Premiere Suite’s Office Assistant, Tracy, has just returned from a trip to the Canary Islands! She has nothing but great things to say about this subtropical island oasis off the coast of Africa and has put together a list of her favourite things about this exotic destination. (All things that made travelling 22 hours with a 3 year old worthwhile!)
10 reasons to travel to the Canary Islands:
1. Beach Haven. Las Palmas on Gran Canaria is said to have one of the world’s best city beaches. Playa de Las Canteras’s sweeping golden sand stretches 3.5 km alongside the city’s promenade and is a popular vacation destination for travellers and locals alike.
2. Family Friendly. Spanish people adore kids, and they are welcome everywhere. You will never feel like a prouder parent, the way your children get doted over. With plenty of family-friendly activities offered on the islands (volcanoes, crocodile rescue parks, aquariums, etc), it is not hard to keep your little ones entertained. Although a bucket and a beach full of sand is an easy and inexpensive way to spend the days and a go-to in our family!
3. Endless tapas bar and quaint bistros. Where in many other parts of the world we eat to sustain, the Spanish make dining a lifestyle. Spain produces a pretty fine wine too!
4. Beautiful landscapes. From deserts to beaches, rich farmland to volcanic moonscapes, these islands see it all. I’ve always been a sucker for a good sunset picture!
5. Brush up on your travellers Spanish. Spain is a great place to practice your Spanish! Locals are happy to converse with you in their native tongue or in English, or a combination thereof. No need to feel lacking in your mastery of the language, people seem genuinely happy to accommodate you in any language and appreciate anyone trying, regardless of your skill level.
6. Gluten-free dining. Take it from a celiac who has done a lot of travelling and eaten a lot of salads on said trips. Some places are just easier than others to travel gluten-free. “Sin Gluten” is not only widely understood, but advertised in many restaurants on the Islands. It is not atypical to see a “Cucina Celiaca” and to find menus clearly marked with gluten-free options. Several gluten-free beers are on offer, including Mahou, Daura Damm, and San Miguel. Salud!
7. Great weather. The island’s geographic location, some 4* from the tropic of cancer and very close to the coast of Africa, means a consistently warm & sunny climate where the year-round temperatures only vary 6 degrees and the average temperature is between 18-24 degrees. Ahhhhh….
8. Architecture. More than just a beach destination, the Canary Islands is home to some architectural gems. The Spanish colonial period brought with it the European Gothic and Neoclassical architecture of the time. Traditional Canarian architecture
9. Manchego & more. Cured meats & cheese, and in abundance – what could be better? Manchego, made from sheep milk and Spain’s most famous cheese, is offered at nearly every tapa bar and restaurant. Majorero comes from the island of Fuerteventura and is reputed to be the best goats cheese in the world. It is even protected under European law with Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status. Try it fresh or fried with fruit or honey.
10. Something for everyone. Whether you are interested in nature, history, architecture, finding nightlife, or just simply sunbathing on the beach, these islands have a little something for everyone to enjoy. Which is why we’ll be back.
Victoria is well known for it’s vibrant character, gorgeous views, and temperate weather. But what it’s probably known best for is its stunning gardens. Throughout all of Victoria, you can find hanging flower baskets, beds of pansies and gardenias, as well as our signature English roses. With the sunshine starting to stream in, we thought it would be helpful to compile some of our favourite gardens to explore throughout the city! Next time you feel like you have nothing to do, check out one of these gorgeous sites. You might even learn something!
1) The Butchart Spring Prelude Gardens
While Butchart Gardens is the obvious choice for the #1 spot in Victoria for flowers, we thought that the quiet serenity you can find within the Spring Prelude Gardens should at least be mentioned within the list. With rotating designers and horticulturists, this quaint spot offers a different view from every angle, and is filled with some of your favourite flowers, as well as a few ones you probably have never seen before! Featuring a calming koi-pond, boarded walkways, all while in the comfort of the indoors, this garden is a perfect way to dip into the sweetness of spring.
