There is a reason Victoria remains one of the most romantic and refreshing destinations on the West Coast. Its coastal views and temperate weather offer an elegant reprieve from the drizzle that often plagues the Greater Seattle area. Historic charm abounds in the BC Capital, as does a thriving food scene that’s rooted in farm-to-table cuisine. Here, a commitment to whole-body wellness is matched with an often unmentioned friendliness. It’s a dynamic combo that has made Victoria a haven for those looking to rest and refresh. And no place speaks to this epic sense of retreat more than the Oak Bay Beach Hotel.
Voted #7 Hotel in Western Canada by the Condé Nast Traveler’s 2023 Reader’s Choice Awards, Oak Bay Beach Hotel in British Columbia offers the ultimate wellness weekend experience.
And what’s more, it doesn’t take all day to reach with a convenient, direct flight to Victoria Inner Harbour or Victoria International Airport. Kenmore Air also provides service from San Juan Island’s Friday Harbor Marina direct to Victoria Inner Harbour!
Getting to Oak Bay Beach Hotel in British Columbia
Oak Bay Beach Hotel is set beside Mayor Channel on the southeastern tip of Vancouver Island. It’s roughly four miles from Victoria’s Inner Harbour (about a 20-minute drive, give or take). With only two ways to reach Vancouver Island (boat or plane), traveling to the hotel can be nearly an all-day trip.
When traveling from Seattle, options include Victoria Clipper passenger ferry (2 hours and 45 minutes sail time) and the BC Ferry’s Spirit of British Columbia departing from Vancouver, BC (2+ hour drive from Seattle, along with a 95-minute sail, not to mention waiting for the ferry).
Alternatively, you can reach Victoria’s Inner Harbour in just 45 minutes with a scenic flight from Lake Union or Kenmore, WA. We also offer flights from Paine Field to Victoria International Airport.
Once you’ve arrived on Vancouver Island, you can reach Oak Bay by renting a car or hiring a taxi. Oak Bay also offers transportation for a nominal fee, which is easy to arrange in advance.
The Stay (one of the most romantic places on Vancouver Island)
The hotel sits right along the water’s edge, built into the rocky shoreline. (Yes, it’s so close the mineral pools can sometimes be splashed by ocean waves during a storm.)
The rooms are tucked just beyond the shoreline, close enough to smell the salty air while far enough removed to showcase the complete juxtaposition of the sharp shoreline and chilly saltwater. Room types vary, with the best views facing east and the most reserved views facing west towards the residential interior of Oak Bay.
Insider Tip: Looking for a view without the top-tier price tag? Check out the ‘Partial View’ rooms. These offer the same luxurious amenities and an angled ocean view, while costing a bit less than their full Eastern-facing sisters.
The Boathouse Spa (exquisite seaside mineral pools, rejuvenating treatments, and exquisite views)
Victoria’s only oceanfront spa, Boathouse Spa at Oak Bay Beach Resort, offers a wide array of nurturing and holistic treatments. This luxury Vancouver Island destination was named #1 in Western Canada, #5 of the Top Spas in Canada, and #20 of the Top Spas in North America by Spas of America.
Among the top signature treatments is the Active Ritual Massage. Better labeled an ‘experience,’ the Active Ritual Massage was developed in-house. It is a nurturing and passive movement massage that helps relieve muscular tension, improve joint mobility, and increase overall flexibility. The message blends various techniques, including Thai massage, passive stretching, myofascial release, and Swedish therapeutic massage. Each treatment is personalized to your unique needs and is ideal for active recovery and rest days.
Insider Tip: Want to enjoy the relaxing moment with your significant other? Any messages of the same length can be booked as a side-by-side treatment.
Seaside Mineral Pools – An Adult Sanctuary
The hotel and spa’s top highlight is undoubtedly the three heated outdoor mineral pools. Simply breathtaking, these pools are open year-round and offer magnificent oceanfront views. (In fact, the pools are so close to the water’s edge that, in rare instances, they may close due to inclement weather for the safety of guests and employees.)
Both the Boathouse Spa and Heated Seaside Mineral Pools are an ‘adult sanctuary.’ Guests must be at least 16 years old to enjoy these services. Access to the mineral pools is limited to overnight guests and those who purchase a mineral pool upgrade with a spa treatment.
