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Where to Stay in Victoria, BC: The Absolute BEST Area and 9 Top Hotels

Where to Stay in Victoria, BC: The Absolute BEST Area and 9 Top Hotels

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If you’re planning a trip to Vancouver Island, chances are you’re going to spend some time visiting beautiful Victoria. And really, you should! As one of the best destinations on Vancouver Island, Victoria is packed with amazing sights, history, and incredible food. I dare say it might be one of my favorite cities in all of Canada!

Since living in Vancouver, we hop on the ferry to get from Vancouver to Victoria as often as we can and when we do, we try to stay at least a night or two. There’s so much to see and do in Victoria that just coming for a day trip only scratches the surface. But if you haven’t been here before or just aren’t sure where to stay in Victoria, we’re here to help.

In this guide to the best Victoria, BC hotels and accommodations, we’ll share our top picks and the lowdown on which areas to stay – whether you’re a first-time or regular visitor. 

Don’t have time to read the full article? If you want to book a hotel in Victoria right now, we’ve got you covered! The iconic Fairmont Empress Hotel is straight out of a fairytale and perfect for romantic getaways, Hotel Rialto is a hidden gem downtown, or for a truly unique experience, book a room on a boat in Fisherman’s Wharf with Float Home B&B!

Accommodation Guide & Best Hotels in Victoria, BC

The-parliamentary-building-in-Victoria-BC-1
Bailey walks down Fantan Alley in China Town in Victoria BC
Exploring Fantan Alley in our free time!

As the capital of British Columbia and the largest city on Vancouver Island, Victoria makes for the perfect getaway. Whether you’re looking to immerse yourself in culture, history, nature, or just escape the bitter winter for some milder weather (Victoria’s winters are the mildest in Canada), this is the place to be. It’s also the starting point for all of the best Vancouver Island road trips!

After living in Vancouver and visiting Victoria often, we got to know a bit about the different neighborhoods in the Greater Victoria area and which ones make the best options for visitors to Victoria – depending on your needs. 

In this guide to the best hotels in Victoria, Canada, we’ll share some of our favorite places to stay and the pros and cons of different areas of Victoria. So whether you’re looking for the best luxury hotels Victoria has for a romantic getaway or cheap hotels in Victoria, BC, I’ve got you covered. 

There are also plenty of accommodation options to consider beyond the regular Victoria hotels downtown – you can opt to spend a few days in an oceanside resort, or a cute heritage bed and breakfast in residential James Bay. 

Tips for Finding the Best Victoria, BC Hotels

Bailey walks in front of the Legislative Building in Victoria BC
The architecture is so beautiful in Victoria!

If you’re planning to visit Victoria in summer, or during weekends between April-October, I recommend booking yesterday (kidding!) but really, you need to book well in advance. Victoria gets booked up fast, especially during the summer months, and the earlier out you book, the more choice you’ll have. 

Victoria, Canada hotels can also be expensive and hotel rates high – again especially on weekends and during the summer – another reason to book well ahead. Finding good budget-friendly hotel options in Victoria can be a challenge, but I’ve included a few options below in this guide. 

Where to Stay in Victoria, BC – Neighborhood Guide

Cars drive on the road in Victoria, BC
Victoria!

There are many neighborhoods to choose from for a stay in Victoria, each offering something a bit different. 

Downtown Victoria is compact and walkable, or you can make use of the city’s transit bus network which is reliable and efficient. However, if you aren’t planning on bringing a vehicle or a rental car, you may find it preferable to stay in the downtown, Inner Harbour, or James Bay areas so you can get around easily. Fairfield is about 20-25 minutes walk from the city center. 

