Skip to content
Ultimate Packing List for Women Get it Now

Oceanview pools at Oak Bay Beach Hotel in Victoria

Why the pools at Oak Bay Beach Hotel make it a gorgeous place to stay in Victoria

Have you ever visited a city mostly because you wanted to stay at a specific hotel? That’s how I ended up in Victoria, British Columbia, lounging serenely in a hot tub overlooking the sea from the pools at Oak Bay Beach Hotel.

Victoria is a historic harbour city with a lot going for it: beautiful gardens, Indigenous art, whale watching tours. But it was one photograph, of the mineral pools at this hotel, aglow with the light of sunrise, that made me really want to detour on my trip to Vancouver and experience the spa at Oak Bay Beach Hotel in Victoria.

What I found was a grand hotel that’s popular with locals for a reason. And a pool experience as good as any I’ve enjoyed in my world travels.

Read on for my honest and in-depth review of Oak Bay Beach Hotel’s spa or jump to prices, hours, etc.

This review of Bay Oak Hotel is based on an independent stay. We were two friends travelling together sharing one room with two beds. For more reviews of the world’s best saunas, hot springs and spas click here!

Disclosure: My blog contains links from Affiliate programmes. At no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase from these links, I earn a small commissionThank you for supporting my work and the site!

Oak Bay Beach Hotel in Victoria was renovated in 2012

Location, location, location

Oak Bay Beach Hotel is an English Manor style hotel and spa overlooking the Salish Sea, a short scenic drive from the centre of Victoria in a leafy suburb. Did I mention the sea?

Our drive along the appropriately named Beach Dr hugged the southeast coast of Vancouver Island, passing pretty look-outs until arriving in a residential area at what looked more like an apartment building than a fancy hotel. (The building does have permanent residences also.)

Upgraded rooms at Oak Bay Beach Hotel in Victoria

A hotel has sat on this property since 1927. The current building was extensively renovated in 2012 and is a mix of historical charm with modern conveniences. Waiting for our room to be ready in the lobby, we gazed out floor-to-ceiling windows across the grounds to the water. No wonder someone built a hotel here. The views are gorgeous.

Our upgraded room was quite close to the spa, with a small courtyard. If you leave the curtains open, you can see the sea from your bed. And even from the bath!

What spa facilities do they have at Oak Bay Beach Hotel?

The hotel has a full-service spa, which we did not use. And an expansive pool area, which we used a lot!

  • Three heated outdoor pools—two hot tubs with jets for lounging and one warm pool for swimming (or also lounging)
  • Eucalyptus-infused sauna (inside spa building)
  • Electric firepits (at night)

If you’re used to hydrotherapy circuits or Nordic spas, that won’t sound like a lot. But this place isn’t about moving from station to station, between hot and cold. It’s about soaking, relaxing, enjoying the perfect view.

Boathouse Spa at Oak Bay Beach Hotel in Victoria

Spa time is every time

Here’s a peeve of mine, as a hotel guest who loves pools. Too often, they open late or close early, or both. At the Oak Bay Beach Hotel, the pools are open from 7am to 11pm!

This means we were able to enjoy the pools three times, at three different times of day, with just one overnight stay. Marvellous.

Soak 1: Afternoon

We started with a late afternoon visit before dinner. The skies, as they often are in this part of the world, were grey and sprinkling rain. No matter, while this weather wasn’t meant for lounging, we just headed straight for the hot tubs. Really nice.

Night swims at the pools at Oak Bay Beach Hotel

Soak 2: Evening

After dinner on the property, we waited for dark to experience the pools under the stars. Again, the weather was a bit blustery, so we didn’t want to hang out around the bonfires. But they cast a nice ambience that could be appreciated from the hot pools. It was much more relaxing not to watch the clock, worrying about closing time.

Soak 3: Morning

Now, what I was most excited for was the morning. The pools at Oak Bay Beach Hotel are positioned to face the sun coming up over the water. Sunrise was scheduled for 5am and I set my alarm to watch it. Sadly, it was cloudy. But that’s nature, and that’s the reality of travel. You can’t be too sad. Especially when you still get to return to the pools when they opened at 7am and enjoy a very quiet morning of bliss before heading back out into the city.

Start saving your ideas

Can you visit the pools at Oak Bay Beach Hotel as a non-guest?

Yes. The hotel offers evening passes to non-guests to access the mineral pools after 5pm. We saw a few lounge chairs in prime locations reserved for these guests. We also met a couple who are local and visit regularly just for this. Access is for ages 16+. It seems that this is only offered during certain months. Check their website.

You can also add pools to any spa service, to access the pools during a day visit. There is a gazebo for massages, including couples massages, overlooking the sea.

Visiting the spa and pools at Oak Bay Beach Hotel in Victoria

Final Impressions

The mineral pools at Oak Bay Beach hotel are worth the drive, and worth the overnight stay.

The facilities themselves are not the most luxurious and could use some upkeep and tweaks. (Several lightbulbs in the pretty lamps were burnt out, the hot tub jet pressure is kind of weak, etc.) We also didn’t receive any menus, or asked if we wanted to order anything, despite food and drink being available. (Staff was friendly, just not that attentive.)

It’s possible they are coasting on the location. Fair enough, the location is amazing! The rooms are also very comfortable, well-thought out. We really appreciated the two super cozy robes in our rooms—when one was wet we had another ready for our second soak.

Given the popularity of cold water therapy, they may want to add some kind of cold shower or plunge pool in the future. But I also didn’t miss it as I lounged lazily in the beautiful hot pools.

Know Before You Go

My last visit was June 2024. Always check their website for latest info and promotions.

Where: The pools at Oak Bay Beach Hotel are at 1175 Beach Dr. in Victoria. It’s about a 15-minute drive from the harbour.

When: Pools are open for guests daily from 7am to 11pm April to September and reduced to a still very civilized 8am to 10pm October to March. The Boathouse Spa hours are 9am to 7pm Sunday to Wednesday and 9am to 9pm Thursday to Saturday.

What to Bring: Swimsuit mandatory, sandals are a good idea. Robes from your room. Water bottle if you prefer but they have water stations near the pools.

How Much: The best way to experience the pools at Oak Bay Beach Hotel is as a guest. Room rates start at around $300/night in low season to $600 and up in high season. Evening pass is $79 when available. Adding two-hour pool access to a spa treatment is $39 Monday to Friday or $64 Weekends and Holidays.

Recommended: A Sauna Hat

Want to upgrade your sauna experience? The Finns will tell you to wear a sauna hat. These simple felt hats help regulate the temperature of your head so you can sweat harder, longer. This style has the traditional grey felt and is stylish for all genders.

Submit Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *