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“Disappointed and Poorer” 1 of 5 bubbles
Review of James Bay Inn Hotel, Suites & Cottage

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James Bay Inn Hotel, Suites & Cottage
Ranked #23 of 52 Hotels in Victoria
Certificate of Excellence
Lakewood Pierce County, Washington
Level Contributor
24 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
“Disappointed and Poorer”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 26, 2008

I was disappointed with the hotel and it's procedures. I had made reservations for the James Bay Cottage in August, before I made the reservations for the Clipper. I called again Thanksgiving weekend to re-confirm our stay and was assured that we were correctly listed for the cottage. I had requested that because our son Mark, who would have just celebrated his fortieth birthday, was going to accompany us for this vacation and the suite would be perfect for us.

The inn must have had a better offer – one which would bring them more revenue – because when I signed in I was informed that “some of your party have arrived already... oh, I'm sorry, the cottage is already occupied.” They apologized profusely and when I quoted back my booking number they said, “yes, that is correct, you requested a queen sized bed and a pull-out.” I had never mentioned that combination. Sensing my disappointment (how could they not – I was furious) they offered me adjoining rooms (318 and 320) on the top floor. I guess they thought my unhappiness would abate by the time I hauled all the luggage up three landings but when we arrived at the top we discovered that the shower and toilet facilities were accessed through our room instead of being shared between the two rooms.

Fortunately, the James Bay Inn is old and quaint, similar to many smaller but better hotels we have stayed in Europe. They had a “public bath” down the hall and Mark used that facility during his stay. Unfortunately, that was not the only problem with our rooms. We could not regulate the heat! Both rooms were stifling. There were no handles on the bathroom radiator or the floorboard heater in room 320. There was a control on the radiator in room 318. We opened windows in each room and in the bathroom to cool down the place while we were out discovering Victoria.

Upon our return we found the rooms were still hot. I managed to take a wine opener and force the control off on both heaters of our room but even with the windows open in 4° C we were still quite hot through the night. By the second evening we had the temperature down to normal. Now two of three problems with our stay were “adjusted.”

The last problem was never solved. The seal between the water closet and the commode was failing. Every time you flushed the toilet a trickle of water would flow from the tank over the back of the seat an onto the floor. Folding a towel and laying it between the toilet and the shower stall did prevent one having to step barefoot in water at night. And in the hotel's defense, the maid did change out the floor towel each day. It was not a good solution but all the management would have done is “ apologize profusely” anyway.

The rooms were not yet cleared for occupancy nor had we expected them to be. It was early and we just wanted a place to leave our luggage. One advantage of the James Bay Inn is it's location. Just three blocks behind the BC Parliament, it is within easy walking distance of downtown Victoria. For the next four days we took great advantage of that fact.

  • Liked — Proximity to downtown Victoria
  • Disliked — Could not regulate the temperature in the rooms except by cross ventilation in thirty-four degrees
  • Stayed December 2007, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Check in / front desk
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank cmrcl_pls
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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392 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (87)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
131 reviews
45 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 91 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 24, 2008

I got the JBI bundled with my Clipper reservation, and read reviews here that made me a bit hesitant, but the location and price were right.

Things I found from other reviews that were accurate:

There is no elevator in this property. So if you are above the 1st floor, prepare to lug your luggage. Also, the Lobby itself is up a steep flight of stairs from the street, so really, if you can't climb stairs, go elsewhere.

The building is old. That is part of its charm. The floors are sloped. And the heat is from radiators in the rooms (we did have control of ours).

Additional "cons" to add:

The beds are small. We booked a queen and paid for it (about $10 more than a "full"). But the bed was the size of an American Full. So I asked for a refund of the difference. The guy at the desk said that my bed was a queen, and let me see a room with a full, which did in fact have an even smaller bed. I'm not sure my boyfriend and I could have fit in their "full" sized bed very comfortably.

The shower leaked. It sprayed water at the ceiling. Not a big deal for me, will eventually be a problem for the hotel.

"Pros":

Location, location, location. Easy walk to the inner harbor or to Becon Hill park. Quiet residential street (Emily Carr used to live across the street).

