Change the View

Day One:

We were looking forward to a nice relaxing and may I add well deserved stay at our Island resort. After cleaning so hard up to the last day we collapsed in bed at a slightly more reasonable hour than normal to make sure we would get up in time to get ready and drop off the furry “kids” at their own ‘resort’.

Everything went smoothly, we were up and out on schedj and off to the Purrsnickety Inn, a place that a local V.E.T. recommended to us for boarding. The fuzzy ones gave us a good run for our money but they were loaded into their carriers (much to their disgust) and howled the whole way there. This was a HUGE step up from their previous experiences when we boarded them at the V.E.T.’s as this place really was a nice little cat hotel. Lori the very lovely lady who runs the place was super nice, showed us around and the suite they would be staying in and how they all had windows and a common area where she would give them individual love if they wanted while she visited, played, watched TV with them. We knew we had picked a great place right away and we felt better about leaving them there, though we knew they would still be grumpy about not being at home. We also mentioned that Cinnamon was a touch umm high strung and we crossed our fingers that she wouldn’t do anything that would cause her not to be invited back.

We still had plenty of time to kill before our ferry reservation so we drove to nearby the Tsawwassen terminal area and stopped at a local Safeway for supplies and then breakfast at Rotten Ronnie’s. We got to the terminal fairly early (about an hour ahead of the scheduled sailing) but the time went by pretty quickly. We hopped out of the car and walked across to the water to see if there was anything to snag shots of but umm not so much, so we took pictures of each other (how unusual!)
Tom and the ferry ramp to his ear
Tom at the terminal

We were lucky though, the weather was gorgeous, not too unbearably hot and we came prepared for the wind on-board the ferry. I wanted to make sure we got a chance to stand on the deck and take some shots as we passed through the straight. The route takes us through a few of the Gulf Islands and on a nice day you get some really pretty shots.

Our car ended up near the front of the ferry when we got loaded on, and after parking made our way up to a lounge for the first half hour or so of the trip. It was one of the ‘newer’ ferries, not the newest German made ones which I’ve heard are pretty darn nice but still quite nice. This one was different than I remembered as a kid, they were kind of, oh I dunno, buckety and uncomfortable with plastic seats and the like. This one had nice padded seats and lots of leg room which was a pleasant surprise. After a while I got antsy sitting there so I wanted to head on out to the deck and Tom decided to accompany me.

We walked around a bit snapping pictures and then headed up to the sun deck level to get a better vantage point. Unfortunately they don’t let you near the front of the boats anymore, I mean they were never at the tip (so you could play “I’m the King of the World”) but it was fun as a kid to stand near the front and get buffeted by the wind. Years ago when I went to my Sister’s wedding in Nanaimo I had made the mistake of wearing a wrap skirt and a thin button up sweater and walking to the front of the ferry. The wind threw open my skirt and blew open the buttons of my sweater all in front of a few dozen people wee! Nothing like a little spontaneous flashing! I even got applause! This time I wore clothes that would stay on but they had it roped off, Boo!

We still got some nice pics anyway and goofed around as usual.

Ahoy Matey!
Ahoy Matey!

On the ferry to Vancouver Island
A ferry coming the other way.

On the ferry to Vancouver Island
Island lighthouse

Tom has longer arms than me so here is one of his pics of us on the deck..
On the Ferry (By Tom)
(photo by Tom)

On the ferry to Vancouver Island
Tom and the boat wake

Once we got to shore we decided to go grab some lunch and found a White Spot restaurant just off the highway and then headed down to Victoria to have a look around and kill some time before our check-in time. It had been YEARS since I was there… a good 17 or so but I did pretty good remembering where to go to get to the harbour (it is pretty hard to get lost on the peninsula though, even me!) and we found some street parking. We both figured that a short time in the very touristy area would be more than enough for this trip. Neither of us wanted to be around people, we were looking for relaxation so this would be perfect.

We were parked just down the street from the Parliament Buildings so we headed there first and took some pictures.
Parliament  Buildings Victoria, BC

The walked up the street in the inner harbour and towards the Empress Hotel which is a pretty old stone hotel covered in Ivy.

Tom in front of the Empress Hotel, Victoria BC
They really cultivate the whole ‘Wee Britain’ aspect of the city, with lots of hanging flower baskets and stuff. They also have horse draw carriage ride and pedi-cab tours of the area if you are so inclined.
Victoria BC

Victoria BC

We had enough of the area just about the time we had to head back to our parking spot and avoid a ticket. I really don’t care for crowds and really will only put up with them in places like Disneyland ‘n the like and Tom didn’t reapply sunscreen and didn’t want to burn so we called it a day and headed off to find our resort.

