Welcome to Dear Abigail! Where we answer common questions about Abigail's, tell stories, share recipes, offer advice on what to see, places to visit, new "hot spots" and how to experience Victoria from a local perspective.
Dear Abigail: Is the hotel haunted?
Sadly, no. While the hotel’s heritage designation and stately exterior might imply otherwise, Abigail’s is, to our knowledge and experience, not haunted….despite the odd drier spontaneously starting in the middle of the night, the occasional flicker of lights and the odd sensation of being watched (by the caring eyes of the "Abigail" portrait behind the Front Desk). On second thought, the answer to this question seems to depend on which staff member you ask!
Dear Abigail: Where do you get your sheets?
It's a question we receive daily from guests, after a blissful night’s sleep in one of our luxurious beds. We order our sheets from Comphy Co, eco-friendly micro-fiber bedding with the look and feel of 600 count cotton, but dry quickly, do not require ironing and are guaranteed against staining for 300 washes. A little slice of heaven!
Available for purchase in our Gift Shop
Or order directly from their website, they come in all sizes and a variety of colours.
Dear Abigail: Is Abigail's a Hotel or a Bed and Breakfast?
Well the short answer to that is both, however we categorize ourselves as a "boutique bed and breakfast hotel".
The definition of a Hotel is "an establishment providing accommodations, meals, and other services for travelers and tourists" - check
The definition of a Bed and Breakfast is "a guest house or small hotel offering sleeping accommodations and a morning meal" - check
The definition of a Boutique Hotel is "a small stylish hotel, typically one situated in a fashionable urban location" - check
Yet we're our own unique version of each. We're not the typical Hotel with multiple restaurants, bars, fitness facilities, cookie cutter rooms and impersonal service. We're not your typical Bed and Breakfast located in a private home with only a few rooms, one communal breakfast table and one set breakfast seating. We're not the new, trendy Boutique Hotel with the latest "in-trend" furnishings, nouvelle cuisine restaurant, obscure in-room amenities such as oxygen in a can or the next generation of filtered water.
What you will receive when you stay at Abigail's is old-world charm and sophisticated elegance in a warm and intimate setting. Our amenities are luxurious in design yet modern in function. The décor has been elegantly and professionally designed, with a unique style to every room. Individual wireless routers, flat screen TV's and iPod docking alarms rival the most modern hotels. And most importantly, our exceptional service and absolute commitment to guest satisfaction make us a world-class hotel experience. We do not just sell hotel rooms we sell “dedicated personal service”..... and the food isn't bad either!
Welcome to Chef's Corner! A page dedicated to all things culinary at Abigail's, where we'll answer common guest questions, share recipes and stories about our Chef's.
Executive Chef Josh Massey
Beginning his foray into cooking 22 years ago, our very own Executive Chef Josh Massey is the heart of Abigail’s kitchen! Since doing his apprenticeship in Pastry at the Sooke Harbour House, just 45 minutes from Victoria, Chef Massey has thrived in a variety of kitchens with various dining styles. From French-inspired cuisine, Pastry, Sushi and Japanese fare he utilizes these influences to wow our guests with his inspired, wholesome and delicious recipes. Chef Massey has brought a fresh, creative and colourful element to our breakfast room, and his coveted afternoon hors d'oeuvres will leave you speechless. An Abigail’s favourite is Chef Massey’s Du Puy Lentils, topped with a poached egg, grilled kale, smoked paprika aioli and a parmesan crisp! Yum!
Chef Josh's Herbed Focaccia Bread
One of Chef Josh's more complicated recipes, this bread is absolutely worth the effort. Use as a base for pizza, or enjoy with classic Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar, this Focaccia is to die for!
1 Cup White Flour
2/3 Cup Warm Water
1 Tbsp Yeast
Hydrate the yeast with the first amount of water; here you'll be making a sponge. Mix the ingredients together with a spoon. Cover and then let sit, chilled, overnight or up to eight hours.
2 1/2 Cup Flour
1 2/3 Warm Water
1 Tbsp Yeast
1 Tbsp Salt
2 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
2 Tbsp Rosemary and Coarse Salt to finish
Mix remaining flour, water and yeast with the initial mixture. Knead until blended, and allow to rest in its bowl. Heavily oil a 9x13 inch baking sheet. Roll dough out and stretch into a rectangle to fit the pan, and allow it to rise until it doubles in thickness. Top with remaining oil, and with your fingertips poke holes down into dough at regular intervals, sprinkle the rosemary and salt. Bake at 400 degrees F for 20 minutes.
Chef Josh’s Champagne Lemon Verbena Vinaigrette
A favourite here at Abigail's, we love this aromatic dressing that’s quick to whip up, and great on any salad! Chef Josh features this lovely dressing for our evening Hors d'oeuvres; Wild Arugula Salad topped with Strawberries, Shaved Fennel and Pumpkin Seeds!