The Food (four unique dining options)
The Dining Room at Oak Bay Beach Hotel
An intimate experience, The Dining Room is open exclusively for dinner Friday through Sunday. Reservations are strongly encouraged. (The restaurant only seats 22.) But for those lucky enough to secure a table, the experience doesn’t disappoint.
The menu is table d’hôte (aka a multi-course prefixed affair), which also leaves a little room for choice – with more than one appetizer and main from which to select. What sets the meal apart are the ingredients. Seasonal and locally sourced, the menu evolves to elevate the available bounty. Optional wine pairings are also available, specifically tailored to each dish.
FARO Handcrafted Pizza and Tasting Room
The rich, cultural heritage of pizza and wine dates back thousands of years. Some regions, like Tuscany, are well-known in today’s food landscape for honoring this dynamic combo. But for many of us living in North America, the humble slice is often pictured with a frothy yellow beer.
Such is not the case at FARO Handcrafted Pizza and Tasting Room. This charming pizzeria on the hotel’s main floor was recognized for its outstanding wine program in Wine Spectator’s 2023 Restaurant Awards. The wine list here features internationally acclaimed vintors, up-and-coming stars, and hidden gems — including several titles for the first m Vancouver Island’s own Cowichan Valley.
The wood-fired pies offer the perfect backdrop for the wide range of poor, offering pairings that range from bold and spicy to light and bright. The crust here is blistered and toothsome. The toppings are fresh and seasonal. The sauces are expertly crafted to meld each bite into a riot of flavor.
In short, this isn’t just pizza. It is pizza-worthy of a reservation.
The Snug Pub
Styled after a classic English pub, Oak Bay’s Snug Pub was Victoria’s first ‘neighborhood pub.’ Opened in 1954, it features floor-to-ceiling ocean views and offers breakfast, lunch, happy hour, and dinner.
The vibe here is upbeat and communal. Drinks are handcrafted. The food leans heavily on comfort, as one would expect of an English establishment (think fish and chips, hearty mac ‘n cheese, and a rave-worthy burger.) But those who want the pub grub with a bit of a lighter touch won’t be disappointed. Look for options like a cauliflower steak drizzled in coconut cashew tikka curry sauce and a seafood salad dressed in avocado green goddess dressing that’s exquisite.
Boathouse Kitchen & Bar
Take dining ‘al fresco to the next level at Boathouse Kitchen & Bar. A bite and a drink is the perfect interlude to dipping in the heated mineral pools and relaxing in the sauna. Here, views abound and the menu is focused on lighter, seasonal fare.
Cocktails and mocktails are also available. So is the hotel’s full wine, beer, and cider list — making this a delightful place to enjoy your 5 o’clock cocktail.
Oak Bay Beach Hotel FAQs
Are there any fun things to do nearby?
Definitely. The hotel is located less than a mile from Oak Bay Village. The walk is roughly 20 minutes, with the most scenic route meandering along the coast, offering easy access to several scenic parks and a large stretch of public beach access.
The town itself is quite quaint with a host of unique places to eat (like Vis-a-Vis) and drink (including Penny Farthing and Discovery Coffee). Shopping here can also offer a rewarding opportunity as you wander through novelty shops and art galleries.
Is the hotel kid-friendly?
The Oak Bay Beach Hotel rooms can certainly accommodate children. But in general, most of the hotel’s amenities are considered an ‘adult sanctuary’ and are accessible for guests 16 years of age and older. Additionally, The Snug Pub is accessible to guests 19 years of age and older.
If you’re looking for a kid-friendly place to stay, we highly recommend hotels like the Fairmont Empress, which offers specific kid-friendly events (like a kid’s high tea).
Is this a romantic Vancouver Island resort?
Without a doubt. Oak Bay Beach Hotel is one of the most romantic places to stay on Vancouver Island. Many of the amenities and two of the restaurants are adult sanctuaries, allowing this to be a temper tantrum-free space, where Bluey is checked at the door and talking toys are a distant memory.
Do I have to stay at the hotel to visit the mineral pools?
A visit to the mineral pools is a complimentary perk of staying at the hotel, but it’s not the only way to enjoy a seaside dip. Spa guests can also purchase a two-hour pass to the mineral pools.