Some of the main areas to stay in Victoria that we recommend are: 

  • Downtown Victoria – Perfect for when you want to be close to all the action. You’ll have plenty of restaurants and bars on your doorstep and it’s a short stroll to the Inner Harbour where Victoria whale watching cruises depart from. The historic Inner Harbour itself is located at the south end of Government Street. Downtown has plenty of different hotels to choose from, many of them chain hotels or high-end options, and is a great option for families and first-time visitors to Victoria. Downtown is home to the vast majority of Victoria, BC hotel options. 
  • James Bay – The heart of historic Victoria filled with grand homes and wide, stately residential streets. James Bay is the grandest neighborhood in Victoria! Located just south of the Inner Harbour and to the southwest of downtown, from here it’s a short walk to the downtown area while benefiting from a quieter, more residential part of town to stay in. James Bay is filled with beautiful heritage bed & breakfasts, and some of the best boutique hotels Victoria, BC has are here too. Horse and carriage rides (we went with Tally-Ho Carriage Tours!) run from the Inner Harbour around James Bay, and here you’re just a short stroll to the BC Museum and Beacon Hill Park, too. 
  • Fairfield – One of my favorite neighborhoods in Victoria is Fairfield and the area surrounding Cook Street Village. Not a typical “tourist” neighborhood, Fairfield is great for repeat visitors to Victoria, or if you want to stay somewhere a little quieter away from all the cruise day-trippers. There is a selection of bed & breakfasts here and it’s around a 20-minute walk into town along tree-lined streets. Or you can easily walk to Beacon Hill Park or the beautiful Gonzales Beach. 
  • Oak Bay – Located on the east side of Victoria, Oak Bay is a little away from the city itself, but still close enough to be easily able to drive (or bus) in whenever you want. One of the main advantages of staying here is its beachside location – this is your chance to stay on the ocean shore as well as within easy access to all of the Victoria attractions. A great option for families and anyone who wants to be by the water, this is one of the alternative places to stay in Victoria that shouldn’t be overlooked. 

Related Read: On one of your first days in the city, I recommend taking a walking tour in Victoria! You’ll get a feel for the city and find all the places you want to return to on your own.

Best Hotels in Victoria BC – Reviews

Now that you know which areas offer the best places to stay in Victoria BC, we’ll run through our top hotels in Victoria so that you can choose where’s going to be best for your upcoming trip. 

1. Fairmont Empress Hotel – Downtown/Inner Harbour

Outside of the Fairmont Empress Hotel in Victoria BC
Outside of the Fairmont Empress Hotel in Victoria, BC

Best For – The Quintessential Luxury Victoria hotel experience

The “Grande Dame” of Victoria’s hotels and certainly her most iconic, if you’re looking for luxury hotels in Victoria you won’t want to miss the Fairmont Empress Hotel

The Empress Hotel is a slice of Victoria’s history – in fact this is THE famous hotel in Victoria, BC. It’s where royalty has stayed and this Edwardian-era Chateau is set right on the edge of the Inner Harbour with views out across Victoria’s waterfront. It’s a few steps away from the BC Museum, entertainment, and restaurants of Victoria’s downtown, or you can rent a kayak and explore Victoria’s Harbour from pretty much your doorstep. 

The hotel is ranked among one of the 21 most iconic hotels in the world, so a stay here is the quintessential Victoria experience. If you stay here (or even if you’re staying elsewhere) don’t miss a chance to have English-style afternoon tea at the Empress (advance bookings essential) to get you into the Victoria mood. 

Rooms have recently been renovated, and if budget allows, the harbor-facing ones offer the best views. Rooms are typically in the $350-$600 CAD range with the most expensive time to stay here being the peak summer months of June-August.

Related Read: Another place in Victoria that looks like it belongs on a postcard is Butchart Gardens. It’s best to visit on a Butchart Gardens tour from Victoria since it’s located just outside the city.

2. Delta Hotels by Marriott Victoria Ocean Pointe Resort – Esquimalt/Inner Harbour

Delta Hotels by Marriott Victoria Ocean Pointe Resort room
Photo credit: Delta Hotels by Marriott Victoria Ocean Pointe Resort

Best For – Lovely Waterside Resort Overlooking Downtown Victoria

Located just across the bridge from Downtown Victoria in an area known as Esquimalt, one of the best things about the Delta Hotels by Marriott Victoria Ocean Pointe Resort is its views across the water onto the Inner Harbour area and Victoria itself. I can’t hype up those views from the rooms enough!

The hotel gardens lead directly down to the water and the outdoor dining restaurant, LURE, has full harbor views. This is a resort-style property, with amenities that include a pool, tennis courts, and a fitness area, and it’s well suited to families who want both plenty of hotel facilities and proximity to the city center. In just a short walk over the bridge into Victoria, you can be in the heart of downtown. We love that you can walk to many of the best attractions in Victoria from here so easily.

