Afternoon teas, castle-like homes, and a decidedly British flavor are what Victoria is known for. Exuding a veritable old-world charm, the city sits on the waters of the Salish Sea right across from the state of Washington. What’s more, it boasts excellent seafood, wine, decadent dining, and some of the west coast’s best microbreweries. Aside from its thoroughly British affiliations, Victoria is known to be very gay-friendly. In fact, gay friendly hotels in Victoria today range from world-class brands to small but bespoke boutique hotels that more than welcome LGBTQ travelers with open arms. Additionally, the city has a relatively small but active gay nightlife scene as well as a year-round roster of LGBTQ events. Did you know that Western Canada’s largest gay population lives in this city? Yes! You’ll find them primarily in Commercial Drive and West End.
While Victoria might not have a huge gay scene like Toronto or even Vancouver, LGBTQ people are heartily accepted everywhere. Besides its gay-friendliness, there are many amazing and Top Things To Do In Victoria. These include seeing the majestic Parliament buildings, marveling at the wonder of Miniature World, and walking the charming streets of Cook Street Village. So, what are you waiting for? Here are the top 11 gay friendly hotels in Victoria for your Canadian gay sojourn.
Dashwood Manor Seaside Bed & Breakfast
Dashwood Manor Seaside Bed & Breakfast is easily one of the most charming and quaint gay friendly hotels in Victoria. Sitting in the heart of Cook Street lies a stone’s throw from the wonderful Spiral Beach. In fact, all rooms here boast unforgettable views of the ocean. Set in a 1912 Tudor mansion, this inn is comfortable and convenient for gay travelers since the gay scene downtown is just a five-minute drive.
All splendidly and classically designed rooms here are spacious and will suit LGBTQ travelers with all kinds of budgets. They come with immaculate ensuite bathrooms with bathtubs (a real perk!), hardwood furniture, as well as a spacious sitting area where you can enjoy a cuppa and gorgeous views. Your day begins with a gourmet breakfast in the Buckingham Dining Room. Tuck into baked French toast and sip on local tea while enjoying views of the garden outside and the ocean through large windows.
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The Oswego Hotel
Located in a quiet neighborhood just south of downtown and the gay scene is the four-star gay-friendly Oswego Hotel. This chic, all-suites boutique accommodation is very gay-popular due to its location as well as its digs. Choose from 80 sleek one/two-bedroom suites, all of which are decked out in a white-and-black color scheme. They’re offset by soft neutral hues, walls of windows, and natural stone floors. The look is innately contemporary and airy – very West Coast. Full kitchens ensure that meals aren’t an issue, while balconies offer excellent views of the neighborhood. The best bit? The hotel is exceptionally pet-friendly and offers pup owners walking maps, dog beds, and treats!
Begin your day with a hearty breakfast at the casual bistro, which also serves delicious meals throughout the day. Grab a hot brew from Foglifters Coffee Roasters, which turns into a buzzing bar come evening.
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Villa Marco Polo Inn
Romance is in the air at Villa Marco Polo Inn, one of the loveliest gay friendly hotels in Victoria. The 1923-built boutique B&B was a gift for a young bride and is trendy with LGBTQ couples to celebrate romantic getaways. Everything about this place is vintage and antique and feels like you’re stepping back in time. Think Chinese and Italian ceramics, ornate gold-framed mirrors, and hardwood floors dressed with Persian carpets. And, of course, there’s the Italianate garden with fountains and a reflecting pool – it’s an outdoor sanctuary, really.
Choose from five individually decked-out suites, each of which has a character of its own. If you’re here in winter, the Alexandria is a cozy choice since it has a sitting room by a gas fireplace. Are you on your honeymoon? Go for the Zanzibar suite, which has romantic lighting and a deep-soaking bathtub in the huge gold-and-ivory bathroom. Oh, and it has a Juliette balcony too! Looking to splurge? The third-floor Penthouse Shiraz is right up your alley, with Damascus furniture, Persian décor, and a full balcony with ocean views. Begin your day with sublime multi-course breakfasts, which include a hot savory dish – think scrambled eggs or cheese-and-spinach souffle – muffins, fresh fruit, smoothies, and lemon tart – yum!
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Almost everything in Victoria grew around the Fairmont Empress, one of the most luxurious of Victoria’s hotels. The gay-friendly hotel might be thoroughly modernized now, but it retains all the old elegance and glamor that it was known for. The best bit is that it’s surrounded by some of the city’s best sights so that sightseeing-loving gays will love the location of this hotel. And, of course, the gay scene is right down the street.
