The Chateau Victoria Hotel & Suites is a locally owned and operated hotel that has been located in Downtown Victoria and serving the local community for nearly 50 years. Complete with 176 rooms, a beautiful pool and gym facility, two food and beverage establishments (Clive’s Classic Cocktail Lounge and Vista 18 Restaurant), and some of the most kind and dedicated staff you’ll ever meet, Chateau Victoria is a staple to our community. We sat down with Chantelle Dean, Chateau Victoria’s Sales and Marketing Manager, to learn more about the passion behind the hotel.
Can you give me an introduction to Chateau Victoria?
“We are a locally owned and operated property. We’re nearing our fifty year anniversary, so we’ve been part of the community for quite a long time. We have 176 rooms, most of which are suites, which is a really great thing about the hotel. It was originally built for condos, so the rooms are super spacious and comfortable, which is something people don’t realize on the opposite side of the screen when they’re booking. There’s a lot of room to spread out, and the rooming configurations are really great too, because beds are separated, and families really enjoy being able to shut the door and still be in the same suite as their kids.”
Aside from their spacious rooms, Chateau Victoria has several other amenities that attract guests from all over the world.
“The most beautiful aspect of our hotel is our pool—we have a fabulous skylight pool and gym facilities. And then our crowning jewel, of course, is Vista 18 restaurant. We’re open for breakfast and dinner here and have 360 degree views of the Downtown core and the Inner Harbour, overlooking the Juan de Fuca Strait. The Parliament buildings are just a stone’s throw away, and then we’re overlooking the beautiful Empress as well. We can see boats coming and going, cruise ships, flights taking off—it’s just a wonderful hub of activity. It’s fun to sit and eat your breakfast and watch the business of the city go on underneath us.”
A newer addition to Chateau Victoria is Clive’s Classic Cocktail lounge, located right off their lobby.
“Our second food and beverage establishment is our Clive’s Classic Cocktail lounge. It is one of the most acclaimed cocktail bars in Victoria, and in Canada in fact. Shawn Soole is the manager there and is just doing wonderful stuff. Every time we turn the corner he’s up to something new. It has a great little vibe to end the day with, or start your weekend with—it’s just a fabulous asset to our property. It’s super easy to get in and out of. With Vista 18, there’s a little bit of a grand arrival going up the elevator, but Clive’s is super accessible there on the lobby level.”
What is your role with Chateau Victoria?
“I’m the Sales and Marketing Manager here at Chateau Victoria, so my personal role is managing group activities. The Harbour Room in Vista 18 rents out for private events and private breakfast, lunch, and dinner functions. We have three gorgeous meeting rooms as well that I handle.”
Chantelle explains that she also has a lot of creative projects in her role as well that help tie all of the different components of Chateau Victoria together.
“On the marketing side, I handle pretty much all of the creative for the property. Clive’s is pretty much self-sufficient in terms of how they package their product, but more so it’s my role to tie everything in. I do a lot more marketing on behalf of Vista 18, because it’s a bit more incorporated into our daily operations with the groups that come in—we’re a lot more integrated. And then I package all of that up as a cohesive product to create an impression that’s consistent to our audience and global community.”
What is important to you and your team for your workplace culture?
“Authenticity is probably our biggest value set. It translates in our work culture in that we have a very high retention rate with our staff. Our GM has been here for 31 years…our admin has been here for 26 years, our bellman for 18 years—there’s just a really low turnover rate, and that itself speaks volumes to what we do here.”
In terms of what keeps the amazing Chateau Victoria staff sticking around for so long, Chantelle says it’s all about relationships and being genuine:
“It’s very much a family. It is family owned and operated, but that feel of being valued by the company is truly there. We offer a lot of staff perks and benefits that are very meaningful to our team, and we get together a lot, as much as we can…we’re gathering as a full organization at least twice a year and really coming together to celebrate our successes.”
“I go back to, because we don’t mandate any scripting and we’re not trying to upsell you on whatever frill we have to offer, it just encourages our team to be authentic and be confident in who they are and in their piece of the entire hotel picture.”