One of the top waterfront hotels in Victoria, BC, the Delta by Marriott is a good option if you want to be in a quieter location with great waterfront views but still close to the action of the city center. You can find rooms under $300 CAD in the off-season and more around the $400 CAD range in the summer.

3. Ocean Island Inn – Downtown

Ocean Island Inn in Victoria, BC room
Photo credit: Ocean Island Inn

Best For – Victoria on a Budget/Backpackers

When it comes to cheap hotels in Victoria, BC, one of the better ones is the Ocean Island Inn located on the northern end of downtown. Praised for its friendly staff, it’s something of an establishment and is a great place to stay to meet fellow travelers if you’re backpacking. 

There is a good choice of different room types and accommodations available, from budget-friendly dorms with shared bathrooms, family rooms, and private rooms with either private or shared bathroom facilities. Do note that the “economy dormitories” are on the ground floor and can get a lot of street noise, so if you’re a light sleeper, it’s better to upgrade to another dorm or room option. Guests have access to a shared kitchen as well as a launderette. 

It isn’t in the best part of town, but it does get great reviews for its community feel and friendly staff who can help with advice on the local area as well as getting the most out of your stay in Victoria. For a simple, budget-friendly place to stay, this is one of the top hotels in Victoria. 

You can find bunks here for around $50 CAD and private rooms around the $100 CAD mark – even in the summer!

4. Hotel Rialto – Downtown

A room at Hotel Rialto in Victoria BC
Photo credit: Hotel Rialto in Victoria BC

Best For – Boutique Luxury

Hotel Rialto is something of a hidden gem, set away from the main tourist drag of lower Victoria, but just a few blocks back from the Inner Harbour. Its location is handy for exploring all of Victoria’s best eateries and bars, and you’re just a few steps from Victoria’s Chinatown (the oldest in Canada!). 

Rooms are stylish and modern with crisp cottons and super comfy beds, and the hotel is designed to give a hint of Italian style and flare – rooms come with Aqua di Palma toiletries, and the restaurant serves tasty Italian cuisine. Even if you don’t stay here, we think the cocktail bar is well worth a visit, too. 

The Rialto Hotel is family-owned and full of the kinds of thoughtful details that make for a great stay. If you’re looking for hotels in downtown Victoria, BC that are comfortable, friendly, and close to all the main attractions then you’ll definitely want to check out the Rialto. R

Room rates start at only $185 CAD in the off-season and range from $250-$350 CAD during the summer.

5. Beaconsfield Bed & Breakfast – Fairfield

Best For – B&B with lots of charm in a quiet neighborhood

Victoria is home to some of the best bed & breakfasts in Canada, so if you’re looking for somewhere to stay in Victoria that has lots of character and charm, why not give Beaconsfield Bed & Breakfast a try? 

The quiet tree-lined neighborhood of Fairfield is about a 20-minute walk from downtown Victoria, so it’s a great place to stay if you want to be somewhere a little quieter, while still being within easy reach of the city’s main attractions. Beaconsfield Bed & Breakfast is a charming historic house (built in 1905) and offers high-end accommodations at good rates with a delicious breakfast included in the room rate. 

There are a range of different rooms to choose from, many that feature fireplaces, antique pieces, stained glass, and spa bathtubs. If you’re after comfortable accommodations with friendly service and lots of heritage charm, this is a great B&B to stay at. Rates range from $213-$309 CAD all year round and include a homemade breakfast of course!

6. Float Home B&B – James Bay/Inner Harbour

Fisherman's Wharf in Victoria BC
The floating homes!

Best For – A unique stay at a floating B&B on the Inner Harbour

If you’re looking for harbor hotels in Victoria, then there’s nothing quite like this mini bed and breakfast for an experience on the water! Float Home B&B is located in Fisherman’s Wharf floating village in James Bay, a short stroll from the Inner Harbour. We love wandering around this part of Victoria as it’s filled with food kiosks, a kids’ playground, and of course, plenty of working fish boats around. Staying here is something I definitely want to do some day!

This floating bed & breakfast is a houseboat with mid-range accommodation, all with sea views and private patios facing onto the water. Don’t be surprised if a seal pops up to greet you while you’re having your morning coffee! The seals around here are adorable and always a highlight for us.