Great morning light through the bay window in our room.

Friendly front desk staff.

Very clean. Freshly painted (still smelled a touch like paint)

Bottom line:
Charming hotel. If you want modern and generic, this is not the place for you. If you want charm and off the beaten path, give it a try. It isn't expensive, and it has a lot to offer.

Stayed March 2008
Helpful?
1 Thank SeattleReebs
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
lower alabama
Level Contributor
62 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 49 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 2, 2008

The price and history of the James Bay Inn attracted me to it. Even though there is no view of the harbor from this hotel it is only a few blocks from the docks and in what appears to bear an historical section of Victoria.

We found the lobby to be very quaint, breakfast at the restaurant very filling and good, and the pub to be friendly and stocked with the local beers.

I would stay there again, but I am a little confused about my room. It was an OK room but the description on the website claimed it to be of Victorian decor. It was anything but. It was more like American 50's. Maybe I signed up for the wrong room.

My visit to James Bay Inn being in Dec. it was quite cold out but not cold in the hotel! The heating is provided by an old radiator system that cannot be adjusted. It was like an oven in the lobby and the room. I am betting in order to get some rooms a little warm the system has to stay full on so those closest to the boiler get the warmest. We solved this problem by opening windows and letting in freezing air all night.

  • Liked — Price
  • Disliked — Hot room
  • Stayed December 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank ejbpesca
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
red deer, ab
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 25, 2007

We had booked our 3 night stay at the James Bay a month in advance. We had a confirmation number, a room number as well as the woman we spoke to. Didn't really matter about the confirmation number, they had given our room away and really didn't care. We needed two beds as we were not a couple. All they had available was a room with one bed for all three nights we were to be there. You should really know that this is not a quaint little hotel. It has 15 step to manuever before you even get to the lobby and no elevator. The rooms are tiny, the floors are sloping, all they have is cold water in the shower and no coffee makers in the room. I wouldn't put my worst enemy in this hotel.

  • Liked — absolutely nothing
  • Disliked — everything
  • Stayed August 2007, traveled with friends
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Check in / front desk
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank jmwRedDeer_Ab
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
9 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 10, 2007

I was recommended the James Bay Inn by a co-worker who just happened by it one day and has stayed there every time they're in Victoria.
I absolutely loved the old charm! I was already forewarned about the history of the James Bay Inn and the hotel being older with every room having a different look depending on what kind of room you requested. We went to Victoria over the Canada Day weekend and really enjoyed our stay at the hotel...the parking was great (free, and just drive right into the lot) and our room (two singles beds) was clean and the beds were really comfortable. It had been a long time since I'd used a key to open a hotel door and at night the light from the hallway shone through a crack in door. The hotel is situated in a quiet residential neighbourhood just blocks from the Parliment Buildings and the downtown inner harbour which made it extremely convienent for everything we wanted to do. Our room was quiet and we heard no street noise, except from the partying people at a nearby home during the midnight hour on Canada day. Our room had a view of the building next door, which wasn't a big problem as I almost never look out the hotel window and rarely spend a ton of time in the room anyhow.
In a nutshell, I would absolutely recommend staying at the James Bay Inn and, in fact, I already have....maybe just not over the Canada Day weekend (I've never seen so many drunk and high teenagers during a fireworks display in my life). However, we felt really safe walking back and forth from the hotel the rest of the time and found the location really convienent for quickly going back to the hotel if needed.
Enjoy your stay there too...just don't expect the Westin.

  • Liked — I loved the old world feel and memories of this grand building...it felt like a home or B & B
  • Disliked — The staff were loud and chatty when cleaning the rooms.
  • Stayed July 2007, traveled on business
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank yvonnechristi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seattle, Washington
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 15, 2007

We booked our trip on the Clipper, for a room at James Bay Saterday and Sunday. We also booked a Hi Tea at the Emperous, and a vistit at the Royal B Musium. We were told that the James Bay had an elavator, this is not true. My friend has had
a stroke and can not climb stares, I have a back injury, and also can not do stares. Up on arrivin,the front steps smelled like wet dag, and had hair all over them. The floors are not even and it was tought for my friend to walk on. This might be a good place for people who are younger and have no health problems. Rooms in this hotell are small, and the beds are crowded together. We had three adults and a child, the room was not
big enough for 4 people. The windows only open 4 inches, and the weather was hot.
The people at the front desk were very nice about the mix up, and we were able to transfer to a hotel that better suite our needs.

