“Boom!” My friend exclaims as he whacks the ball off the tee at Westin Bear Mountain’s Championship Course. For an avid golfer, playing on this epic course is a dream come true and it doesn’t get any better than this, unless you get a hole-in-one on your trip around the greens.

Our Victoria, BC golf adventure has been in the works for some time and finally our schedules aligned along with a lucky dash of sunny early spring skies. We hop on the Victoria Clipper and cruise up to Victoria to spend the weekend testing our metal on some of British Columbia’s finest golf links.

Seattle to Victoria Getaways

Day 1

11:30 pm – Westin Bear Mountain Golf Resort & Spa

A swift three-hour cruise from Seattle along the Salish Sea and we find ourselves in the heart of downtown Victoria. Westin Bear Mountain’s free daily shuttle picks up from the Clipper terminal and following a quick 30-minute drive, we land at the stunning Westin Bear Mountain Resort. Tucked into the side of the mountain itself, the resort has a tranquil, laid-back vibe. Checking into the rustic wood and stone property feels like you have escaped to your friend’s mountain cabin for the weekend, but with ten times the wow factor.

Jaw-dropping views of the property’s two distinct Nicklaus Design golf courses off the hotel’s expansive back balcony leave us anxious to get on the greens. Descending to the lower level, the smell of eucalyptus wafts from the property’s award-winning Sante Spa, which is housed next to the hotel’s well-stocked Golf Shop. The ambiance of the property is the epitome of what I’ve been looking for, relaxation and a retreat from everyday life.

1:15 pm – Tee Off on the Par 71 Valley Course

Our crew decides to ease back into the swing of things and dust off the sticks with a round on the Jack Nicklaus designed Valley Course. We tee off at the back of the hotel and make our way through acres of pristine forest, all the while soaking in tremendous views of Mt. Baker. With a flatter terrain, generous fairways and fewer bunkers, the course is much easier on us than the property’s sibling Mountain Course.

Scenic views abound on Westin Bear Mountain’s distinctive Valley Course. Photo: Westin Bear Mountain
Scenic views abound on Westin Bear Mountain’s distinctive Valley Course. Photo: Westin Bear Mountain

6:00 pm – Friday Night Flights in the Cellar

Spending the afternoon on the greens has caused us to work up quite a thirst, so we make our way to the hotel’s underground, climate-controlled wine cellar, where we are surrounded by glass cases full of more than 2,000 bottles of the finest wines imaginable. The group grabs a chair around the rich oak table as the sommelier guides us through sipping and savoring four to five New World wines.

Sip and savor award-winning vintages in Westin Bear Mountain’s well-stocked wine cellar. Photo: Westin Bear Mountain
Sip and savor award-winning vintages in Westin Bear Mountain’s well-stocked wine cellar. Photo: Westin Bear Mountain

7:15 pm – Dinner at Jack’s Place

We head off to the neighboring Jack’s Place (the cozy pub is situated off the course’s second green) for dinner and kick back with a plate of classic fish and chips and a frosty, cold Guinness while overlooking the city of Victoria.

10:30 pm – Late Night at the Masters Lounge

The gang ends the night by popping by the Masters Lounge to sip handcrafted signature cocktails combined with a plate of the spiciest wings our crew can handle.

Feast on delicious eats paired with handcrafted cocktails in Westin Bear Mountain’s Masters Lounge. Photo: Westin Bear Mountain
Feast on delicious eats paired with handcrafted cocktails in Westin Bear Mountain’s Masters Lounge. Photo: Westin Bear Mountain

Day 2

7:45 am – Breakfast at Bella

In the morning, it is hard to drag ourselves out of our comfortable beds, but once we are vertical and cleaned up, we head downstairs to grab a quick bite at the hotel’s Bella restaurant. I opt for the West Coast omelet, featuring smoked salmon and soft herbed cheese. It is hearty and delicious and the perfect fuel for a day of adventure.

The popular and rugged Mt. Finlayson towers behind the Mountain Course’s 16th hole. Photo: Westin Bear Mountain
The popular and rugged Mt. Finlayson towers behind the Mountain Course’s 16th hole. Photo: Westin Bear Mountain

9:00 am – Return to the Links for the Par 71 Mountain Course

With so many opportunities for adventure housed in the property’s backyard, we have a tough time deciding whether we want to rent some wheels from the hotel’s bike center to explore the expansive trail system, scale the popular Mt. Finlayson or put our golfing chops to the test on the rugged Mountain Course.

Never ones to shy away from a challenge, we opt to tackle the notoriously difficult Steve and Jack Nicklaus co-designed greens. Set atop of a 1,100-foot mountain, it is far more challenging than the Valley Course. Watch out for the 10th hole; surrounded by water, it can make or break your round and is enough to make a grown man cry.

Enjoy spicy Latin flavors and relaxed, colorful vibes at Fuego in old town.

1:45 pm –  Lunch at Fuego Old Town Eatery

We catch the Bear Mountain shuttle back to Victoria and a recommendation from a friend lands us at Fuego Old Town Eatery to sample their chicken enchiladas paired with their signature hot sauce. After combing through the dessert menu, I couldn’t leave without sampling the fresh-from-the-oven cinnamon and sugar encrusted churros. Dipped in hot chocolate sauce, they are simply amazing.

The Victoria Clipper IV cruises smoothly through the Inner Harbour. Photo: Kusum Basavaraju
The Victoria Clipper IV cruises smoothly through the Inner Harbour. Photo: Kusum Basavaraju

4:00 pm – Clipper Victoria Terminal

Before we know it is time to return our rental and make our way back to the Victoria Clipper terminal for the trip home. Camera full of images of good times, we relax in our comfy seats and catch one final spectacular view – the sun filling the sky with an orange and golden glow, before it drops below the horizon.

The sun dips behind the horizon in a blaze of yellows, oranges and pinks. Photo: Lucas Anderson
The sun dips behind the horizon in a blaze of yellows, oranges and pinks. Photo: Lucas Anderson

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Feature Photo: Westin Bear Mountain Resort & Spa