Just 30 minutes north of Victoria, high atop the Malahat Mountain, sits a world renowned resort. “Aerie”, by definition, is the nest of a large bird, such as an eagle, built on a cliff or other high place. A member of Relais & Châteaux, The Aerie Resort is an exclusive Mediterranean-style resort offering 29 luxurious rooms and suites, fine dining, conference and spa facilities to guests year round. This spectacular resort is nestled high above a massive ocean fjord (Saanich Inlet) and perched on the side of Vancouver Island’s coastal mountains.
The resort is surrounded by 85 acres of fabulous gardens and majestic mountainsides, the natural habitat of bald eagles. The Aerie’s exquisite setting, personal elegance and awe-inspiring vistas are simply unforgettable. Its unique location, innovative programs and emphasis on top quality service has established it as one of the finest resorts in the world.
The Aerie has managed to combine the warmth and charm of old world hospitality with very high standards of service excellence. The Aerie has blended intimacy and sophistication to make it a perfect spot for a romantic getaway or a relaxing vacation.
The awards and recognition go on and on and justifiably so. The Aerie has been the recipient of the coveted AAA Four Diamond Awards for the past five years. The Aerie was voted the Number 1 “Top North American Resort” and ranked 34th overall in the “100 Best in the World” in Conde Nast Traveler Magazine’s prestigious 2002 Readers’ Choice Awards.
The splendor of the Malahat inspired the resort’s owner, Maria Schuster, and her family, to design a breathtaking mansion that is reminiscent of those in Southern Europe.
My first visit to the Aerie was years ago, not too long after it had first opened. My wife and I were on a camping trip at Rathtrevor Beach in Parksville when we noticed the signs for the resort and pulled in. We wandered into the resort wearing our dusty shorts and T-shirts from our back-to-nature weekend, but were greeted warmly and asked if we’d like to come into the dining room for lunch. Too embarrassed to enter in our grubs, we said we had just dropped in for a peek. So they asked us if we wanted to look around. They told us to check out any of the rooms with open doors and to enjoy our visit! We were flabbergasted by the sincere hospitality of the staff and thoroughly enjoyed our first self-guided tour.
Ron Kirstein is the owner of a Canadian Travel & Tourism Web site (since 1995). Ron has traveled the length and breadth of Vancouver Island BC Canada in search of adventures; see [http://tourismmall.victoria.bc.ca/travelmagazine]