You’ll get a voucher for breakfast at the Imagine Bistro on Fisherman’s Wharf which offers a tasty range of organic and gluten-free options and is invested in providing skills training for those from disadvantaged communities locally. 

The location here is hard to beat, with downtown Victoria, the Inner Harbour, boat trips, and the neighborhood of James Bay all easily accessible by foot. Plus, the sea views are literally on your doorstep! You can stay here fro $199-$399 CAD per night, depending on the time of year you choose.

Related Read: While you’re on Vancouver Island, head to the West Coast to see Tofino! Check out our guide on where to stay in Tofino for tips.

7. Oswego Hotel – James Bay

Best For – A stylish, boutique hotel stay in James Bay

A quieter alternative that has more character than many of the chain hotels in Victoria, BC downtown is the Oswego Hotel. This boutique hotel is located in the residential James Bay area and just two blocks away from the Inner Harbour and parliament buildings. 

This is an all-suite property with rooms including kitchen facilities, high-end contemporary design, floor-to-ceiling windows, and some feature balconies with views out over Victoria. There’s an on-site bistro with an outdoor courtyard, or you can opt to cook for yourself when you stay here. 

This boutique hotel gets rave reviews for the friendly service, facilities, and quiet location which provides just enough peace and quiet while being close to everything. We’ve seen room rates as low as $165 CAD in the winter/spring and then summer rates are more around $330 CAD (although June is cheaper and a gorgeous time to visit!).

8. Oak Bay Beach Hotel – Oak Bay

Oak Bay Beach Hotel room in Victoria, BC
Photo credit: Oak Bay Beach Hotel

Best For – Those looking for an ocean-side beach resort within easy reach of downtown Victoria

One of the best luxury hotels in Victoria, BC for a romantic getaway (or if you’re looking for spa hotels in Victoria), the Oak Bay Beach Hotel is a beautiful oceanfront resort in the Oak Bay area of greater Victoria. 

Around a 15-minute drive to Downtown Victoria, I think the best thing about the Oak Bay Beach Hotel is the stunning views out over the ocean towards the Gulf Islands. (If an ocean-view room is within your budget, you won’t regret it!).

The hotel features outdoor hot tubs, spa pools, and a swimming pool overlooking the ocean, so if you’re looking for a spa getaway near Victoria or want to unwind, look no further. There are a number of different bars and restaurants on-site, with a favorite being Snug Pub which is a bit of an institution around here and it’s known as the first neighborhood pub in Victoria!

Choose from hotel rooms or suites all with kitchenettes and either a balcony or deck. All rooms include fluffy bathrobes, blackout curtains, modern, luxury decor, and amazing bathrooms. What more could you want?

Rooms typically start around the $300-$400 CAD mark, but can go much higher in July and August, so best to book as far in advance as you can for a summer trip!

9. Helm’s Inn – Downtown

Room at Helm's Inn in Victoria BC
Photo credit: Helm’s Inn in Victoria BC

Best For – Great value mid-range rooms in a good location

Last in our best hotels in Victoria, BC reviews is Helm’s Inn, a reliable mid-range all-suite hotel that offers good value for money. Located at the southern tip of downtown, the hotel is just steps from the Inner Harbour, James Bay, and Beacon Hill Park. 

All rooms include basic kitchenette facilities with a fridge, coffee maker, and microwave. There’s complimentary WiFi as well as laundry facilities for guest use on site. Larger king suites can accommodate up to 2 adults and 2 children. 

Staying here means you’ll be in a central location that’s close to all of Victoria’s main attractions, pubs, restaurants, and cafes! Rooms start as low as $140 CAD in the off-season to $300 CAD in the summer.

Things to do While You’re in Victoria

Bailey out the front of the Hatley Castle in Victoria, BC
Hatley Castle in Victoria
Stairs leading up to a viewpoint at The Butchart Gardens in Victoria BC
Butchart Gardens is SO beautiful!

