to make a reservation.
But before doing so and canceling the English Inn reservation, I decided to first give them the benefit of the doubt, and called to ask them about the status of construction. After all, perhaps the comments I'd read were just from an overly disgruntled complainer - perhaps they'd just blown the whole thing out of proportion. So I called the inn directly. The person I spoke with reassured me that there was nothing to worry about. She asked if my concerns were based on comments I'd seem on TripAdvisor.com. I said that that was indeed where I'd read it. She pointed out that those comments had been written last fall and that most of the work had long since been completed. She said that the cottage building where we would be staying looks exactly as it does on their web site. She said that only the main dining room and the reception area were still under construction. And the reception area would be finished by the end of July. Since we weren't showing up until the first week of August, it sounded like only the dining room would still be under construction. I figured that they'd have a temporary area set up for things like breakfast, tea, wine, etc. She assured me that my fears of hearing saws and hammers while we strolled through the gardens were completely unfounded. From her comments, I expected the place to look and feel essentially like it was portrayed on their web site.
When we arrived there last week, by ferry from Seattle, we elected to take the Gray Line tour right from the boat to Buchart Gardens. Gray Line provides a service where they'll drop your bags off at your hotel and then will shuttle you to your hotel after the tour. As we were being shuttled to the Inn after our tour, we told our shuttle driver (who was also the one who dropped off our luggage a few hours earlier) how we had almost switched lodging facilities a few weeks earlier due to what we'd read on TripAdvisor.com. He listened to us and then delicately told us that things still looked like they were in a pretty serious construction mode when he'd been by a few hours before. He said there were plenty of Skil saws humming while he was there.
He dropped us off and we walked up to the main lodge and saw a temporary reception area sign. It was more or less an office that had been hastily converted into a multi-use office, reception area and catch-all. The lady at the desk was very polite and gave us our key and directions to our room. As we wandered around the grounds, we finally got to our building, but not before walking past a myriad of construction workers and an assortment of "Village" buildings - all of which were dark and empty and in various states of disrepair. The grounds near our cottage were very nice, but everywhere you looked, in the distance, you saw piles of lumber or clear signs that things were still very much under construction.
The room was on the top floor of the cottage. The ceilings had sharp angles, so the room itself was quite small. Rather cute inside, but not large enough to do anything more than sleep or lay on the bed and read. There was large chair & ottoman tucked into a corner and looking at the entry bathroom doors. No deck, no patio, no fireplace, barely enough room to crouch. Shaving was fun, too - with the bathroom mirror not over the sink, but rather on an adjacent wall. The literature and their web says that The English Inn and Resort is "a tranquil five acre country estate located moments from downtown and the Inner Harbour" and invites you to "Relax in Four-Poster Canopy Beds and enjoy red brick fireplaces in a romantic atmosphere.." It also talks about a "Business center with high speed internet access, Complimentary national or local newspaper, Porter and luggage assistance, Room service, Night turn-down service, and says that you can "Enjoy our breakfasts, luncheons, afternoon teas and romantic candlelit dinners served in the grandeur of an English Tudor Mansion, overlooking the beautiful gardens (re-opening June 2004)" --- none of which were offered or provided.
If you wanted anything to eat or even drink, you were out of luck, since the dining room was still under construction and since you're located right in the middle or a residential neighborhood. It's a $10 cab ride after tips into the Inner Harbor area, (where all the action is) - a good 3 or 4 miles away and certainly not "moments from the inner harbor," as their web site indicates. There basically was nothing to do at the resort other than sit in your room or stroll around the grounds to enjoy a mix of construction activity and flowers. Not even many areas to sit and enjoy the beautiful gardens. And the Ann Hathaway cottage they boasted about was looking pretty tired and dismal - the roof is rotting and according to our shuttle driver, the owners haven't found anyone who can build a thatched roof so they've pretty much just shut it down. And that's exactly how it looks.
