What attracted me to the Inn at Laurel Point in the beginning was its proximity to the water as well as its unique and distinct Japanese theme and since I first moved to town three years ago, I’ve been to the hotel every year for the annual Christmas Gingerbread display. I’ve also had the buffet brunch at Aura, which was phenomenal and now a close second favorite to the brunch at the Oak Bay Marina.
The visit a month ago, however, was a little different as I sat down for a chat and a personalized tour with Avril Matthews, Director of Sales and Marketing. We started our meeting off at Aura over a cup of coffee, overlooking the Inner Harbour and the property’s grounds.
Even with the rain pouring that day and the restaurant nearly empty, it was still the elegant, warm restaurant I remembered when I had been there last; a perfect blend of black, brown and taupe, a stark contrast to the weather outside.
Avril and I spoke at length about everything from the history of the Inn, how the owners,
Paul and Artie Arsens, had come to own ILP, to the various types of marketing done for the hotel, from PR to social media and tourism publications; even how the hotel and the tourism industry in general had taken a hit in the last year and a half.
I discovered from Avril that the Japanese and First Nations cultures were some of the passions of the owners, Paul and Artie Arsens, who had traveled extensively in Asia as well as through North America and wanted to bring back a piece of their travels to the hotel. Each one of the authentic First Nations pieces that line ILP’s hallways is a personal art gallery, donated to the hotel from the owners.
Though the Arsens have since passed on, their influence in the property’s architecture and décor and their passion for
living sustainably is still a part of ILP today, proven by the hotel’s carbon-neutral status and geo-thermal heating as well as the décor and structure of the rooms themselves.
Next Stop….The Laurel Wing Room
The Laurel Wing is the first room category level for ILP, but you wouldn’t know it walking into the room. The room Avril showed me was bright and airy with plenty of natural light, with beautiful views of the Inner Harbour, with the Fairmont Empress framed in the window. It’s this view in particular, that guests in the past were willing to pay more to get and I can certainly understand why. It’s also the first time that I’ve seen beige as a light color that has the ability to anchor a room rather than a neutral color that washes out the room. The Aveda line of products, one of my favorites, was available in the bathroom, adding a luxurious touch to the rest of the suite.
The Ultimate Luxury…Designed by One of the Greats: The Erickson Wing
My third and final stop was at one of the terrace suites in the Erickson wing, the new(er) addition to the hotel. The
Arsens had contracted the legendary architect Arthur Erickson (also the architect of my alma mater, SFU) to design the new wing during what was probably his business travel days, evidenced by the spacious hallways and rooms in the new wing. The suite Avril showed me had a large terrace balcony and an amazing king-sized bed with the monochrome color scheme of black and white, mixed with a little red, creating an atmosphere of business elegance. The bathroom contained a double vanity, two-person soaker tub, glass shower as well as Molten Brown of London bath products and to top it all off, it was covered in marble. It was by far, one of the nicest bathrooms in a hotel suite that I’d seen outside of Vegas.
My personalized tour at ILP was amazing, but I hope that it doesn’t end there. I believe the hotel stands heads and
shoulders above the competition in everything from the beautiful harbor views to the Zen-like ambience of the Japanese garden that carries over to the luxury suites.
I’d like to be able to return to once again take in the amazing food at Aura and experience the calm and serene atmosphere myself for a special occasion.
Thanks to Avril for the great chat and personalized tour!