Following the directions on “Tom’s vacation Spreadsheet”â„¢ we headed back up the highway and looked for the first junction. Tom said that he thought he had the first direction listed wrong but he thought the rest of the turns were correct. We found the off-ramp easy enough and when we got to the next turn Tom turned left and drove.

And drove.

Oh, and drove some more.

Along the way I noticed a doe (a deer a female deer!) along the side of the road. I shouted out “Oh! Deer, Deer!” which Tom didn’t process as me meaning an actual deer (haha) until a few seconds later. He slowed down juuuuust in case though but the deer seemed unfazed and continued to nosh at the road’s edge barely noticing the cars whizzing by. Once we found ourselves right back at the highway again Tom realized he had to turn around and go back the other way. He said he had a bad feeling we had gone the wrong way when we seemed to be heading more away from where he thought the water would be and the fact that the resort shouldn’t have been THAT far from the first turn off. He knew for sure once he saw the highway to the left of us. We turned back around and found the original road and went the other way. ;)

We followed the rest of the directions and found the resort. We were a bit surprised to see that the road leading up to the resort was kind of residential which seemed a bit odd. We almost missed the sign for the lodge parking lot, it was a tad discreet, not that there was anywhere to go as the end of the road led right to a local ferry dock to Mill Bay. Tom backed up a bit and pulled into the lot. We were trying to figure out where the entrance was to the hotel because the sign seemed to indicate it was the entrance to the restaurant and spa.. we walked in through the door and saw the check in desk.

The lady at the desk was pleasant and offered us a glass of sparkling wine or water (Tom took water, I took they wine) and then she told us to head through the door across the lobby and we would find our room. It almost appeared we were on the main level but because the place is on a hill it actually was the second floor on the water side of the building. We found ourselves outside and our door was the second from the right. We walked in and the room nicely decorated and spacious with a large bathroom. I started snapping some pictures of the room while Tom went out to get our bags.

Brentwood Bay Lodge and Spa, Brentwood Bay Vancouver Island
Nice bed, nicely decorated room

Brentwood Bay Lodge and Spa, Brentwood Bay Vancouver Island
View into the bathroom, there are doors that open up above the jacuzzi tub, I guess so you can soak and enjoy the “view”.

Brentwood Bay Lodge and Spa, Brentwood Bay Vancouver Island
The bathroom (the WC was to the immediate left and the glassed in shower behind it and the jacuzzi to the right)

Everything was going ok until we stepped out onto the balcony and realized that we had pretty much ZERO view, except of the pool which was packed with some very loud people getting drunk whose conversations we could hear very clearly, not to mention those on the patio of the restaurant which was just to our immediate right.

Brentwood Bay Lodge and Spa, Brentwood Bay Vancouver Island

The “view” that was spoken of in the advertising was of a small patch of water and the ferry dock through a bunch of vegetation that could only be seen from the extreme right of the patio. The trees pretty much obscured much of the view (as it were).

Brentwood Bay  Vancouver Island

The pool was small but fairly crowded at pool side and the pool dwellers loved to follow every move we made on the balcony, which personally bugged me though Tom said he didn’t care. I had heard about the lovely private balconies… um not so much in our room anyway. Needless to say I was pretty disappointed as the point of the trip was to spend as much time on the balcony relaxing and enjoying a view. We pretty much did the opposite the whole trip.

Tom hopped in the shower and I decided to take a walk-about. I went over to the pub to see what they served as the room service menu was fairly limited and walk down to the waterfront to see if there was more to see there. Turns out umm no not really. There is NO beach or even an area to walk along the water other than a small path on the bluff that fronts people’s property and was a wee bit scary.

At the water’s edge there was a small piece of dirt where people could launch a kayak off, that would fit maybe two or three people standing up tops, and much to my disgust there were people actually swimming in the water there. There was a visible film of oil and gunk on the water surface, I’m guessing from the ferry, yuck! Scuba diving at least you would have a suit on (apparently this resort is noted for their services of those that dive) but I’m talking kids splashing around.

Brentwood Bay Lodge and Spa, Brentwood Bay Vancouver Island
View of the place from near the ferry.

As you can see you need to either be on the top floor or REALLY far to the other side to get any kind of view

The view was nicer from the side of the road…
Brentwood Bay  Vancouver Island

We had been trying to figure out where we would have dinner than night and just decided to eat at the pub instead of trying to find a decent place without really exploring the area. We found the service and the food kind of lacking which was another let down.

It is too bad because really the place is nice enough, just not to us what it was making itself out to be, a place with great views where adults could relax and unwind. We both agree it would be a nice place to come back to if you are out and about during the day doing the outdoorsy thing (golfing, diving, boating and the like) and then have a nice room to crash in.

We had brought some wine with us so we went back to the room, slipped in our DVD of Sideways that we brought along and capped off the night. The next day we would head out to the Butchart Gardens for a photo-walk.

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