The party streamers from Victoria British Columbia’s annual summer Pride Parade might be tucked away now that the party’s over but the bright candy colors, vintage vinyl hits, and retro fun are a year-round thing at one local hotel called The Hotel Zed (the Canadian pronunciation for the letter Z).
The hotel which is part of a locally-owned family business Accent Inns with properties in B.C., espouses to showcase sixties and seventies stuff that once ruled households across America.
Pet friendly, motor cycle friendly, family friendly yet it brings in the business travel guests too with its meeting room.
Here you’ll step back in time at the three-story roadside motel and start to snap Insta-hits. There’s the living room lobby, the ping pong table in the basement, the typewriters, the rotary phones, even LPs from yesteryear.
No wonder this local hotel gem has been deemed one of the world’s most Instagrammable hotels. There’s a backdrop ready to be snapped.
Now why should you stay?
Hotel Zed Highlights
Hotel Zed is for folks who don’t take themselves too seriously and want to kick back and have fun. It’s the hotel where play and hip go together like Fred and Ginger.
The play happens at Hotel Zed’s “ground zero” in a stand alone building that looks more akin to an old-fashioned diner with its huge windows facing the street or parking lot. Staff greet and do the check in from this perch but you may not want to get to your room so fast. The reception overlooks the living room lobby lounge laden in kitsch and funky décor.
Guests can channel a Jack Kerouac stoop, shoulders hunched over a typewriter typing a letter back home. Pluck a record from the vinyl heap and throw on a tune, maybe from the seventies disco days. Crash on a couch and play a board game in the lobby or people watch as guests arrive with skateboards or bike helmets. The property offers free bike and skateboard rentals.
The rooms have their own splashy character. Find an industrial era desk from the Mad Men days and go for the rotary phone to hear the incessant buzz it makes before you dial. Can’t figure out how to dial out? There’s a step-by-step rotary phone manual pinned on the room bulletin board.
The 62-room boutique hotel has seven categories, giving plenty of choices in this retro-chic market from Sweet Suite with its 3 large beds good for a family to the Cottage, a private 1920s era cottage with period decor.
For the penny pincher go for the Bachelor Pad, the more affordable choice in a compact space that’s got the bare essentials like stand up shower and a queen bed. The “King for a Night” is what it sounds like – sleep in a bigger room with a king-sized bed. The ZedStream, of which there is only one, is a retrofitted vintage Airstream trailer tucked away in a private garden area. This overnighter has an outdoor deck, a queen bed, a couch that doubles as a bed, two TVs (a 40 inch and a 32 inch), and a spacious shower plus a mini fridge.
All rooms have a rotary phone, retro alarm clock, comic books, a yo-yo and a 40 inch LED TV.
Free is the operative word here. You get free coffee around the clock in the lobby, fast and free Wi-Fi and complimentary comic books and yo-yos in each room. For transport, there is a a free shuttle to downtown in a retro VW ride, complimentary use of cute bikes for kids and tandems, plus free longboards and skateboards to get you to the nearest trail called the Galloping Goose cycling trail. This trail passes through parks crossing the gorge waterway into downtown Victoria in either a 10 minute bike ride or 20 minute walk.
Amenities are many. Head downstairs to the old fashioned rec room where you can don the sunglasses to shield from all the bright wall and ceiling colors. A rainbow of fun, the Ping Pong Lounge sports two tables and has defunct 80s Baywatch streaming in a loop.
On hot sunny days, the Zedinator a 3-story slide in bubble-gum pink swirls you into a pool that’s a must-do. The year-round pool has a garage door that closes for the winter keeping swimmers happy rain or shine, cold or hot. It never really gets cold in Victoria because the city is located in a sub Mediterranean climate zone, getting the mildest climate in Canada.
For shopaholics head across the street to Victoria’s Mayfair Shopping Centre mall known for fashion hits. For sightseeing, Hotel Zed is located close to the downtown core accessible by taxi, bike, skateboard or the hotel shuttle.
For sightseeing invest in a Victoria Pass called VISIT. The $30 CDN pass gets you admission to eight heritage, arts, and culture locations. Can’t do it all? Pass it on to a friend then.
There is one restaurant, The Ruby restaurant famous for its slow-roasted rotisserie chicken. The atmosphere is of a mod diner, black and white rules the day there. White subway tiles line the walls staged by a stencil of a chicken while the banquettes are black with tables that can join if necessary.
Open for daily breakfast, lunch on Monday and Tuesday and dinner Wednesday through Sunday.
Victoria might be known for its Britishness – the love of British traditions and all – but this location is spinning a new Victoria-vibe with its edginess that’s filling a hotel space missing before.
You can make your booking at the Hotel Zed website. Room rates are from $179CDN depending on room type and dates. You can also book your stay through Travelocity, Hotels.com or other bookign sites.
Photography by Stephen Smith + supplied.
Ilona Kauremszky was a guest of Hotel Zed which did not approve this editorial.