The tourist mecca of Victoria has always punched above its weight class when it comes to lodging. For the deep-pocketed, the recently refurbished Fairmont Empress, with its primo location, is tough to beat. For architecture buffs, Arthur Erickson’s Inn at Laurel Point is the clear winner. But hidden in plain sight among them is the most quirky, steeped-in-history room you’re likely to find this side of Winnipeg.

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The Union Club of B.C. was founded in 1879 and it’s not hyperbole to say that the province’s future has been frequently charted in its august quarters. As befitting a proper club, they’ve long kept rooms (22 of them) for visiting members and dignitaries, but as use dropped off, the club quietly opened them to the general public, albeit in the most low-key of ways. So, for roughly half of what the neighbouring Empress charges, you can come in through the club’s majestic entryway on Gordon Street and transport yourself back to the birth of B.C.

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The rooms are—thankfully—traditional but modern and the club retains the patina of exclusivity but with a modern civility. It is, simply put, the coolest place to stay in town—just keep it between us, ok?