2) The Abkhazi Garden
Another local favourite, though on a smaller scale, the Abkhazi Gardens offer an intimate, refined garden experience. With sloping rocks, endangered Garry Oaks, and diligence that has kept this beautiful establishment open for 40+ years, this garden is perfect for those who need some time to reflect and enjoy nature. Built by a couple who dedicated their lives to cultivating this 1.6 acre lot, the love and passion that goes into maintaining their work is clear. And if you’re in need of some light refreshment, there is a public teahouse on the grounds as well. Little known, but well-loved, this is a sure-fire way to enjoy your afternoon.
3) Finnerty Gardens
Maintained by the University of Victoria, this garden is a wonderful sprawl to explore. The Finnerty Gardens have over 4,000 different trees and shrubs with more than 1,500 rhododendron and azalea plants, as well as much more. It also offers a self-guided walking tour, if you wish to educate yourself about the beautiful eco-system that uVic has helped create. The Gardens themselves are free, and offer trails, as well as grassy nooks to have a picnic in. This space offers a calm energy to those who visit, and the large grounds allow privacy for reflection. Another classic, West Coast garden to explore.
4) Oak Bay Rose Garden
Built in memory of a rose-expert husband, this beautiful Rose Garden is situated in the heart of scenic Oak Bay. While the gardens themselves are small, treating yourself to a leisurely stroll from Oak Bay Avenue to these beautiful gardens is sure to help make the trip worth it. With coffee shops, art galleries, and a pottery studio open to the public, there is much to do within Oak Bay. After you’re finished exploring, head straight down the avenue to these stunning gardens. With over 500 blooms of many varieties, this idyllic slice of Victoria is sure to bring out the romantic within you!
While there are many stunning gardens in Victoria, these are the ones I found to be most enjoyable. Are you a fan of any other gardens of Victoria? Comment below and tell us, or let us know if you visited any of the gardens mentioned above!
Welcome to The Vogue!
We are so thrilled to add The Vogue to our property portfolio! These residences are located in a beautifully restored heritage building, where you can experience the perfect blend of modern building technologies with the romance of old-world design. Once a landmark hotel in the city, the converted “1892 Victoria Hotel” now boasts elegant & modern interiors with original heritage fir beams, soaring ceilings, and lots of great natural light.
The Vogue is centrally located in Victoria’s Old Town, a vibrant urban community and the hub for shopping, dining, and entertainment. Walk one block in any direction and you will have the city at your fingertips – Johnson Street’s trendy fashion strip, Canada’s oldest Chinatown on Fisgard Street, shops and services along Government & Douglas Street, and the picturesque harbour front just one short block West of your suite!
Additionally, building features a private southwest facing rooftop patio that overlooks the city and enjoys ocean and mountain views. Choose the Vogue residences for the quintessential Victoria experience!
A Christmas Lunch at Spinnakers Brewpub
We are so honoured to share a meal with Spinnakers Brewpub’s very own Paul Hadfield! What began as an unexpected drop-by to say hello and “Merry Christmas”, turned into a lovely afternoon shared with dear friends. We know what it takes to run a business and how just how quickly your days fill up, and that is why this impromptu luncheon was so incredible… not to mention the amazing food the talented chefs prepared for us! (Beat salad -YUM, and oysters-OMG). We very highly recommend this incredible gastro brewpub to any one of our friends, family, and guests – and that’s why we provide a beautiful craft beer and cider to welcome each and every one of our guests to their suites.
To this, we wish everyone who makes Spinnakers so great, a very, very, Merry Christmas!
View of Victoria and the Coho ferry from Spinnakers Brewpub
Premiere Suites Proudly Supports the Victoria Hospitals Foundation at the Visions Gala
This year Premiere Suites Victoria had the pleasure of attending the Visions Gala in support of the Victoria Hospitals Foundation. What an incredible event to attend and support! The Visions Gala has been running for 26 years to raise funds for purchasing equipment for Royal Jubilee and Victoria General Hospitals in Victoria. The aim this year was to raise $635,000 for leading edge cardiac equipment in seven areas of cardiac care.