Shortly after checking in, we decided to make the best of it and took a cab into the Inner Harbor to stroll around and have dinner. On the ride into town, the cab driver told us that the Inn had a bit of a reputation for deceiving the public and that they'd been under construction for quite a long time. We started to realize that the reassurances we'd been given about all the construction being almost completed was all part of their carefully calculated plan to dupe the traveling public.
When we got into town, we headed straight to the Marriott and thankfully they still had rooms available for the following night. So we figured we'd spend the evening in town, take a cab back to the English Inn for the night, make the best of it, and check out bright and early the following morning.
We did just that. In fact, as we were walking out of our building, the lady who had checked us in was driving by on a golf cart. We told her we wanted to check out and she said she'd be right back - she just had to deliver breakfast to a room. Breakfast? That was news to us. She had never mentioned any possibility of getting anything to eat or drink nor was there any literature about any services other than a few binders full of menus sitting on a dusty bookshelf behind the front door of the makeshift office. Our irritation level grew higher as we strolled back to the office to check out. Rather than get into it all with her and ruin our day, we just politely said we were checking out and asked her to get us a cab.
We ask our driver to take us to the Marriott and he chuckled, saying that he wasn't surprised. He commented that he's taken a number of people away from the English Inn after only one night. His story pretty much mirrored what the other driver had said. He told us that they've been under construction for over 2 years now and that they're basically trying to become a wedding venue and seem to have no real concern for the people who are staying there while the conversion is underway.
We enjoyed the rest of our trip and had wonderful accommodations at the Marriott. As we were leaving, we had the bell captain at the Marriott hail us a cab. He asked us how our stay was and we told him it was much better than where we'd stayed the night before. When we mentioned the English Inn, he rolled his eyes and told us that he worked there for about 2 months and recounted some the same horror stories we'd already heard. He said that the owners are a very powerful family in Victoria, who own several restaurants and other establishments and they have a reputation for treating their employees and their customers poorly. He said that they always seem to take the "we'll-probably-never-see- these-tourists-again approach."
Everyone we spoke to about the English Inn & Resort seemed only too willing to share their dislike for the place - and with any prodding whatsoever. It was clear that our experience was by no means out of the ordinary. When I called earlier in the month, they knew that the inn was essentially the same as it had been when these other folks made their remarks on TripAdvisor.com last fall. And they knew that the reassurances they were giving me were nothing more than bold-faced lies.
A reputable business would have been up-front at the time I made my reservation and would have also posted information on their web site about the current state of affairs. The place looks like it must have been absolutely gorgeous at one time - but that time was probably 15 years ago - and certainly not today.
If you have any doubts, follow your instincts. Otherwise, just follow the sound of hammers and saws. Don't be misled as we were. Throughout our travels, we've found most travel industry professionals to be very polite, honest and accommodating. The English Inn & Resort is without a doubt our worst travel experience ever. Stay clear of it - unless you like vacationing in a construction zone.
Is Great and will be amazing in the next year
My fiancee and I went to check out the Inn as a possible wedding location. The grounds are fantastic and the inn is very well-kept with helpful staff. We were given a tour by the developer who explained all of the changes. Their goal is to be a Relais Chateau property by 2006 - which if you're familiar with Relais, will be 5-star all the way. It also means prices will be going up. Granted we went in the winter (although over a holiday) and the currency was in our favor, but we had a huge (600 sq ft) room for approx $110 US. The restaurant was closed for the renovation, but breakfast in the lounge area was out of this world - some of the best griddlecakes I've ever experienced. If there's a downside, it's that the inn isn't as secluded as we had originally thought - although it's set on 5 acres, you drive through a somewhat dull neighborhood to get there, and it's set amid the same dull vinyl-sided houses. However, in full bloom, I'm sure it's well closed in, and the owners, who are relatively new, are trying to buy up homes around the inn to expand the property over the next couple of years.
Defintely recommended if you don't mind being a 5-10 minute drive outside of Victoria.
