It all started with a woman named Tara and a Groupon deal. Tara was my surprisingly helpful reservation agent at the Hotel Grand Pacific in Victoria, BC. With her help, and a great hotel deal, our trip got started off on the right foot and we hadn’t even left yet.
I’m finding that when you buy a Groupon for a hotel stay or other travel related excursion, you usually have to call to make a reservation. I don’t really like making calls these days. It’s just too hard to find a quiet moment to answer loads of questions. Toddlers don’t really like it when you ignore them, especially if you don’t let them play with your phone while you do it.
Stress Free Reservations
Tara must have had experience with crazy moms calling her. She was quick and efficient. She was also patient whenever Dek wandered over to ask a question or just scream “Mommy!” very loudly. We joked about how active 2 year olds can be. I told her we were excited about the lights at Butchart Gardens. She quickly let me know about a truck parade that would be happening the same weekend we were in town. Apparently she spoke Dek’s language. As anyone knows, trucks and little boys go hand in hand.
With our reservation in set, I thanked her endlessly for her help and suggestions, and hung up. This was not to be the end of the helpful staff of the Hotel Grand Pacific coming to my aid. I soon found advantages to asking for a little bit of help.
Concierge to the Rescue
As our plans progressed and activities firmed up, I started exploring the idea of getting a babysitter so Mike and I could enjoy afternoon tea with some friends. I shot an email off to the concierge desk and heard back within an hour. They had two services they regularly recommended. Fabulous! We never ended up needed the babysitter, but it was still good to know it was an option.
A few days before we left, I started to wonder just how we would get to Butchart Gardens. Off another email to concierge went. They had tour and public bus schedules ready to go. We both agreed that I would check in with them about more specific times and the location of the bus stop when we arrived. All of the loose ends for our trip were quickly being taken care of…by someone other than me. With the port-a-crib confirmed for our stay there was nothing left to do but hop on the Clipper and head on up.
I knew that the hotel was just down the street from the Clipper dock, but I had no idea just how close that was. After all, city blocks can be deceiving. It was literally one block away. You could see the boat from the room of our window. This was not like being stuck out by the airport though. We were on the south end of downtown. Everything was within walking distance. I could see the Fairmont Empress down the street where we would have tea later that day. Complimentary maps pointed to everything we could explore all within a 10-minute walk of the hotel. Not bringing a car was definitely the right decision.
Upon check in we were given a room on the 8th floor right next to the elevator. I was a little worried about this location. We all know how loud elevators and the people coming off of them can be. I needed have worried. The other guests were quiet as church mice and this had to have been the quietest elevator I have been near. The bedroom in our suite was literally behind the elevator wall. I didn’t hear a cranking sound or whoosh as the elevator moved up and down.
The Pacific Suite we were staying in was spacious and tastefully designed. It had two balconies, one off the sitting room and another off the bedroom. It was too chilly to really take advantage of, but I did pop my head out to check out the view: water in one direction, mountains in the other. Not bad at all.
We had the hotel set up the port-a-crib in the sitting room so Dek could have space to himself. We were able to close the French doors leading into the bedroom so we could do some reading after he went to sleep. The poor guy was so whipped out from our day of adventures that he probably could have passed out in our room with the TV and lights on.
The bathroom was clean and definitely not showing any wear and tear that older hotels normally do. Complimentary toiletries were included as always, but of a higher quality than you would get at a regular chain hotel in a downtown area. The only problem was you had to walk from the bedroom through the sitting room to get to the bathroom. With a baby in the sitting room, my late night pregnant visits were a bit of a blind walk. I was sure to clear any obstacles before we went to bed that night.
As for the bed, well let’s just say for one of the first times I didn’t miss my own bed for a night. The pillows were just firm enough to prop me into a very comfortable position, pregnant belly and all. I didn’t even know Mike was around with the kind-sized bed we were in. The black out curtains in both the sitting room and bedroom kept us all peacefully sleeping until 8am. If you have small children, you will realize what a treat this was.
With morning came the need to have breakfast. We had milk in the mini fridge for Dek. I needed some food in me fast though. I didn’t relish wandering the streets looking for a decent meal as I got more hungry and cranky by the second. Our bellhop had been very friendly with Dek while I asked the receptionist about a late check out. As I walked through the front door I looked over and asked him, “where would you eat breakfast this morning?” This was definitely a wise move on my part. He pointed us towards John’s Place, his old employer and what he claimed was the only place he would ever have breakfast after a late night on the town. Works for me!
We later went back to him for a lunch suggestion, but alas, Dek slept through lunch and we just grabbed some abysmal sandwiches to go from a local shop. In case you are curious, our bellhop suggested the Italian place, Paggliachi’s. No, not the Seattle pizza chain. He swore that this spot had the best focaccia bread in town. He even joked that we should bring him some back.
In the end I was actually sad to leave the Hotel Grand Pacific. I can’t think of many other hotels I have said that about. The staff was friendly and accommodating. The rooms were clean and comfy. The location could not have been more perfect. Next year I’ll have to treat us to a two-night stay. And needless to say, if it hadn’t been for that lovely reservation agent Tara, our stay would not have been the same at all.
Know Before You Go
- Hotel Grand Pacific, 463 Belleville St, Victoria, BC V8V 1X3, Canada, (250) 386-0450
- Rooms start around CAD$109 in the winter. Check their web site for deals on room stays, excursions and more. The summer is more expensive.
- Cribs are available upon request. Confirm before you leave that one will be available though. They book up fast.
- Recommended dining:
- Afternoon tea at the Fairmont Empress Hotel
- John’s Place for breakfast
- Paggliachi’s for lunch or dinner
- Early check-in and late check-out (up to 1pm) are available without charge as long as your room is free.
For more information check out our Victoria, BC trip report.