Loden Hotel in Vancouver partnered with Magnolia Hotel in Victoria to bring together the “Best of Two Cities” travel package. Last weekend, Husband and I experienced this tour, and we highly recommend it if you’ve been wanting a Canadian adventure! We live in Seattle and frequently visit our neighbors up North (here are all my Canada posts), but this getaway was particularly special. We explored and did so much in both cities that we’d never done before, and it’s because of the fun itinerary of the travel package. Here are the details:
Where to Stay: Loden Hotel
The hospitality at Loden Hotel is next level – everyone is friendly, helpful, and attentive. I immediately noticed the small details that make a hotel stand out: like housemade tea and local ginger beer in the lobby if you need a refreshment, or complimentary water and chocolates awaiting you in the room upon arrival.
The room is so chic – I love the modern, luxe decor with a midcentury, homey vibe. And do you see that huge bathtub?! I live in the city so I have a standard-sized tub, so that’s the first thing I check out in a hotel room when I travel. Loden Hotel‘s tub comfortably fits two, so I popped over a few blocks to LUSH Cosmetics and picked up some bath bombs for an evening in.
For a full “MTV Cribs”-styled tour, watch my Snapchat video at the end of the post!
Where to Lunch: Homer St. Cafe & Bar
The food is only rivaled by the adorable decor at Homer St. Cafe, which is every Instagrammer’s dorky picture-perfect dream. Seriously, the French doors and patterned tiles gave me decor inspo for my future house. We had brunch here and shared the Nutella banana Monte Cristo over coffee before our entrees arrived.
What to Do: Stanley Park & Granville Island
One of my favorite amenities about Loden Hotel is their complimentary bicycles! The hotel is a mere few blocks away from Stanley Park, so we went for a gorgeous, picturesque ride around the loop. Vancouver is such a bike-friendly city, with easy-to-identify and generous bike lanes that even put Seattle to shame!
Once we got back from cycling, we headed to Granville Island via water taxi since it was a beautiful day (but you can also drive onto the “island”). We happened to be in Vancouver on Canada Day, so Granville was even more bustling than usual. To celebrate, we lounged on a patio and enjoyed a few local brewskis in the sun.
Where to Dine: Tableau Bar Bistro
Award-winning Tableau Bar Bistro also happens to be adjacent to the Loden Hotel lobby, so that was convenient for us to swing in for dinner. We started with glasses of champagne paired with local Joyce Point oysters and a charcuterie plate. The menu is classically French, so of course, Husband ordered steak frites and I had mussels frites. We subbed out one order of fries for sautéed mushrooms, which were so buttery and divine. Lastly, we concluded the meal with mango sorbet topped over a coconut creme brûlée.
VANCOUVER to VICTORIA
How to Get There: Harbour Air
The next day, we got ready to take a seaplane over to Victoria! Harbour Air is only minutes away from Loden Hotel, and the hotel offers a complimentary shuttle. This was our first time on a seaplane, and it’s an awesome way to travel! For starters, we only had to check in 30 minutes ahead of time and boarding took 5 mins — plus, the whole flight was 25 minutes. Usually, a ferry ride over to Victoria takes hours. Not to mention, being in a smaller aircraft, I felt (like a bird!) so much closer to the scenery and the views were breathtaking.
Where to Stay: Magnolia Hotel
Upon landing, we were immediately greeted by representatives from Magnolia Hotel who walked us up a few blocks to the hotel. Magnolia Hotel has an elevated, classic charm that fits in so well with the style of Victoria. The room is cozy (equipped with a fireplace!) and the decor is sophisticated. I was pleasantly surprised to find a deep-soaking tub (!!!), and they provided a bottle of bath bubbles made by a local purveyor.
There is a sense of community within Victoria that permeates throughout Magnolia Hotel. For example, I chatted with the doorman who was attending high school and working there part-time. He had the idea to grow herbs on the rooftop, got his plan okayed, and now the hotel uses his mint for their drinks!
What to Do: Bike Loop > Chinatown & Downtown
Magnolia Hotel also provides complimentary bikes, as well as various routes for you to tour depending on your interests. We chose “Bikes, Beans & Blooms” and took off on a lovely ride, with some of my favorite stops being the Government House and Beacon Hill Park. At one point, a horse-drawn carriage trotted down the park as I was near a trickling creek shaded by a willow tree, and I felt like I was in a quintessential Victorian novel!
After the parks, we cycled to Chinatown and visited Fan Tan Alley, specifically for gourmet popsicles from Kid Sister (Husband had “Dulce de Leche” and I had a “Persian” one made of rosewater, pistachios, and saffron). Then, we strolled around the quaint Downtown and stopped by Oh Sugar to stock up on gummy candies.
Where to Eat
Happy hour at Cicchetti Bar (order the prosciutto-filled cheese croquettes).
Dinner at 10 Acres Commons, a block away from Magnolia Hotel. Husband ordered the halibut fish and chips, and the halibut was caught in Haida Gwaii, BC. We also shared the chilled seafood platter.
VICTORIA to SEATTLE
How to Get There: Kenmore Air
Though sad to leave Canada, I was also excited about our seaplane ride back to Seattle because I wanted to fly closely over my home city and land on Lake Union. The views were so scenic cruising over San Juan Islands and Bainbridge… and finally, 30-mins later, as we soared over the iconic Seattle waterfront and Space Needle, my city looked just as epic from above as I’d hoped.