A scintillating chandelier with a quarter-of-a-million glittering crystals welcomes you within the lobby, which is the epitome of the Empress’ old-fashioned grandeur. Vintage travel poster art, soft carpets, and light-flooded places are what this hotel is known for. Plus, it boasts a host of amenities, such as a well-equipped fitness center and an indoor pool with a hot tub by the side. A visit to the heavenly Willow Stream spa is highly advised, as it offers a bunch of locally-inspired soothing treatments. A lobby bar serving afternoon tea and a see-and-be-seen restaurant serves all meals, including craft cocktails.
464 rooms and suites not only boast excellent views of the city, harbor, and gardens but are also pleasingly spacious. Moreover, they’re decked out in warm golden hues with color pops of pewter blue, marble bathrooms with deep-soaking tubs, and huge windows that open. It’s worth splurging on the Fairmont Gold Floor, which has additional treats such as access to an excellent terrace, midday snacks, evening cocktail canapés, and complimentary breakfast.
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Magnolia Hotel & Spa
With just 64 rooms, the Magnolia Hotel & Spa is one of the most lavish independent gay friendly hotels in Victoria. A fantastic downtown location close to Victoria’s inner harbor as well as the gay scene is what makes this hotel so gay-popular. Add to that a service-forward approach, and that’s just another reason it’s so hugely popular with LGBTQ travelers.
Sporting traditional but elegant décor, the hotel is unfussy and not overstated with touches such as orchids, gold accents, wood paneling, and vaulted ceilings. A gas fireplace and grey-felt sofas make for a warm lobby lounge, with dramatic curtains adding to the flair. Personalized service and a fitness center aside, the hotel’s highlight is Spa Magnolia, where the signature 90-minute body scrub, massage, and facial is highly recommended. If you’re keen on exploring, the hotel even lends bikes, along with themed, seasonal walking and biking maps for you to explore the city. Finally, the on-site restaurant is a hit with travelers and locals, with the crab, avocado, and egg salad for breakfast especially winning hearts.
Spacious rooms sport multiple textures and patterns, with gold, grey, silver, pearl, and taupe hues. What’s more, the marble bathrooms are modern, and all of them have both showers and tubs, as well as a huge vanity. If you want to splurge, go for the Signature corner suite with a wraparound glass wall and a gas fireplace.
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If you want to get away from the bustle, then Villa Eyrie, which’s a 20-minute drive northwest of Victoria, is perfect for you. Bringing a little bit of Italy to the mountain peaks of Canada with Tuscan-inspired columns, porticos, and wrought-iron railings. Tucked on the Malahat mountainside, this boutique hotel boasts gobsmacking views of Victoria, Vancouver Island, and the Salish Sea. Every bit of the hotel is impressive, especially the Alpina restaurant with its ever-changing menu and breakfast of bacon-filled omelet and pecan and pear-stuffed crepes. What’s also popular is the hotel’s Tuscan Spa, which boasts sublime treatments and panoramic views of the Malahat mountains.
No two suites in the 38-room Villa Eyrie resort look the same. For instance, the Cielo Junior Suite features a fireplace, hand-woven area rugs, hardwood floors, and probably the best views in the place. That said, all rooms have deep-soaking tubs and pillow-top mattresses.
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Located right in the heart of downtown is Hotel Rialto, one of the best gay friendly hotels in Victoria. The hotel is set in a 1911-built heritage structure that’s been completely renovated today. Think contemporary decor, marble fittings, and Italian fresco walls. The 51 rooms and suites at Hotel Rialto feel like a home away from home. Aside from microwaves, fridges, and coffee machines, they also have flatscreen TVs, i-Home docking stations, and full kitchens in the suites. What’s more, no matter which room you choose, the bathrooms are swish with deluxe bespoke toiletries and plush bathrobes.
The rest of the hotel is equally impressive. For instance, guests enjoy access to a well-equipped fitness center that’s not more than two blocks away. What’s more, you also get vouchers for a complimentary cheese plate at the hotel’s award-winning restaurant. Begin your day with a hearty complimentary continental breakfast. Finally, don’t forget to pick up a bottle of wine from downtown Victoria’s largest liquor store, which lies right in the hotel’s lobby.
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Oak Bay Beach Hotel
The Oak Bay Beach Hotel is like a slice of Britain in the heart of Victoria. Housed in a formal English manor house, the hotel sits on the edge of Oak Bay, overlooking the Salish Sea. In fact, the hotel overlooks the Oak Bay Islands Ecological Reserve, which is the migration route of local Orca whales. So, LGBTQ travelers who’re animal lovers, this place is perfect for you.
The 1927-built elegant traditional Manor House is sprinkled with remnants of the past. Think chandeliers in the lobby, exposed-brick fireplaces, and oak-beamed ceilings. The juxtaposition of these traditional elements with mod-cons, such as a small fitness center with yoga and eucalyptus steam rooms, is pleasing, to say the least. Aside from free parking, you also get a host of other all-inclusive extras such as robes, turndown service, and shuttles to Oak Bay village. If that wasn’t enough, you even get entry to the three heated mineral pools with unobstructed views of the Salish Sea. An elegant dining room with sea views serves all meals, as does a lovely cafe. Finally, the place has a theater with TV nights, live performances, and dinner shows.