Victoria is full of incredible activities so after you find an amazing place to stay from our list, it’s time to fill up your itinerary! Here are just a few of our favorite things to do in this impressive city:

  • Visit the historic castles – Victoria is home to two unique castles, Craigdarroch Castle and Hatley Castle. Both offer a unique glimpse into the city’s intriguing past. While you can’t enter actually Hatley Castle, you can explore the surrounding grounds which are absolutely beautiful. You can also visit Craigdarroch Castle as part of this highly-rated guided bike tour, which also includes stops at other top attractions around the city for only $68 CAD!
  • See the Steamship Water Ballet Performance – Yes, you read that right! At 10:45 am every Sunday morning (with more frequent shows happening during the summer), the captains of the steamships perform a choreographed dance routine, completely for free at Victoria Harbour! It sounds strange, and maybe it is a little, but trust us – such a fun time!
  • Fly in a seaplane – Nothing quite beats the view from a plane window. From Victoria Harbor Airport, you’ll take off from the water (and land in it too!) on a truly jaw-dropping experience. Flights last around 20 minutes and prices start at $161 CAD. Seaplane flights are extremely popular (for good reason), so be sure to book your flight in advance to avoid missing out.
  • Explore Goldstream Provincial Park – It’s no secret that Victoria has some of Canada’s best natural parks, with Goldstream Provincial Park being high on that list! With many hiking trails to explore and the opportunity to take a dip in the beautiful Goldstream Falls, it’s a treat to spend time here.
  • Visit Butchart Gardens – The famous Butchart Gardens features 900 types of plants spread across different gardens, each with its own theme. While you can explore on your own, tours are also a popular choice. If you just need a ride, this express shuttle gets you worry-free transportation. Or I love this private luxury tour where you’ll get time to visit the gardens along with the VIP experience as you’re taken to all the top sights in Victoria.

Renting a Car in British Columbia

A rural road with Mt Currie in the background
Road trips are the best way to explore Canada!

If you’re arriving in British Columbia via plane, then I can’t recommend getting a rental car enough. British Columbia is a large province, and traveling between the best places to visit in BC requires transport. Although you can use public transport on some occasions, this means your trip will not only require more time but more planning.

Car rental in Canada isn’t relatively cheap, but it’s not that expensive either, especially if you get a budget car. The cheapest car with a pick-up and drop-off in different locations is around $100 CAD per day. The price does vary though, depending on the time of year. For car rentals, I use the website Discover Cars. It’s a search engine with lots of deals with good customer service. In fact, I’ve used Discover Cars all over the world, including in Chile, New Zealand, and Australia.

Another popular option is to rent a campervan or motorhome (only for the brave in winter.) Using Motorhome Republic, you can search hundreds of deals across multiple companies to pick a great vehicle and the cheapest price. Having a motorhome is a stunning way to see Canada, and using crown land and campsites, you can often camp for free or very cheap in the most beautiful places imaginable!

Thanks for reading!

Daniel and Bailey take a selfie while in Victoria, BC
Thanks for reading!

Hopefully, our recommendations helped you find the perfect place to stay in Victoria for your trip! Some of the most beautiful hotels in Canada are here (looking at you Fairmont Empress!), but wherever you stay, the location of this city really can’t be beat.

If you need more help planning your trip, check out our 10-Day Vancouver Island Itinerary for ideas or have a look at our other Vancouver Island blogs. We’ll go through the best tours, road trip routes, and hidden gems on the island so you can have the best time. Here are a few other popular blogs I think you might find helpful:

Whale Watching on Vancouver Island: 10 Things to KNOW Before You Go!

Two Weeks on Vancouver Island Itinerary

How to Spend ONE Day in Victoria, BC: An Ideal 1-Day Itinerary

9 BEST Stops Between Victoria and Nanaimo

Kay M.

Monday 22nd of April 2024

Hi! We are planning to visit victoria in June..this will be our first time..we are family of 6, 3 adults and 12,11&8 girls..we are from winnipeg and we would like to spend atleast two nights in victoria..my no.1 concern is car🙈 should we rent a car in vancity and bring it to victoria or just rent in victoria? Will read more of your blogs about vancouver..thank you❤️

Destinationless Travel

Tuesday 23rd of April 2024

Hey Kay,

Sounds like a fun trip!

If you don't plan on using the car in Vancouver then rent it in Victoria. Otherwise you'll have to pay to take the car on the ferry and there can be issues with insurance on the ferry. If you have a car you also need to book the ferry but those walking on do not need to reserve. The ferry gets busy with cars in summer and you need to reserve in advance.

Thanks Daniel