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The value of de-stressing and relaxing in a space that’s not our living room has never been more apparent.
Living through a pandemic and spending almost all of our waking hours in one place has provided us with time to reflect on the things we value most in life, one of which is travel. We now realize that you don’t have to go far to experience a stay that soothes the soul.
Oak Bay, a breathtaking coastal haven on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, is close enough to visit for a weekend wellness getaway but feels as though it’s a million miles from home — in the best way possible — when you arrive.
A total escape from the bustle of daily life in Vancouver, it’s a hidden gem in Victoria that’s waiting to be discovered this summer. As you begin to plan your first, long-awaited trip of the season, we’ve curated a weekend itinerary to consider in Oak Bay.
Check in to bliss
Every wonderful getaway starts after you check-in and place your bags in your room. As soon as you take off your shoes and feel a cozy carpet under your feet, you’re in full vacation mode. And if your room has a breathtaking view, that helps, too.
The boutique Oak Bay Beach Hotel offers a unique vantage point for guests to experience the Pacific Northwest, with ocean view rooms giving you a spectacular look at the Juan de Fuca Strait and the majestic Mount Baker further in the distance. Pro tip: you can still take in the view while soaking in the tub of your spa-inspired bathroom.
Discover pizza perfection
One of the abundant perks of staying at the luxurious Oak Bay Beach Hotel is the fact that you don’t have to leave to find utterly delicious food. There’s a brand new pizza restaurant on site, and it’s the only place you need to go when the craving for handcrafted pie hits — the kind made in a wood stone oven. Take a seat on the FARO patio (or at the tasting bar) and order a classic Margherita pizza plus a glass of local wine for a meal to remember.
Revitalize in mineral pools
After months of working from home in our makeshift office settings, it’s fair to say that most of us need some R&R — stat. As an Oak Bay Beach Hotel guest, you can take advantage of exclusive access to outdoor heated mineral pools. Situated at the edge of the Salish Sea, the view from each of the three pools is sublime — a no-filter-required beauty. There are few places where you can be totally immersed in nature while reaping the benefits of mineral pools for your body and soul, and this is one of them.
Reawaken with bliss
Our idea of the perfect start to the day? Unwinding with a spa treatment. The Boathouse Spa at Oak Bay Beach Hotel is the only oceanfront spa in Victoria, and it has been recognized as one of the best wellness destinations in North America. It’s easy to see why with a treatment list including RMT massages, European facials, body wraps, reflexology, and so much more.
If you’re visiting with your partner, book in for a couples package inclusive of pedicures and Swedish relaxation massages — a real treat for the senses. Upgrade this experience by booking it in their Gazebo with 180-degree views of the Salish Sea. Like the mineral pools, spa facilities are dedicated to guests aged 16 or older.
After visiting the spa, you can continue your wellness journey by taking another dip or two in the mineral pools. By this point, you’ll likely have worked up an appetite, and it’s easy to treat your tastebuds — without ever having to go back up to your room — by ordering from the Boathouse Kitchen & Bar. The year-round poolside bar has a menu full of amazing cocktails (we recommend trying The Blush with elderflower and rosemary), light snacks like freshly-baked muffins, and dishes like ahi poke, seafood salad, and house-made falafel wraps to help you refuel.
End the night snug
When you’ve had your fill of soaking in the mineral pools and return to your room for a shower (and a nap, obviously), you have the option to head to The Snug — Victoria’s oldest neighbourhood pub. This iconic and irresistibly cozy spot has been a staple in the city since 1954, and it’s located right on the Oak Bay Beach Hotel property, which means you only have to go downstairs to order a bevvy at the bar and reflect on a magical day. And if you happen to feel peckish at this point, we suggest trying the mouth-watering Snug Burger and fries starring an angus chuck patty and bacon jam.
Reset with sunrise yoga
Waking up at sunrise may not be something you’re used to, but it’s worth it before you depart from Oak Bay. Reset after a marvellous weekend by joining a sunrise yoga class on the Seaside Gardens Terrace. Led by a yoga instructor with over 10 years of experience, the outdoor classes offer a mix of Hatha and Vinyasa styles suitable for all yogis. Watching the sunrise across the ocean before you will better help you relax, focus on your breath, and work through movements. It’s nothing short of magical.
To start planning your coastal escape, visit the Oak Bay Beach Hotel website and book directly through the hotel’s BC Residents Rate page to save up to 20% on select rooms and receive complimentary self-parking and exclusive access to their heated seaside mineral pools.