I rocked up in the hippie shuttle van from my last accommodation to an elegant building called The Oswego Hotel – my new home for the next two nights. At that time, I didn’t realize just how delightful my room would be, it would literally feel like a home away from home during my time in Canada.
When I walked inside the lobby, the woman who checked me in asked me what it was like riding in the hippie van around town, it looked like such a fun van and she had seen it around Victoria before. We continued to have a friendly chat about the city, where she was from in Canada, and about my trip and why I was there. Even though The Oswego Hotel is a classy establishment that would be considered chic by most, it didn’t have the pretentiousness that some nicer hotels tend to have. I loved it.
The receptionist was just the beginning of the friendliness I encountered at the hotel. As soon as I walked into my room, I found an envelope with my name on it and the most delicious truffle chocolates waiting for me. The woman doing turnover service later that night even came and knocked on my door to see if I wanted more chocolates. Um, yes please!
And it wasn’t just the staff that were friendly. My last night in the hotel there were a group of fairly intoxicated guys in the lobby that were celebrating a bachelor party and going back up to their room on one of the top floors. Two of them hopped in the elevator with me and continued to strike up a friendly conversation, one offered me a beer from their six pack on my way out of the lift. Elevator beer? Why not.
Perhaps this is just the epitome of Canadian friendliness, but I never saw that cliche quite so well represented as I did at The Oswego Hotel.
Although I only had a couple of nights at the hotel, I came away with a positive experience and fond memories from the last of my time in Victoria. This was my overall impression and overview of what I found during my stay.
Well, I should really start by saying that my room was actually an apartment. This was my favorite unique aspect about the hotel, besides the friendly staff of course, that the rooms were set-up as apartments. I couldn’t believe how much space I had to myself, it was like I was staying in a fancier version of my own apartment back in Portland, but with the luxuries of a nice hotel.
I had a huge bathroom, with soft white bathrobes, quality H2O shower products, and a tub. I had a living room with a TV, a full wall of windows with a great view, and a couch. The radio was playing softly whenever I came back after they cleaned my room for the day.
I listened to quite a few Canadian classics on their hit radio station in Victoria, including of course the Biebs! Whenever I wanted to people watch, I could sit out on the balcony and read my Kindle, taking in the slow pace of island life in Victoria.
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I didn’t spend too much time in my actual bedroom because I was so enthralled with how much space I had to move around in the rest of my “room”, but I had a lovely firm bed that was cozy and a TV in my bedroom as well. I also had a fully working kitchen with a French press (yes!) and pretty much any kind of utensils and appliances that I would need to cook meals for myself.
There were fans in both the bedroom and the living room, which helped to circulate the air well. It was somehow always a perfect temperature whenever I came back to my room.
Related: The Meaning of Adventure in Victoria
Another great aspect about The Oswego Hotel is the location. It is as good as it gets without being right on the busy inner harbor strip, which I actually preferred. The hotel is nestled in a residential part of town just on the side of the harbor, and was such a wonderfully quiet place to come back to.
The hotel is only about a 10-15 minute walk to downtown and right next to Fisherman’s Wharf if you want to grab some fresh fish & chips from Barb’s. The hotel was located just down the road, about a two minute walk, from my whale watching tour with Orca Spirit Adventures. It was also super close to the Clipper ferry dock that would take me back to Seattle.
I couldn’t have asked for a better location for accommodation during my stay. I like being a little off the main drag when I’m in a new city and this was the perfect spot for that.
There’s not much to complain about with a hotel that provides guests with a built in apartment. It was so nice making my own coffee and relaxing on the breezy balcony in the mornings, the radio playing in the background.
I found The Oswego Hotel to be excellent from a business mindset. The Wi-Fi was spot-on and there were plenty of spaces to work in the room (and on the balcony). It was also a quiet hotel, which goes such a long way in making for a relaxing and ideal place to get work done.
Other bonus amenities at the hotel included an in-room spa and dinning service for an extra price, a free fitness center, and laundry facilities. The Oswego Hotel is also pet-friendly, including options for pet beds, designer bowls, recommendations for nearby dog parks, and local organic dog treats for pet owners.
Finally, The Oswego Hotel has its own in-house restaurant for weary travelers looking for a hearty meal, called O Bistro. I didn’t have a chance to try the bistro out myself this trip, but the staff I ran into were friendly, the food smelled good, and they have Jazz Wednesdays. Sounds like just the right amount of class to me!
There’s not much that I didn’t like about The Oswego Hotel – the rooms were spotless, the staff friendly and welcoming, and the apartment-like room set-up ideal.
Oswego is modern without being pretentious, clean without being sterile, in a perfect location without being in the midst of busy city life, and has an underlying character that makes it stand out from traditional hotels. I especially loved the punny signs that I found every time I was in the elevator. Classic.
On top of that, The Oswego Hotel is urban and with the times, somehow catering to both the well-off older couples or business folks and the younger generation of travelers. They’re LGBT friendly, long-term stays friendly, pet friendly, and environmentally friendly. So, pretty much across the board friendly, which is exactly what I love to come across in the hospitality industry.
Related: My First Impressions of Victoria
The only con I could think of about the hotel is the fact that parking isn’t free, it’s $15 a night or $20 for valet. This didn’t affect my stay at all since I took the ferry over without a car, but it could add on an unwanted expense to certain guests who don’t know about it.
The one thing I do like about the parking though, is if you have a hybrid environmentally friendly vehicle, your parking fee gets waived.
I would without a doubt stay at The Oswego Hotel when I visit Victoria next. The hotel understands the best parts of hospitality and shows their guests a good stay with the generous and welcoming nature of the staff and property. The amenities and the location were exactly what I needed on this trip, which only added to my fondness for the accommodation.
I would say this hotel is especially great for couples who want a romantic place to stay (dusk walks to Fisherman’s Wharf anyone?), business folks – both for corporate and young entrepreneurs, and anyone who wants to feel like they’ve found a home away from home in their travels.
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