Naturally, when looking at a place to stay for two nights in Victoria, I decided I wanted the best hotel I could get at the cheapest price I could find. Not knowing Victoria at all, I decided to book the hotel and Victoria Clipper package at the same time. This does give a little bit of a discount over the prices that the hotels would normally charge their walk-up customers.
Many of the hotels that are possible to book through the Victoria Clipper are quite expensive. Sure, they are really nice hotels, but for me, all I really want is a bed, a shower, and to be reasonably close to the attractions I want to visit. It's also kind of nice to have internet access of some sort, but not really that vital. I don't need a huge, complicated meal, or a weight room, or a conference center, or even complicated items from room service. It is nice to stay in a place that has a decent view, however.
The Coast Harbourside is not the cheapest hotel on the Clipper web site that is available for booking with the packages. However, it is one of the less expensive ones. The cheapest hotel you can book through Victoria Clipper is the James Bay Inn, which appears to be a good hotel but when I looked at it it appeared to be further away from the Victoria Clipper ferry terminal than the Coast Harborside, and I wanted something I could walk to quickly if I needed to do so.
Also, the Coast Harbourside appeared to be the cheapest hotel offered on the Victoria Clipper web site that had the chance of having a view. I should have known better than to suspect a budget priced room would have a view out over the water, but it did offer a view south over the street to the Olympic Mountains. However, I needn't have worried about the view, since both nights I was there I arrived late enough at night I didn't really have a chance to look out the window.
Check-in procedures were very easy: I presented by lodging certificate from Victoria Clipper to the hotel management, and they told me the room was ready, even though I arrived at the hotel fairly early in the day (maybe about 10:45 or 11 in the morning). The lady behind the counter told me that this time of year, especially mid-week (I checked in on December 7) the hotel rooms tend to be ready very early in the day, because they simply don't have large numbers of guests.
While I was checking in, I heard someone tell one of the other guests that the price for parking a vehicle in the hotel lot overnight is an additional C$11.90 per night.
After checking in, I asked about making some change. They said the hotel front desk would have no problem changing at least a little American money into Canadian cash, and were willing to give me the $5 Canadian I would need for bus fare to get up to the Butchart Garden and back - which was the only real need I had for Canadian cash on the trip.
I then went up to my room to leave off my stuff - which was my primary reason for coming to the hotel directly from the boat - I didn't want to carry a bunch of heavy stuff around town.
After a short noon nap and getting everything I could out of my backpack, I decided it was time to explore the town and head for the Christmas Lights at the Butchart Garden.
Upon return to the room, I looked at the time the restaurant was open on the sign next to the front desk. That particular sign says the restaurant opens at 7:00. I wanted to be leaving the hotel about then, in order to get to the train station. I found a room service card in the room, and it said that breakfast could be ready by room service starting in time segments that could be marked off. The earliest tiime available was 6:45 to 7. I decided to mark that segment, and put a note on the card that I would be ready for breakfast starting as 6:30, if it was convenient for them to bring it any earlier than 6:45. I then stuck the card on the outside doorknob, as instructed on the card (it must be out there by 2 in the morning for them be able to schedule breakfast that way). And thus I ordered a room service meal for the first time ever.
I was ready by 6:25 the next morning, and decided to sit down and read a little bit. Breakfast arrived at 6:38, which wasn't quite as early as I had hoped but was much earlier than if I had waited until 7 for the restaurant to open (as it turns out, the restaurant actually opens at 6:30, based on the information on the entrance to the restaurant, so I could have done that too if I had only known!). By a little after 7 I was out the door, pretty close to just as I had hoped. It wasn't that much food for the price charged, but at least it was food, and was early enough in the morning that I wouldn't have to find something before getting on the train.
The next night was fairly similar, other than I decided I would explore the town rather than use the room service. After all, the reason to travel is to explore is it not? At this point I should also point out that the hotel does not seem to have wireless internet access in the rooms, but instead provides its own network cable to the socket on the wall by the desk. I wish that more hotels with weak WiFi signals would do it that way! And I didn't even need to bring a network cable with me to use it!
On the second morning I checked out before leaving the hotel, but was able to have my luggage put into storage so that I could pick it up when returning to the Victoria Clipper in the afternoon. After all, once again: why carry a bunch of heavy stuff around with you if you don't have to?
My last visit to the Coast Harbourside was to collect my things in the afternoon, and I found the staff to be quickly and easily available to take care of that transaction as well, and was even offered a free van trip to the Clipper if I wanted to do it that way. I decided against that since it really isn't that far a walk between the two, and though my luggage was heavy I only had a backpack.
Don't get me wrong: this was a wonderful place to stay and I am glad that I did stay here. However, it is a bit much in terms of what I need for my very simple travel methods. Besides, in the middle of winter, it should be possible to find some really good deals, even without booking hotels through the Victoria Clipper. I was able to find one or two such hotels, and unfortunately for my next trip I will probably not be back in this hotel, simply because the time of year I am likely to visit means better deals at two other nearby hotels.
Unique Quality: Features bulk containers for shampoo and body wash in the shower, so that staying here doesn't present one with a whole pile of small disposable containers. , Oddly hand soap is not one of the substances that is available in the bathrooms by bulk container - that comes in regular circular waxed paper packages.
Many of the rooms here seem like they would be spectacular in terms of the views available. Even my street-facing room #501 had just a little bit of an Olympic Mountains view to the south. Further up would have better view, and actual harbor side rooms could probably have a very attractive view, even at night with the habour lights reflecting off the water.
There is a marina here, and it is possible to arrive by your own boat - but coming in from the USA by boat probably introduces a few logistical problems due to customs and border patrol.
There is a swimming pool, with a plastic door that separates this same pool into indoor and outdoor areas, and can be raised up to provide a larger pool.
Free van service to various destinations in the downtown area.
Has staircase that connects hotel entrance to Harbourside paved walkway that runs between the ferry terminals area and Fisherman's Warf Park.
Directions: Their van pickup service is free - if you are too far away to walk, call them to have them come get you! Bus service nearby, but infrequent. Belleville St. -> Quebec St. -> Montreal St. -> Kingston St.