More than 300 community and health care leaders attended this spectacular event at the Fairmont Empress Hotel, which raised an all-time high of $698,000. The night consisted of an exciting live auction where items up for bid included a nature expedition on Newfoundland, a luxury Hawaiian getaway, an Arizona golf vacation, groceries for a year, and so much more. The silent auction included even more travel, artwork, spa packages, and dining & entertainment. We took advantage of the tablets provided to do our bidding over the dinner hour whilst enjoying a gourmet meal. Although we did not take home any auction items, a couple teddy bears from the bear raffle did find loving homes with us! The bear raffle itself was a significant contributor to the event, collecting $16,000 for the cause!
Our fellow Victorian’s continue to give in a big way. Over the course of this 27 year event, $7.8 million has been raised for our two local hospitals. It is an honour to support an organization that works so hard to improve the health care in our community!
Rachelle Keeley, President of Premiere Suites Victoria
Beverly Booth, Marketing Director for Premiere Suites & Auction Commitee for Victoria Hospitals Foundation
Bev & Tracy with representitive from Platinum Sponsor Coast Capital Savings
Rachelle with Rahim from Max Furniture (our preferred supplier!)
Looking for something fun to do this holiday season? You’re in luck, because there are tons of festive events happening right now and right through to the new year! We have put together a few of our favourite Christmas traditions in Victoria, with a couple few new ones this year! Kick start your holiday spirit with these festive events around Victoria.
The kick-off to the holiday season starts with the Festival of the Trees on November 15th. Vote for your favourite tree and support kids from your community who need the support and care of BC Children’s Hospital. This has become a family tradition for many families in Victoria and runs through the holiday season until January 2nd.
The Magic of Christmas season at Butchart Gardens extends from December 1st – January 6th, and includes traditions such as the ‘Twelve Days of Christmas’ display, Christmas carollers, ice skating, and festive brass bands to get you in the spirit. Make this family friendly, pet friendly event a Christmas tradition of your own.
Christmas at the Market” begins November 25th and runs daily from 11am – 4pm until Christmas Eve. Holiday festivities include gift wrapping and free pictures with Santa on Saturdays, and free cooking demos by Goodlife Fitness at 12pm on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.
Bring the kids to the Island Farms Santa’s Light Parade, Christmas Square activities, live performances & Christmas Tree Light-Up on SAT Nov 25! Enjoy free milk and Christmas cookies after the parade with Santa in Centenial Square. Dont’ forget to bring your donation for the Mustard Seed Food Bank!
This holiday market features over 80 vendors offering locally-made crafts, cards, art, clothing, jewelry, household items, plus winter vegetables, apple cider and much more! December 9th & 10th from 10am – 4pm at the Fairfield Gonzales Community Association buildings (1330 Fairfield Rd), the Garry Oak Room, and the Sir James Douglas School gym.
Feast your eyes on creative inspirations fashioned from gingerbread and other edible components. More than just houses, these are detailed sculptures and unique works of art crafted by professional and amateur chefs. This year’s theme is “Celebrating Canada”. Vote for your favourite with your donation to Habitat for Humanity Victoria. Displayed throughout the Parkside Hotel & Spa’s stunning atrium, this spirt-rousing experience is guaranteed to put you in the holiday spirit! Open to the public daily from November 18th to January 2nd from 9am-9pm.
Watch large commercial trucs festooned with lights parade through the streets of the capital district. Starting at Ogden Point at 5:45pm on December 2nd, the convoy weaves its way through Oak Bay and downtown Victoria before continuing on to View Royal and Langford. People are encouraged to drop off their food donations at designated sites along the route.