Champagne Lemon Verbena Vinaigrette
¾ Cup Grape Seed Oil
¼ Cup Champagne Vinegar
¼ Cup Apple Juice
¼ Cup Champagne
2 ½ Tbsp Honey
1 ½ Tbsp Dijon Mustard
¼ Cup Loosely packed Lemon Verbena leaves
Salt and Pepper to taste
Place all ingredients in a blender bowl except for the oil. With blender on medium speed drizzle the oil in. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Chef Josh's Black Bean & Avocado Salad
Spring is in the air! With a change in season comes a change in dining, and here at Abigail’s we’re more than excited for the upcoming summer. Chef Josh is finding some seasonal inspiration with some exciting fresh ingredients as we head into warmer weather. This is his zesty Black Bean and Avocado Salad; a favourite here at Abigail’s. Enjoy!
3 Cups Cooked, drained & cooled black beans
1 Small Red Onion diced finely
2 Large Tomatoes, seeded and diced small
5 Green Onions, sliced
2 Avocados, diced medium
1/2 Cup Chopped Cilantro
1 Small Cucumber, seeded & diced small
1/4 Cup Lime Juice
3/4 Cup Olive Oil
2Tbsp Smoked Paprika
1 1/2Tbsp Dijon Mustard
Let Onions soak in Lime juice for half an hour. Mix together remaining ingredients and season to taste with Salt and Pepper.
Oatmeal Rasin Apricot Cookies
Chef Josh's mouth watering bites begin as soon as guests enter their room and are treated to his homemade Oatmeal Raisin Apricot Cookies:
1/2 lb Butter
1 cup Sugar
3/4 cup Brown Sugar
1 tbsp Corn Syrup
1/4 tbsp Vanilla
1 1/4 cups of Flour
1/4 tbsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Salt
3 cups Oats
1 1/2 cups Raisins
1/2 chopped Apricots
Cream the butter with the sugar and corn syrup
Add eggs and vanilla until fluffy
Stir in flour, salt and baking soda until well mixed
Fold in oats, raisins and chopped apricots
Spoon onto a baking sheet in "cookie size" lumps
Bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes
Welcome to Abigail’s Victoria Vibe; our guide to help you to find Victoria’s finest local hot spots, and celebrate our city’s best entertainment! We can help you steer clear of crowds, and find the city’s delectable dining secrets, favorite watering holes and much-loved local bands. At Abigail’s, we here to share Victoria’s extraordinary and out of the ordinary!
Saveur – Just outside of Victoria’s China Town, Saveur offers quality French-inspired fine dining in a casual and intimate atmosphere. Award-winning chef, Robert Cassels’s intuitive menu has become a local mecca of impeccable quality fine dining. They offer an ever-changing a la carte menu, and have a renowned Chef’s Tasting Menu, with wine pairings.
Nourish – One of our Chef Josh’s favourites, Nourish Kitchen and Café brings a fresh new take on comfort and quality. The restaurant is located in a charming 1889 heritage house in James Bay, a leisurely 20-minute walk away from our location. With dining rooms throughout the house, each offers a unique experience with all the comforts of fine dining in a homey environment. Pop by for a quick coffee and baked treat from their café, or stay and enjoy a relaxed and elegant meal.
The Drake – For the craft beer enthusiast, this local favourite is a must! Specializing in Pacific North West craft breweries, the Drake offer a comfortable and casual atmosphere that will make you feel right at home. With old-fashioned “counter-service”, don’t be afraid to ask questions – or even ask for a taste! The staff is incredibly knowledgeable and the social setting will have you mingling in this inclusive, warm environment. Drop by for a beer, and stay for a meal - with a creative and locally sourced menu to top it off, this is a spot not to miss!
Northern Quarter – Located in the Hudson district of Victoria, The Norther Quarter has a cool ambiance and a creative menu with a splash of fun. Renowned for Benji’s Trivia Wednesdays, this favourite with the locals is also fantastic for live jazz, and even the occasional karaoke night! Both the bar and dining menu having a BC-first focus, where you’ll find the best of what Vancouver Island has to offer. This creative collaboration of live performance and fine dining will have you coming back for more.
Sen Zushi – Sen Zushi is one of our favourite Sushi Houses here in Victoria. With a convenient proximity to the Abigail’s property, this traditional-contemporary Japanese restaurant will impress even the most refined taste buds.
The Livet – A new edition to Victoria’s dining scene, the Livet opened with a bang, and has continued to impress. Since their opening in August of 2016, Chef Benjamin Berwick and Floor Director Garth Abili bring a fresh take to the traditional table. Featuring a raw-bar and charcoal grill menu, this restaurant satisfies all the senses; with a polished and chic dining room, roof-top patio or creative bar, the Livet caters to all.
With Victoria as the largest city on Vancouver Island, we are lucky to be next door to a myriad of wonderful hiking trails, bike paths, breathtaking waterfront walks and incredible vistas. We love when our guests want to enjoy the island we love so much, and all it has to offer. Feel free to ask our staff about other outdoor adventures. We’ll be happy to share our personal favourites, and give you a host of other ideas.
