by Joanna Nesbit
Tucked away on quiet Quebec Street, just off of Victoria’s Inner Harbour, the four-story Royal Scot Hotel and Suites may look modest and old-school compared to the looming hotels on the waterfront, but for families, this locally owned hotel can’t be beat. The biggest attraction is the large number of suite-style rooms with full kitchens that make city travel with kids a lot more comfortable (and budget-friendly). Add in the quiet location, onsite pool, and game room, and your trip to Victoria is set.
The Royal Scot is conveniently located downtown, just a few minutes’ stroll from the Inner Harbour, parliament buildings, Royal BC Museum, and other attractions. Victoria gets busy, especially in the summer, so ditching the car to explore on foot is the best way to go, and the Royal Scot’s location is perfect. Our family also appreciated retreating back to the hotel after a day of touring with bustling crowds. Besides the quiet, but convenient location, what sets the hotel apart is its friendly, knowledgeable staff, ready to offer recommendations and insider tips to visitors. The hotel also offers a free courtesy shuttle to points of interest downtown.
Our Editor Loves
- Spacious suites with full kitchens
- Indoor heated pool and game room
- Proximity to downtown attractions
- All Inclusive Rates
- Water Sports
- Connecting Rooms
- Family Room 5+
- Free Wi-Fi
- Game Room
- Onsite Dining
Rooms & Rates
For families, the suite-style rooms offer full kitchens that don't cost much more than a standard guestroom. They are available on any floor. Depending on family size, choose from a studio, one-bedroom, or two-bedroom. As a family of four, we did fine in the one-bedroom style because the living room sofa folds out into a queen bed. Note: No ADA-compliant rooms or suites are available.
All the suites have kitchens with full-size refrigerators, stoves, and cookware and dishes for four (studio and one-bedroom) or six (two bedroom), as well as a dinette area with table and chairs. There's also a toaster, microwave, and coffeemaker with complimentary coffee, tea, and cookies. If you're traveling with little ones, ask the front desk for a highchair.
The Studio Suite is not exactly a studio and may be just the ticket for small families. The layout contains a sitting area with a double or queen sofa bed separated by a partition wall to the bedroom with either a queen or double bed; be sure to ask if you want to be assured of a queen bed.
The One-Bedroom Suites are available with either a king, queen, or two twin beds in the bedroom and a queen sofa bed in the living room. For more space, the Manor One-Bedroom Suite offers a larger living room and dining area combined.
The Two-Bedroom Suites offer a king bed in one bedroom and two double beds in the second bedroom and dishes/utensils for six. If you're a family of five or more, you don't necessarily need to upgrade to a two-bedroom unless you want to. The hotel will supply complimentary cribs and cots.
The suites' spacious living rooms come with comfortable lounge chairs, a sofa, LCD TV, and DVD player. The bedrooms also contain TVs. Other complimentary perks include free Wi-Fi, daily newspaper delivery, bathrobes, a hairdryer, and iron/ironing board. The full bathroom has a bathtub and shower.
Standard Guest Rooms
These rooms offer similar perks, such as bathrobes, microwaves, and coffee pots, but don't include a kitchen or dinette. Rooms come equipped with one queen, king, or two queen beds. For families who want to save time and money on dining out, the kitchen suites really are the way to go.
This is a clean, quiet hotel one block from the Black Ball ferry, and close/walking to all downtown Victoria has to offer. We had a studio suite room, which included a full kitchen and living room, in addition to the bedroom and bath. Room was impeccable, kitchen was well stocked. Lots of natural light and cozy feeling. Rooms are rather "grandmotherly" in their decor. And the bed, I think it must've been a full instead of a queen. Didn't get a very good nights sleep as the pillows are also foam. And, the room was WARM. We turned the heat completely off and opened two windows and got out a fan! Seems like the central heat supersedes the temps, as the hallways were broiling. So - all in all a fairly decent stay. Would make sure to choose a king bed next time and maybe take my own pillow?
The hotel is perfectly located, is older but incredibly clean. We stayed in a manor room, one bedroom with a pullout couch and the room was huge and comfortable. I will absolutely be staying here again whenever I return to Victoria.
Indoor Pool and Jacuzzi
During any season, families will love the indoor pool, sauna, and Jacuzzi, open from 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. (adults only from 9 p.m.). Towels and keyed lockers are available in the men's and women's changing rooms. Keep in mind, kids ages 12 and under must be accompanied by an adult.
Billiards and Game room
The game room just around the corner from the pool is stocked with puzzles, board games, books, newspapers, and a TV. Across the hall in the billiards room, teens will enjoy shuffleboard on an official-size board or queuing up the balls for a game of pool. The equipment is free for guests.
The hotel has an onsite restaurant, Jonathan's, located inside and adjacent to the lobby, open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. (The hotel doesn't offer complimentary breakfast.) The inclusive menu features hearty fare, such as omelets, eggs Benedict, and a variety of breakfast specials, as well as sides for smaller appetites.