Have some tolerance for change...this place is amazing
My husband and I recently spent an Incredible weekend getting married at the English Inn & Resort with 60 of our friends and family staying at the Inn with us. Yes, there is some construction going on as the Inn is going through massive renovations. But, this place is spectacular. Folks who know the Inn as a tourist attraction filled with old English paraphernalia will be disappointed. This place is transforming itself into a resort and what is comleted is truly exquisite. Like their food...Breakfasts were fantastic and beautiful, our wedding buffet unmatched and the croquembouche wedding cake the pastry chef created was truly the highlight of our time. And the gardens...they are breathtaking and relaxing, with fountains and quiet spots to hang out or chat. And the rooms...each one is unique. Some have more amenities than others. All are fun depending on your taste. While our planning and stay was not without its difficulties, our guests were treated like royalty, with warm and attentive staff working to make everything great for our fun, long weekend there. Don't book here thinking you are getting a hotel. It's really a bed and breakfast with limitations on staff and capacity, as well as some quirks that make it a unique place to stay. And, I don't recommend booking here online. Call the Inn staff and tell them what you would like. They are all about helping you enjoy your stay. They have so many different stylized rooms, and will happily book you into one to match your requests and needs. Do not think that construction here equals a lousy stay. Once the Inn is complete, it will be a luxury resort at luxury prices. Right now, it's a lovely, unique getaway at a fairly reasonable price. So, book in for Friday and stay through Monday and you'll miss most of the construction work...and may even catch a lovely garden wedding one afternoon too. Robin Rivers & Ken Henderson
I made reservations for this location based on everything I had seen on the web site. At the eleventh hour, I happend upon a review dated March 2003. This review circumvented the great disspointment I would have otherwise experienced.
Upon arrival, I felt as though I was in the middle of a bad clown act.
Although all posted signs marked the direction to the foyer and lobby, there were barracades to prevent access, due to renovations in progress. Finding our way to the registration desk, lobby etc was based on visitiors sharing personal guesses and theory as to how one might find the cheese, so to speak.
Once checked in, it was a bit hilarious in all that we encountered.
Situations such as, staff unable to locate menus, bottles of red wine, or misplaced mini refrigerators. (We received a call to our room asking if we had a mini-refrigerator in our room as they had apparently misplaced them)
The decor of each room was transplanted from somewhere else. Rooms looked like a child adorned with hand me downs of all sizes.
We were amused by all of this and it really didn't affect our stay.
What did bother us was that every single piece of literature or information available was absolutely inaccurate about the status and intent of the Inn and grounds. We discovered that the ultimate goal is to create a venue for weddings. 2006 is the estimated completion date.
Landscape and hardscape renovations are in progress. All the signification touist attractions no longer exist as advertised.
The inn is resonably priced, located unexpectedly in a residential neighborhood and unlike a corporate hotel, has character.......but at a cost.
In February I booked three days stay at the Olde England Inn (now renamed English Inn & Resort) for the end of March 2003. My wife and I had stayed there in 1985, and we wanted to treat ourselves and our 2 pre-teen kids to a wonderful Tudor-themed room with antique canopy beds, similar to what we had enjoyed years before. Alas, it was not to be -- the new owners had auctioned off all of the antique furniture, including the contents of the replica Anne Hathaway's Cottage, just the week before we arrived. What appears to be hastily-purchased used hotel furniture and bedding has replaced the beautiful antiques. Our bed was very hard, and so were the foam pillows. The bedspread was torn. There was no place to hang or put away our clothes (the armoirs are gone too!) so we had to live out of our suitcases. The grounds were undergoing extensive landscaping, so we were also treated to the sounds of earthmoving equipment and power tools. The hotel restaurant was not operating, but continental breakfast was offered. Needless to say, we didn't get quite the experience we either expected or paid for. Incidentally, the hotel charged 100% of the cost of our stay, at the full rate, to my credit card when I booked, and they weren't willing to refund any money on account of the obvious lower value we received. I'm very disappointed, not just because of what we experienced, but also because the new owners don't seem to have a clue about the value of something that's unique. If it's no different than what you can get somewhere else, then you're only competing on price and I could get a much better room elsewhere in Victoria for what I paid.