First off, get there in style. Though we’re all about slowing things down and catching the ferry across, why not consider nabbing a quick and convenient flight right out of downtown courtesy of Harbour Air Seaplanes? They’re located in Coal Harbour, next to the Vancouver Convention Centre, and will have you door to door in under 40 minutes. Free Wi-Fi in the lounge will ensure you’ll get all that work done before drinks with the guys translates to debauchery later.
After you’ve taken in the picturesque scene afforded by your flight across to Vancouver Island (we’re betting you’ll start mentally planning a summer fishing trip like this while airborne), grab your bag and take a five-minute walk directly over to the Magnolia Hotel & Spa where we suggest you stay for the weekend.
This well situated boutique hotel is a serious charmer in a city that has consistently undergone upscale changes over the past several years. Revamped rooms offer plenty of space to spread your stuff out as you take in the spectacular view of Victoria’s inner harbour. The Magnolia Hotel has a handy workstation as well as fully equipped gym (with sauna) for you to run off some of the workweek steam.
What’s more, the Magnolia is featuring a special ‘Made for Men’ package to help entice guys to channel their inner Don Draper (a la Mad Men) and gather for a weekend getaway loaded with plenty of incentives. Think flights of whiskey, appetizers, complimentary brunch and killer room rates ($185-$209+tax). Need we say more?
Once you’ve settled, get your bearings and gear up for a night out. Victoria is not just for tourists, students and retirees – there’s plenty going on suited to all tastes and into the wee hours of the night. Our top picks are Little Jumbo (for cocktails), Big Bad John’s (for some classic grubbed up fun), or make your way to a local’s favourite, Clive’s Classic Cocktail Lounge, and order up one of their signature drinks from The Vault.
We won’t blame you for feeling a bit slow the next morning, so keep it simple and head to the hotel’s adjacent Catalano Restaurant & Cicchetti Bar for brunch the next day and order their smoked salmon and dill eggs Benny (trust us, you’ll love it). Served with a healthy portion of potato rosti, it will more than get you fuelled up for a day of sightseeing ahead.
From there, the options are endless. Test your stamina and rent a few kayaks, squeeze in some whale watching, or do your own brewery tour by Swans Brewpub, Canoe Brewpub and Spinnaker’s. Alternatively, head out for some deep sea fishing or be a big kid at the recently reopened Adrena LINE Zipline Adventure Tours.
Post-fun, fill up on tasty grub at Smoken Bones Cookshack, 10 Acres Bistro or do a bit of an impromptu pub-crawl Irish-style and head to Government Street where you’ll find your fix courtesy of the Bard and Banker and nearby Irish Times Pub.
The next day, make your way over to the Victoria Public Market (similar to Vancouver’s Granville Market) and check out the array of local goods. You’ll definitely get your cold cut fix at Ravestone Farm Artisan Meats and Roast (order an assortment of their amazing deli-style sandwiches!) before you grab your crew and get ready for some time on the greenway.
About a 15-20 minute drive up the island highway will have you at The Westin Bear Mountain Golf Resort & Spa, where you can break out the clubs (and probably a bit of a sweat) at their stunning 36-hole course. With amazing 360-degree views of the city, gulf islands, ocean and forestry, it is quintessentially West Coast.
For your final day, it’s all about the detox. What better a way to get started than by booking into the hotel spa for a signature service just for guys, like The Executive massage or Hydra Performance Men’s Facial. Clean your system with a buzzed-about fresh pressed juice at Bliss Cafe or head to the newly opened Be Loved Restaurant for a plate of healthy eats (including brown rice and zucchini noodle mushroom fettuccini that is to die for).
Pack up your gear and head back to the Harbour Air Seaplane base and get ready to return to reality in YVR feeling like you scored the ultimate island getaway in style. For more Victoria getaway ideas, click here.
#LYNL | (Live Your Notable Life)
Cover image: Little Jumbo
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