Stayed July 2007
Helpful?
2 Thank Blueizs
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
federal way
Level Contributor
50 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 18, 2007

My husband and I stayed at James Bay Inn June 16th and 17th Saturday and Sunday night. We took our car on the Coho Ferry from Pt Angeles to Victoria Saturday morning and I did make reservations on line. We arrived about 10:30 AM and went to our hotel only about 4 or 5 blocks from the ferry teminal, our room was ready so we checked in. The Inn is in a neighborhood of several Victorian homes and B&B's very old English feeling, houses with picket fences and roses spilling over them, beautiful flowers everywhere. There is a flight of stairs to the front door which we didn't find was problem and check in was easy it was great getting our room early. There was another flight of stairs to our room and that was OK, no doorman. The lobby looks like a Victorian parlor lots of wood paneling and velvet furniture. Our room was very spacious we had a big bay window that we were able to open and to let in a breeze it looked onto the front street below and another side window we could open for more fresh air so the room was very bright and airy I don't believe there is any AC, but we didn't need it. The paint was fresh and there was new room furniture nice king size oak bed,matching large dresser,desk and side table and chairs. The bathroom had a nice shower-tub combination new sink and cabinet and a small window that opened . You can tell that the remodeling was the best they could do with an over 100 year old building, the floors had a little slant to them and nice carpeting. I picked the James Bay Inn just for those reasons I wanted the charm of an old inn, and it was super clean and a very comfortalbe bed. There was very little street noise but what was great , you could hear the clip-clop of the horse and carriages going by in front of the Inn. We never moved our car the first day, we were able to walk to the James Bay Tea Room for afternoon tea which was excellent then off to the Royal British Museum about 3 blocks away, we had tickets to see the Titanic the Artifact Exhibition. Next we walked to waterfront went to The Keg for dinner and walked back to our hotel. I will say you should have a good pair of walking shoes to enjoy Victoria. We really liked having a restaurant in the bottom of the Inn they have a full menu for breakfast, lunch, dinner and a lounge for drinks, our breakfast was very good as well as the drinks we had one night. This a great place to stay it makes you feel like you are back in time when Victoria was just like being in England and with the Empress Hotel only a few blocks away you can walk through thier lobby to get the feeling of a grand hotel without the price. Even though there are so many places to chose from in Victoria I would to back again to the James Bay Inn, it gives you the feeling of staying at a quiant B&B with hotel extras.

  • Liked — The Victorian charm, the location and the restaurant
  • Stayed June 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank webfeetmama
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about James Bay Inn Hotel, Suites & Cottage

Property: James Bay Inn Hotel, Suites & Cottage
Address: 270 Government St, Victoria, British Columbia V8V 2L2, Canada
Phone Number:
Location: Canada > British Columbia > Vancouver Island > Victoria Capital Regional District > Victoria
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Suites Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#4 Best Value Hotel in Victoria
#25 Romantic Hotel in Victoria
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — James Bay Inn Hotel, Suites & Cottage 3*
Number of rooms: 45
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located in the Historic district facing lush Beacon Hill Park, a green walk to the ocean and steps to the picturesque Inner Harbour and downtown's shopping and entertainment. Cozy, simple and affordable accommodation is provided in this three story Edwardian architecture with Heritage House and Cottage. Some day-dreaming cases have been reported on sunny balconies with birds tweeting and frequent horse-drawn carriages trotting by. Art-deco Café-restaurant and friendly pub.Free parking. Free Wi-Fi. Free Spirit. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
James Bay Inn Hotel, Suites And Cottage
James Bay Inn Hotel, Suites & Cottage Hotel Victoria
The James Bay Hotel
James Bay Hotel

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