Are there any aspects about Chateau Victoria that only the staff or insiders know?
“I think it may be apparent, being that we’re locally owned and operated, the ties to the Piercy family, but that’s probably one of the things that doesn’t get celebrated enough. Guests may not realize there’s such a massive history behind the family and Mr. Piercy, and that big tie in is his passion for community and bringing people together. This hotel is his piece of wanting to make sure that locals were included in the experience of Victoria, that people from up-Island can come and enjoy Victoria while being able to feel like they’re part of the community.”
Do you have any standout stories about your time at Chateau Victoria?
“Glenn Waddingham has been a bellman here collectively for about 18 years, maybe a bit longer. He took a stint away from the hotel and returned because he missed it so much. While we were experiencing slow-downs with COVID, we had to go quite lean with our staff, and Glenn was one of the people who was laid off. But Glenn being a person of service, he wanted something that would keep him busy but still felt like he was paying homage to a place he was missing that he wasn’t able to service directly.”
In comes the truly remarkable lego replica of the Chateau Victoria!
“As a passion project, he decided to expand on a hobby—he’s very well-versed in lego-build—but this was a project that he got into pretty heavily. It took him 18 months to construct.”
What is most remarkable about the project, in Chantelle’s opinion, is the level of detail included in the replica and the lengths Glenn went to to make those details possible.
“When you’re asking what secrets are behind the hotel, it is all shared in that replica. There are mini figures that represent specific staff and our contractors. Our gardener is represented, and she’s got purple gloves that she wears all the time, and Glenn specifically sought out pieces where he could replace the hands of the mini figures to put purple gloves on. It’s just a remarkable amount of detail, care, and attention that went into it. He scoured the hotel, taking about 1100 photographs of every angle, inside and out. He even stood on the rooftop and paid attention to the structures of the radio antennas and the Roger’s tower, and how the Vista 18 sign is lit up from above.”
Chantelle explains that the result of the finished product has been nothing but positive.
“He basically just shared with us that it was coming, and when it arrived in June of 2022, it was just a massive response from everybody. We were just totally blown away. The media attention has gone viral. For something that came from such a humble spot—it was just a piece that he wanted to engineer for his own peace of mind and for keeping his hands busy—it’s a love story.”
What do you think makes Chateau Victoria unique and sets it apart from the competition?
“Hands down, what makes us unique is our people. We really do care with every interaction that we encounter with guests. Even folks just coming in for dinner at Clive’s or Vista 18, it’s a truly genuine experience. The fact that we can be that place for our regional locals to come and feel at home in a city they already are familiar with, but maybe see it from a different perspective, is amazing.”
Chantelle explains that whether it’s recommending a local skateboard shop or the best place in town for margaritas, Chateau Victoria staff are encouraged to give their own personal favourites as recommendations to guests.
“Our front of house staff are constantly giving recommendations as to what their own personal preferences are. Again, this isn’t scripted or commission or kickbacks—our list of recommendations are what we personally truly enjoy eating and being entertained by. That’s really meaningful when you can back it up with your personal touch.”
Chantelle also says that Chateau Victoria’s specific offerings allow staff to connect with guests on a personal level.
“We’re not a luxury property, we don’t have a bunch of thrills, and we keep our offerings pretty streamlined. We are experts in them and it allows us to be very focused on what we do best and that eliminates a lot of the fluff pieces that we can’t execute because we don’t have enough bodies. We do very personalized service, and that’s probably our most unique value—the amount of personalization that we put into every interaction is paramount.”
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
“I think what makes the marriage between Think Local First and Chateau Victoria so unique is that we do get to participate in the local community, that we celebrate everything that makes Victoria unique, and are able to do so with several industries. I think Think Local First is great in that it binds people from different perspectives of business…because it’s so diverse in the membership, you can really ask some out-of-the-box questions and find some unique answers that you wouldn’t necessarily look at in your own line of business. It’s a great way to shoot around some concepts and get some feedback—sort of like your own little focus group to really truly get that feedback from real people.”