There's a somewhat limited kids' menu for children 10 and under with items like a grilled cheese sandwich, eggs and pancakes or French toast, bacon or sausage and pancakes or French toast. Lunch and dinner items include salads, burgers, and pasta dishes, as well as seafood and meat entrees. The restaurant is open daily from 7 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. The restaurant also offers room service.
To help you stock your suite kitchen, the hotel shuttle will run you to the nearby Thrifty Foods (about a 10-minute walk if you're inclined) for no fee. You can shop in-store and arrange for same-day delivery to the hotel. Or order online from the hotel website link and have groceries delivered, but keep in mind you need to be onsite to pay for the groceries. The charges cannot be posted to your room account. Of course, you can also drive (we did), but parking is a bit limited so consider shopping off peak hours.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
There's a small exercise room with a treadmill, elliptical trainer, bike, and weight machine.
The hotel offers a small gift shop with original artwork, specialty items, and local and international newspapers. You can also pick up personal items you may have forgotten, and kids will enjoy perusing the Canadian candy not available in the U.S. Aero bars are our kids' favorite!
The gift shop staff will arrange babysitting services for a parent date night.
Take advantage of the hotel's same-day laundry service or use the coin-operated washing machines available on the lower level and manor wing. Pick up change at the front desk and purchase detergent in the gift shop. Laundry bags and pick-up schedules are provided in your room.
Dogs are welcome in one section of the hotel (service dogs are permitted in any room) for a one-time fee of $50. Service dogs are permitted in any room for no fee.
Required documents for entering Canada vary, depending on citizenship and whether traveling by air or land. It's best to bring passports. Children ages 15 and younger may enter with a certified copy of their birth certificate. If traveling with only one parent, kids will also need a consent letter. Read up on rules for entering Canada and re-entering the US before you go.
The Art of Smart Timing
Victoria is considered the banana belt of Canada, and temperatures are mild year-round, so visiting off-season can eliminate the hassle-factor of tourist crowds. But like other areas in the Pacific Northwest, it gets rainy in the winter so be sure to bring rain jackets. Summer days are sunny and rarely exceed 75 degrees. You'll want to layer for cool evenings.
High season runs mid-June into early September. Rates will vary accordingly, but can jump around even in the shoulder season depending on local events. It's best to book reservations in advance. The hotel also offers a few one-night package specials. The Butchart Gardens and Royal BC Museum specials include two tickets to the attractions and include free hotel parking and can generally include children's admission if you ask.
There are a variety of ways to get to Victoria. If you're flying into the region, the two closest international airports are Seattle's Sea-Tac International Airport and Vancouver International, just south of downtown Vancouver. It's possible to fly into Victoria on a seaplane, either Kenmore Air from Seattle or Harbor Air from Vancouver. However, most families will ferry and drive, which we recommend so you can explore the island more fully.
From Seattle, you have several options:
Victoria Clipper. Catch the passenger-only Victoria Clipper from downtown Seattle for a two-hour journey that debarks in downtown Victoria Harbour. Look for package deals on the website.
Black Ball Ferries. From Port Angeles on the Olympic Peninsula (approximately 3 hours from Seattle), sail into Victoria Harbour on the Black Ball car/foot passenger ferry, which docks just a couple blocks from the Royal Scot. Look for package deals on the ferry website that eliminate reservation fees. This ferry option is slightly less expensive than the BC ferries.
Washington State Ferries. Sail from Anacortes on a car/passenger ferry through the San Juan Islands to Sidney, approximately 30 minutes north of Victoria. Reservations recommended.
From Seattle or Vancouver:
BC Ferries. Sail from Tsawwassen (about 3 hours north of Seattle) to Swartz Bay, about 30 minutes north of Victoria. These ferries run every hour, and reservations are recommended, especially during summer. BC ferries are not cheap; be prepared for some sticker shock, but keep in mind the exchange rate.
The hotel courtesy shuttle service operates on a first-come, first-served basis, and runs from the hotel to the downtown core anytime between 7 a.m. and 10:30 p.m., and includes the bus depot, the Clipper and Coho Ferries, as well as float plane docks. Downtown shopping, restaurants and attractions are all within walking distance.
If you have your own vehicle, onsite parking is available for $15 per day. The hotel offers packages that include parking.
For Mom and Dad
The Royal Scot offers in-room spa treatments through Victoria Spa Services daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Services include a Swedish massage, deep tissue massage, facials, manicures/pedicures and more. Contact the front desk to make an appointment.
Try Belville's Watering Hole and Diner, located across the street in the Days Inn, for happy hour (3 to 6 p.m.). Or, if your family wants to dine together, kids are allowed in Belville's until 8 p.m., and then parents can slip back later for a cocktail or highball. The onsite Jonathan's also has a bar.