Fish swim freely in a small, sapphire-colored pond, surrounded by 80-year-old palms, ferns, cycads, and ficus. It's as if some scene from the forests of Madagascar has been transported 10,500 miles to British Columbia. But this curious tropical anomaly exists in Canadaalbeit indoorswithin Parkside Victoria Resort & Spa's three-story, glass-windowed atrium. Even before getting to the atrium, the first floor's rock-and-stone facade and fruit-tree-studded garden emit eco-friendly vibes. Rather than inhibit its luxuriousness, these nature-inspired designs enhance the charm and stately beauty one seeks in an upscale hotel.
Throughout Parkside Victoria Resorts, the labor of its energy-sustainable actions is evidentsome carpets are made from recycled plastic pop bottles, and soil and vegetation from rooftop gardens help insulate the building. Hardwood floors in the luxury suites were harvested from sustainable forests and complement the solid-maple dining table. A private patio with downtown views connects the living room and master bedroom, both with flat-screen TVs and electric fireplaces. Egyptian-cotton linens drape the king-size bed's pocket-coil mattress, and the stainless-steel dishwasher, refrigerator, and stove glisten in the granite kitchen. The suite's two bathrooms are a major asset for families on the go, and the heated tile floors warm toes after a day of snowboarding or fencing on ice.
At the on-site AquaTerre Spa, skilled technicians chase stress away with hot-stone massages and deep-sea-salt body scrubs. A tranquil feeling comes naturally while drinking complimentary tea among potted plants in the spas lounge, which carries into the candle-lit treatment rooms. Contrasting with AquaTerres private relaxation, the lobby lounge and rooftop patio encourages banter on sustainable furniture while admiring the original artwork.
Echoes of Victorias history as a gold-rush town and naval base can still be seen in the 19th-century warehouses downtown and Victorian mansions skirting the southern shores in James Bay. Parkside Victoria Resort & Spa is steps away from pubs, boutiques, and parks. Just around the corner, the Royal BC museum delves into the history of the region with an impressive collection of artifacts and artwork, including a modern history gallery showcasing indigenous totem poles and masks.
With Victorias quaint character, horse-drawn carriage tours are a fitting way to explore the citys natural treasures; Tally-Ho Carriage Tours gallop through Beacon Hill Park and past James Bay's exquisite gardens. Whale watching, kayaking, and other open-air pursuits are also within reach for active travelers. For longer getaways, dedicating a day trip to surrounding rainforests will highlight the Vancouver Island's wildlife and varied terrain, including the Gowlland Range's craggy mountains.
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