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.
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
Where is the most romantic restaurant, hippest night club, tastiest "hole in the wall"? Where is the best pub, where do the locals hang out, who makes the best drinks? Where can we listen to live music, best Jazz club, live theatre or music festival?
Well look no further! Abigail's "Victoria Vibe" will connect you to Victoria from a locals perspective. We won't talk about the "tourist trap" on the water, the chain restaurant you can find anywhere or the tourist attraction we all know about. We'll tell you about the "off the beaten path" restaurants and shops, local live theatre in other "hoods" and the unique watering holes.
Are These Restaurants On Your Radar?
There are so many wonderful restaurants to choose from in Victoria, and what makes the decision of where to eat even harder is that there are so many that are exceptional! There are those restaurants that are very well known in the Victoria restaurant scene and those that fly under the radar. Here we have listed those that some may not be as familiar with but are definitely worth a visit and a bite....or two!
OLO Restaurant: While many restaurants boast about their farm-to-table philosophies, OLO executive chef and owner Brad Holmes knows relationships are forged over food. He fills OLO’s kitchen with quality B.C. ingredients, such as island-raised beef, fish plucked straight from nearby waters, and produce tenderly grown by our local farming friends.
Be Love: A full service, modern restaurant serving organic, local, plant based cuisine that is as delicious as it is nourishing and energizing. Be Love's high vibrational food is complimented by an all organic and natural wine list, super-food cocktails, fresh juices, smoothies, and elixirs. Be Love's food is wheat, dairy, gluten, and processed sugar free, and we source almost completely organic ingredients.
Padella: The kitchen, headed by husband and wife Chef team, Kyle Gignac and Zoe O’Doherty, specializes in a modern West Coast take on classic Italian cuisine, prepared with the freshest local and seasonal ingredients. Padella is proud to make all of their pasta & bread, fresh daily.
Rockn' Rolls Sushi: Everything you love about sushi, with a unique modern twist. Chef Sabrina Reis has introduced her unique, modern blend of Brazilian-inspired Japanese fusion to the scenic float home village on Fisherman's Wharf. Rockn' Rolls is proud to be Victoria’s only 100% sustainably and locally sourced sushi restaurant.
Stage: Stage approaches cooking with all of their senses. The final product is a result of their commitment to the process and not simply following a recipe. At Stage, they believe in being as close to the beginning of the process as possible. This foundation and philosophy is what leads them to create as much as possible "in-house". Breads, pastas (including their gnocchi!), stocks, and charcuterie are all made with care and devotion by thier dedicated team.
Tacofino: Tacofino was born out of a desire to create a unique dining experience by offering quality, freshness and affordability with an environmental and nutritional conscience. Their menu is inspired by their world travels, taking the Baja-style taco to another level.
Hike Victoria - Victoria From A New Vantage Point
Victoria is known for it's beautiful architecture, local vendors, and friendly people. What visitors tend to miss out on is the beautiful natural environment that surrounds the city walls. Experience the incredible Natural Beauty of Victoria with a local photographer and long time resident, as he shares with you his favourite vistas and Victoria's hidden gems! 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 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 1PM.
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.