Thetis Lake Provincial Park- Just a 20 minute drive from Abigail’s, Thetis Lake is a local favourite all year round. With two adjoining lakes, Upper and Lower Thetis, you can enjoy the warm fresh lake water in the summer, and fantastic hiking and running trails throughout the year. Find wildflowers, and experience this incredible and unique Garry Oak ecosystem and Douglas Fir forest. Make your way up Seymour Hill for an incredible panoramic view of the surrounding park, and revel in the environment just minutes from downtown Victoria. For the warmer months, cool off at the beach area; there is washrooms, change rooms and picnic areas that make the prefect lunch spot.
East Sooke Park - Approximately an hour’s drive from Abigail’s, East Sooke Provincial Park is a special place with over 50km of hiking trails to explore. Diverse with wildlife, expect to see periwinkles, seals and even the occasional whale! This park makes a great afternoon trip, with three entrances that allow for easy, medium and difficult terrain for all experience levels. The Pike Road access is the most westerly entrance where you can explore hidden beaches, coves, and the breathtaking views across to Olympic Park in Washington State.
Mid September to late October marks the seasonal hawk migration from the southern tip of Vancouver Island, and during this time you can expect to see a variety of birds making seasonal migration across the Juan De Fuca straight to the Olympic mountains.
Jordan River - A magnet for local surfers, hikers, and campers alike, Jordan River marks the end point of the Juan De Fuca trail, a 47- kilometer hiking trail that skirts the most western beaches and coastal forests of Vancouver Island from Port Renfrew to Jordan River. Well worth the drive alone, Jordan River is 1.5 hours from Abigail’s, and get yourself in the passenger seat to truly enjoy the scenery. Follow the winding Highway 14 up to the Cold Shoulder Cafe for great coffee and a tasty treat! Just north of Jordan River, explore any number of beaches that will have you at a loss for words. China, Mystic and Bear Beachs are some of our favourites; visit us at the front desk to learn more.
Hike Victoria - HikeVictoria.com has 2 Hikes and 1 Natural Beauty Walk that all offer spectacular views of the ocean, mountains and islands that make up our stunning coastline. Each guided activity includes door to door service from Abigail's Hotel, professional photos, a snack, fruit, water, and a backpack to put it all in. Your guide, Mark Vukobrat, throws in a dash of Vancouver Island's fascinating history which truly gives you an appreciation for the gorgeous scenery along the way. Tours can be scheduled according to each hiker's schedule as there are no set tour times, however advance bookings are recommended.
Exclusive to the Fall Season, Hike Victoria is also offering a Salmon Run Tour through Goldstream Park from November 2nd until Mid-December. The Goldstream Salmon Run is world class, with 3 species of salmon, numbering in the 10's of thousands, that return to the place of their birth. Mother Nature shows you the amazing spectacle of these salmon on their final journey. Learn how it all happens and see it unfold before your eyes! Tours run daily at 9AM and 3PM.
Check out www.HikeVictoria.com for more information!
Afternoon Tea - Victoria's Hidden Gems
Where is the best Afternoon Tea in Victoria?
If you haven’t yet enjoyed the British tradition of Afternoon Tea, also known as High Tea, Victoria arguably offers the most authentic experience outside of England. Throngs of tourists descend on the Fairmont Empress each year to take part in this tradition or even ritual by some travel guidebooks. For some, the experience of sitting in the Empress’ grand tea room, sipping their brand signature tea out of fine china cups, eating finger sandwiches and cakes from silver tiered platters, is one of the main reasons for visiting this beautiful city. By all accounts, it is certainly something to experience at least once. However, if it’s an excellent quality afternoon tea experience you’re seeking, in a less crowded, less tourist driven location, here are a few suggestions “off the beaten path”……where the locals go.
White Heather Tea Room - A 10 minute drive from the hotel in the town of Oak Bay. This tea room offers a traditional high tea experience in an “intimate white linen setting”. They offer the Big Muckle Giant Tea for Two, the Not So Wee Tea for one, The Wee Tea if you’re just looking for an afternoon snack, and a Gluten Free Tea. Not a high tea fan? They also serve a delicious assortment of soups and sandwiches.
Venus Sophia Tea Room - Specializing in Vegetarian Cuisine and located in the heart of Chinatown, it’s an elegant yet eclectic restaurant that celebrates afternoon tea with a modern twist. Delicious scones, warm savouries and signature desserts are served on a three-tiered tray with organic loose leaf tea in mix and match vintage china.
The Teahouse at Abkhazi Garden - Sip tea and dine in a beautiful garden setting, once owned by the Prince and Princess Abkhazi, it’s a stunning alternative to The Butchart Gardens.
Murchie’s Tea and Coffee - A 100 year old, locally owned coffee and tea shop located on Government St. You can pick and choose what you would like for your afternoon tea from a large selection of pastries, buttery scones and cakes, served with fine, fair-trade tea on a silver platter.
Adrienne’s Tea Garden - Located at Mattick’s Farm in Cordova Bay, a scenic 20 minute drive from downtown. Afternoon Tea is served in a lovely farm house which also offers quaint gift shops, a farmers market, local wine shop and a mini golf course.