With Fall upon us and the time change just around the corner, now is the perfect time to take on new projects that will not only be good for you, for your home, but also for the planet. These 4 DIY’s are presented in an effort to minimize the amount of plastics reaching our oceans. We have all heard about fish and marine animals ingesting micro plastics because they resemble food. Today a new study was released stating that corals actually like the taste of plastic. Yikes. So with that said, roll up your sleeves and try these simple recipes for natural, plastic free options that are good for you and our oceans.
DIY your own cosmetics instead of buying ones in plastic tubes.
Try DIY-ing your shampoo and conditioner instead of buying plastic bottles.
Skip the plastic tube toothpaste and make your own!
Reduce plastic packaging in your cleaning routine by making your own natural cleaners.
Recipes courtesy of http://www.onegreenplanet.org/crushplastic/
We are very excited to announce our new partnership with the Inn at Laurel Point!
You may be wondering why a corporate rental firm would refer their guests to an industry competitor like the Inn at Laurel Point. For us at Premiere Suites Victoria, we do not see accommodation providers as competitors but rather partners in our field. We do know our suites provide a home-like atmosphere that you won’t find in a hotel, yet there are times a hotel stay is exactly what one might need. The Inn at Laurel Point provides a perfect housing solution for our guests that are staying for less than 7 nights, or may just need a few nights accommodation until our extended-stay suites are ready for their arrival. There is so much to love about this gorgeous waterfront property. But what really speaks to us is the assurance that our guests will be well cared for at The Inn. We are especially pleased to provide our discounted corporate rates to our guests, and will even handle the reservation from start to finish. It’s just one of the many services we offer.
Fulll article from Tourism Victoria here
We’re just going to go ahead and say it: September in Victoria is amazing. The weather is gorgeous and summery, the majority of people are back to work and school and there’s still lots going on around the city. For locals, September is a chance to relax, refresh, and enjoy the last weeks of summer before the fall season.
ATTEND RIFFLANDIA FESTIVAL
Celebrating its tenth anniversary from September 14-17, Rifflandia Festival will bring over 150 performances to multiple venues across the city over three days and nights. With artists spanning genres from pop to indie and electronic music, attendees can curate their own festival experience and choose from shows taking place at almost twenty different stages.
While there is ample opportunity to party, Rifflandia is also super family-friendly and welcomes around 800 kids to enjoy the daytime festivities at Royal Athletic Park each year. Don’t be surprised if you see a tiny human riding atop someone’s shoulders wearing a pair of hilariously oversized ear protection.
Get Rifflandia tickets now!
Image: Rifflandia Festival
CELEBRATE CRAFT BEER
Have we mentioned that Victorians like craft beer? On September 8 and 9, the Great Canadian Beer Festival will take over Royal Athletic Park to showcase 78 breweries and 2 cideries, a VIP cask tent, food vendors, live entertainment and more. Get all the details and buy tickets online here.
Image: Great Canadian Beer Festival
INDULGE IN SPECIALTY TEA, WHISKY, AND CHOCOLATE
Victoria’s very own Terroir Tea Salon (recently licensed, and with a charming outdoor courtyard perfect for enjoying a cup of tea) will be hosting a special Tea, Whisky and Chocolate Tasting event on Saturday, September 16. The Whisky Manager at The Strath Liquor Store will serve four single-malt whiskies, while the founder of The Chocolate Project will introduce four bean-to-bar chocolates that are making their Canadian debuts at this event. Served alongside four pure teas selected to highlight aroma and flavour fusions and contrasts, this unique tasting menu will certainly highten the senses. You can register for the event online here.
Images: Terroir Tea Salon
LAST CHANCE TO SEE TERRY FOX & FAMILIES EXHIBIT
September is your last month to see the Terry Fox: Running to the Heart of Canada exhibit at the Royal BC Museum. It’s moving on at the end of the month, so visit now while you still can! The exhibit includes a timeline of Terry’s life, including key moments along the Marathon of Hope, as written by Terry in his own journals. His iconic running shorts, shoes and t-shirts are included in the display, as well as the Ford Econoline van that housed Terry throughout his journey.