With just 100 rooms, staying here is as intimate an experience as it can get. Moreover, every room gets a cozy ‘Dream’ bed, along with half or full kitchens and spacious deep-soaking tubs. Amorous additions include views of the sea, balconies, and electric fireplaces. Sigh.
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Inn at Laurel Point
The Inn at Laurel Point is one of the best gay friendly hotels in Victoria for LGBTQ travelers who want that close-up harbor experience. A futuristic-looking glass-and-brick exterior sits two wings at the inn, Laurel and Arthur Erikson. A large public area that houses the hotel’s indoor pool, bar, and restaurants connect both wings, which hold 200 rooms and suites between them. What’s excellent is that all of its rooms boast views of the harbor – after all, that’s what you’re here for. The waterfront restaurant is a great place to begin the day with complimentary breakfast and end it with a romantic meal with harbor views. Finally, the hotel even has a well-equipped fitness center.
Rooms in the Laurel wing are more traditional and expensive, while the ones in the Arthur Erickson Wing are more Zen-like, luxurious, and filled with light. Nevertheless, both kinds of rooms feature colorful Canadian landscapes on the walls, marble bathrooms with deep-soaking tubs and sliding shoji screens, and L’Occitane bath products. While the Laurel rooms feature Juliette balconies, the ones in the other wing are expansive with glass railings. They’re the perfect place to enjoy your morning cup of coffee or evening glass of wine.
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Straddling the border of a heritage B&b and a boutique hotel is Abigail’s Hotel, which sits in a 1930s Tudor mansion just a stone’s throw from the inner harbor. This utterly amorous adults-only hideaway has 23 rooms and is one of the most romantic gay hotels in Victoria. When you arrive, the staff welcomes you with freshly baked cookies while evening appetizers are served in the lobby. The 24-hour library lounge is a lovely place to unwind with a glass of whiskey. The best amenity here is the three-course a la carte breakfast – think fried yams, chicken apple sausage, and spinach frittatas!
There are many kinds of individually decorated rooms here, but they all have fresh flowers and bathrobes. For instance, Emerald and Rose rooms in the separate coach house have relaxing double-sided fireplaces. Emerald rooms also have marble bathrooms and Malin+Goetz bath amenities. On the other hand, the Ruby King rooms in the main house have king beds and claw-foot soaking tubs.
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Swans Brewery, Pub and Hotel
LGBTQ travelers who love characterful stays will love the industrial-style gem that is the Swans Brewery, Pub, and Hotel. One of the unique gay friendly hotels in Victoria, this inn sits in a 1913-built structure and is owned by the University of Victoria. Exuding a distinct hipster vibe, this combination condo hotel and brewpub is the perfect base for solo gay travelers who’ll be staying in Victoria for a while and want to mingle with locals. What’s great about the rooms or suites here is that each of them has a distinct persona. While still being spacious and having mod-cons such as free Wi-Fi, cable TV, and even bathtubs in the chic bathrooms. Finally, they all have exposed brickwork, beamed ceilings, and either split-level lofts or Juliet balconies with inner harbor views.
The rest of the hotel is equally impressive. For instance, the trendy brewpub is very popular with locals and is, in fact, British Columbia’s third oldest with more than 30 draughts on tap. Daily newspapers are available in the lobby.
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Just So You Victoria:
- Victoria is home to PFLAG, which the country’s only national organization helping Canadians who struggle with issues of gender identity and sexual orientation.
Get Some Culture in Victoria:
- Victoria Pride: Held between the last week of June and the first week of July, Victoria’s Pride festivities include not just a vibrant parade, but also two live performances, beer gardens, and a large outdoor festival. Headlining Victoria’s pinnacle event is the Victoria Pride Festival Extravaganza Show which showcases a variety of spectacular performances from local LGBTQ performers.
Best Gay Bars / Clubs in Victoria:
- Paparazzi Nightclub: LGBTQ partiers looking for an upscale experience in Victoria should head to Paparazzi. It not only offers the latest dance music, but also exciting shows and sexy people to party with.
- Hush!: This is one of the city’s biggest disco clubs where everyone goes dancing to rollicking DJ and disco music. Gay, straight, and everybody in between, everyone’s welcome.
- The Vicious Poodle: A new entrant on the gaydar in Victoria, this one is one classy gay bar. Drag shows, beautiful queer people, and drinks galore.
Best Gay Saunas in Victoria:
While there was a gay sauna earlier, Steamworks doesn’t seem to be operating now. However, we’re hoping that just like its neighbor Vancouver, Victoria will up the ante on gay saunas soon enough.