Abbeymoore Manor, a bed-and-breakfast inn in a 1912 Victorian home, looks like a formal kind of place, with dark polished woodwork, oriental rugs, and other period details.
Yet this Victoria, B.C. B&B, one of the many stately properties in the residential Rockland neighborhood, manages to strike the right balance between beautiful traditional surroundings, efficient service, and a friendly laid-back welcome. I’d even call it Victoria’s friendliest B&B!
Gregarious co-owner Ian MacPhee runs the inn with his wife Anne Mosher and Anne’s daughter Michelle. Ian and Anne both worked in the business world, becoming innkeepers in an abrupt mid-life career change, but they’re natural hosts. They run their inn with businesslike efficiency – e-mailing confirmations promptly, providing ample information about the property (as well as dinner and sightseeing recommendations) at check-in, and following up by e-mail for feedback after your stay – while creating the sociable, welcoming vibe of a stay in their private home.
At Abbeymoore, you can help yourself to coffee, tea, and soft drinks day or night. Browse the inn’s collection of books and magazines. Put your feet up on the coffee table in the spacious living room or lounge on the front porch. And if there’s something special you’d like, whether it’s a dinner reservation, an in-room massage, or just a friendly chat, Ian and Anne will do their best to make it happen.
The five Victorian-style rooms on the second floor are decked out with period furnishings — overstuffed chairs, antique armoires — without being fussy or cluttered. They manage to retain their traditional feel without sacrificing modern conveniences like comfortable beds, plush linens, bedside reading lamps, iPhone/iPod docks, and Wi-Fi, which is available throughout the building. The bathrooms are modern, too, although some are quite petite. Room rates range from $129–169 per night in low season to $199–249 during the summer peak period.
On the lower level, the inn has two contemporary one-bedroom suites with full kitchens. Although they’re technically in the basement, they open onto the garden, giving them plenty of light. They don’t have the same charm as the upstairs rooms, but they would work for independent travelers who want more space and the option to prepare some of your own food. And they have TVs, which the upstairs rooms — for better or worse — currently lack.
When you sit down to the ample breakfast in the window-lined dining room, you can choose to join other guests at a communal table or keep to yourself. Either way, Ian — who typically acts as breakfast host, while Anne does the cooking — will make sure that your juice glass is full, you have a newspaper to browse, and you’ve got the information you need to plan your travel day. And he won’t hesitate to introduce you to other guests if you’re feeling up to a chat.
At Abbeymoore Manor, you can cocoon in your room if you want, particularly if you’re traveling with a special someone. But if you’re staying somewhere this friendly, you might want to head downstairs and make some new pals.
Hotel review by Vancouver-based travel, food, and feature writer Carolyn B. Heller, who also blogs about her culinary adventures at WanderFood. Living room, breakfast room, and exterior photos © Jumping Rocks Photography, courtesy of Abbeymoore Manor. Rose Room photo © Carolyn B. Heller. The Abbeymoore Manor hosted my stay.