While you’re at the museum, make sure to visit the permanent ‘Our Living Languages’ exhibit, which showcases British Columbia’s diverse First Nations Languages. Also on at the museum is special exhibit Family: Bonds & Belonging, which offers a surprising and unconventional look at the broad concept of family through the eyes of Canadians over the past 150 years.
Image: Royal BC Museum
DO FRIDAYS LIKE A LOCAL
Another way to feel like a local during your visit to Victoria is to attend the Bites, Brews, Bands on the Barge event at Odgen Point. Each Friday, people gather on a floating barge at sunset to celebrate the end of another week with food trucks, live music, local craft beer and cider, and great company. It doesn’t get much more Victoria than that. On tap will be beers from Phillips Brewing & Malting Co., Hoyne Brewing, and Driftwood Brewery, and cider from Sea Cider Farm & Ciderhouse.
See the full music lineup schedule here.
Images: The Breakwater Barge
ENJOY SPECIAL FARM-TO-TABLE HARVEST DINNERS
Get dressed up and enjoy a spectacular evening overlooking the Inner Harbour from the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe Resort & Spa on September 16. Supporting the BC Children’s Hospitality, Harvest on the Harbour will include a harvest dinner, dancing and entertainment under the stars – all for a good cause!
You can also indulge in a special Harvest Dinner at Woodwhynn Farms near Brentwood Bay on September 7. This four-course dinner will feature freshly-harvested heirloom fruit and veggies, locally farm-raised poultry, and more – each course paired with tea cocktails by Silk Road Tea.
Image: Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe Resort & Spa
PARTAKE IN THE PGA
If you love golf, September is the right time to plan a visit to Victoria. We’ll be hosting an official PGA Champions Tour event from September 11-17 at the world-class Westin Bear Mountain Golf Resort & Spa. At the Pacific Links Bear Mountain Championship, you will see top golfers including Sir Nick Faldo, John Daly and Tom Lehman compete for a $2.5 million USD prize purse. See available tickets and learn more about the event here.
Image: Bear Mountain Golf Resort
SOAK IN THE SUMMER WEATHER
It’s looking like summer’s planning to stick around for a few more weeks, so now is the time to cross off those last summer bucket list items. Check out our Essential Summer checklist for inspiration – and 9 Can’t-Miss Patios in Victoria so you’ll know the top spots to soak in the summer rays.
Image: Sombrio Beach, photo by Nik Dunn
Cool down this summer with a little help from Spinnakers
It’s all about the little things in life. Like coming home from a long day at the office and cracking a cold one on a hot day. And we’ve had our share of heat this summer, that’s for sure. This is why we treat our hard working guests and tired travellers to a chilled artisan brew, provided by Victoria’s own Spinnakers Brewpub. Spinnakers is the oldest brewpub in Canada, opening for business in 1984. So check into your suite, get comfortable, and be sure to take a peek in your fridge; a chilled libation awaits you!
Here is a sample of Spinnakers feature beer and ciders we provide in each of our rental units:
West Song Wit:
Light, sessionable, and perfect for a hot day. This classic witbier was brewed with coriander, fresh orange zest, and Vancouver Island grown Red Fife wheat. At 4.5% alcohol, this one is light and easy drinking on Victoria’s summer days.
Red Fife Hefeweizen:
Red Fife Wheat, Canada’s first contribution to Slow Food International’s Arc of Taste, incorporated into this classic Bavarian style symbolized brewing in the new world, blending old world techniques with new world opportunities. Craft beer at its finest.
House Dry Apple Cider:
Spinnakers craft ciders are made from freshly pressed 100% BC fruit varietals, each individually fermented and then blended and then back sweetened to taste with freshly pressed juice. This refreshingly dry cider packs a punch at 6.5% alcohol.
VIC Common Amber Lager:
To celebrate their brew #6100 in Roman Numerals – VIC, they offer a new take on a California Common. A “new world” malt forward amber lager featuring delicate caramel notes balanced by moderate bitterness and a light hop character. Enjoy now because this limited edition lager won’t be around forever!