Showing posts with label The Union Club of British Columbia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label The Union Club of British Columbia. Show all posts

Saturday, July 28, 2012

WAWeekend: Staying at Spokane’s ‘Living Legend’

Beginning today, our WAWednesday becomes WAWeekend. The focus will continue to be on short getaways and hidden treasurers not far from our Pacific Northwest home. 

WARoadTrip2012 039With our love of old places – the kind where the floors sometimes creak and the wood-frame windows still open - we chose The Spokane Club for our two night stay in Spokane, the second largest city in Washington State.

Like The Union Club of British Columbia, that we told you about last week, this is a private club – its origins dating back to the late 1800’s -- that has opened its guest rooms, The Inn, and athletic facility to the public.

WARoadTrip2012 064The clubhouse, designed by Kirtland Cutter, whose name would become synonymous with Spokane’s Age of Elegance, put us within two blocks of the theatre district, Spokane Falls and its gondola ride, the River Park Square, and the city’s more famous historic hotel, The Davenport.

WARoadTrip2012 072We paid $135 night which included various taxes, and it provided free parking at the Club’s nearby garage, in- room wireless and use of their modern-multi-storied athletic club. 

WARoadTrip2012 071We dined in the Club’s restaurant where we had some of the tastiest food of our entire road trip.  Restaurant ‘regulars’ recommended the Crab Louie – they didn’t steer us wrong.

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The Club’s common areas weren’t as inviting as were those at Victoria B.C.’s Union Club.  But the Spokane  folks were pretty proud of their recent room renovations which included new beds, so they had a bed on display in the middle of the lobby instead of seating.  And their stately old library with a man-sized fireplace was under renovation one day of our stay and reserved for a private party the next. (We did sneak a peek – and that’s Joel standing inside the fireplace.)

If you go: 

WARoadTrip2012 070The Spokane Club Inn, 1002 W. Riverside Avenue, Spokane, WA, 99201, 1-866-599-6674. Two restaurants on-site, one bar, 37 guest rooms, 10 suites.

A quick check of Expedia showed a summer Mon/Tues stay rate at  the Spokane Club to be $95 a night, about $50 a night less than the Davenport.

Tip:  You can book  travel on Expedia, by going through the site that provides rebates and cash back for booking through the site. 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Our Room with a View in Victoria, B.C.

CashmereVictoriaBC 180Psssttt!  We stayed on Victoria’s Inner Harbor in a ‘room with a view’ at a delightful place you’ve probably never noticed.   And that’s because it sits in the shadow of the more well-known Empress Hotel, an icon of the city and its busy harbor.

CashmereVictoriaBC 121We stayed at its lovely next door neighbor, the equally elegant and elderly Union Club of British Columbia.  (That’s our room right under the flag pole as a matter of fact.)

The Club, eh? Doesn’t that mean ‘private’ with membership?  Not necessarily. . .read on:

The Union Club has been in this landmark building for 99 years although the gentlemen’s club was in existence long before that time.  (Ladies have been welcomed as members since the 1990’s). 

CashmereVictoriaBC 125We discovered the Union Club some half dozen years ago and following a delightful stay there, became non-resident members. (I think it was the view - in the photo to the right - to the Inner Harbor from this outside patio that won us over.)

CashmereVictoriaBC 168These days you don’t need be a member to experience the private club life because a portion of the 22-guest rooms that make up the upper two levels of the club are available to the public. (This was our king room without all the fancy doo-dad pillows on the bed.)

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And this was our view. I did a quick check this morning on and and the price for a harbor view room at the Empress Hotel was $414 a night, as compared to this room which was $357 for two nights (Victoria’s hefty tax of 14 percent wasn’t added to either of those rates.)

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It is still a private club at heart though so it may not appeal to everyone.  A dress code applies to all who stay (as in ‘no jeans or shorts’ in common areas) and cell phones are kindly requested to be quieted as well in the common areas, which include an elegant reading room and a cozy library.  (We’ve been known to spend hours in that reading room enjoying any of a number of English, Canadian and American newspapers and some two dozen magazines.)

CashmereVictoriaBC 235There’s no pool or spa, but there is a bar and restaurant . . .some of the best food in Victoria is found in the Union Club restaurant.

A card room and a billiards room harken to the days of old, and still attract a good number of guests. 

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It is a place  where Ladies Nights and Men’s Nights occur with special buffet dinners once each week and on those nights members of the opposite sex are not to be seen in the restaurant or bar, but can dine and socialize on the patio or reading rooms.

CashmereVictoriaBC 233The old carpeted floors creak and oh the stories those rich wood-paneled walls could tell.  Nestling into the green leather chairs with your feet up on the matching ottoman is the perfect cure for weary travel feet.

If you want an out-of-the-ordinary travel experience, The Inn at the Union Club, 805 Gordon St., Victoria, B.C. is our recommendation for the place to stay.

For information or reservations:,, 1-800-808-2218, 250-384-1151, or

Thursday, July 19, 2012

TPThursday: Go North “Young” Woman

We’d decided to do something different for my birthday: stay home.

And we stuck to that plan until 1 p.m. when we did something so spontaneous that we both were still shaking our heads as we stepped ashore in Victoria, British Columbia a few hours later.

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We often describe our travels as going ‘where the winds blow us’ but this one struck with gale force. I’d been working on a blog post and mentioned Victoria . . . an hour later we were packed and in line on the Seattle waterfront ready to board the day's last sailing of the Victoria Clipper, a high speed catamaran that would whisk us off to what has been a three night stay in the “City of Gardens.”

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Victoria, B.C. is at the southern tip of Canada’s Vancouver Island. Cradled between Haro Strait and the Strait of Juan de Fuca, it is 71 miles from Seattle, just under three hours away on The Clipper (which blasts along at 30 knots, or 35 miles an hour).

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Incorporated in 1862 and also celebrating a birthday – its 150th – this year, the city is decked out in its usual summer finery. . .including its trademark hanging baskets. The flower baskets have been a tradition since 1937. There are 1,500 baskets adorning the old-fashioned light posts. (And if you want to replicate those baskets at home, the city’s web site, offers a brochure with instructions.)

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Every street corner is decked out with a garden. This Orca whale topiary sits across the street from the visitor’s center at the Inner Harbor.
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While its Butchart Gardens is the most famous of its gardens there are so many parks (78 in Greater Victoria) that we usually don’t have time to visit Butchart, as was the case again this trip. Our first day was spent strolling through Victoria’s many gardens and parks that are within an easy walk of the Inner Harbor where we were staying.
One such place is  the beautiful lawn of  the iconic  Empress Hotel, pictured above.  We  had a special treat: watching a bride and groom starting a new life together at the lawn’s rose trellis.

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Only a couple blocks from the Inner Harbor, we strolled through the grounds of St. Ann’s Academy National Historic Site (835 Humboldt St., ). Just beyond it is the 25 hectare, or 62-acre Beacon Hill Park which led us to the seafront promenade that stretches for miles along Dallas Road

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We walked nine miles as we explored but a corner of this magnificent city of some 80,000 people but in full disclosure, our long walk was in part to ease the guilt of  the amount of food we had consumed the night before at our favorite restaurant, The Tapa Bar, (620 Trounce Alley, 250-383-0013,  and although we turned down the offer for dessert, the waitress decided my big day shouldn’t go past without. . . .

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That’s it for this week’s Travel Photo Thursday, so head over to Budget Travelers Sandbox for more photos.  I’ll tell you more about the gem of a place - often overlooked by travelers - that we stayed at here in my next post.

For more information on Victoria, B.C.: or the city’s blog  For information on the Victoria Clipper, .


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