Even the air smells different, fresher. There are no ozone-depleting compounds in this hotel’s HVAC system. Windows are wide open and the flow-through air conditioning is all natural. In the gorgeous three-storey glass atrium and garden, Brugmansia (better known as Angel’s Trumpets) are planted among bromeliads and palm tree-like Cycas revoluta surrounded by fountains, waterfalls and a Koi-stocked ponds. Parkside Victoria Resort & Spa has reclaimed the rare plants from the original tropical and subtropical collections of Victoria, BC’s former Crystal Garden. The lush plants set the tone for a hotel that feels as green as its environmentally-friendly functions.
Throughout, the Parkside has been built according to the LEED Green Building Rating System that ensures everything from internationally accepted sustainable building design and maintenance to a high level of indoor air quality and comfort. While undergoing evaluation in pursuit of LEED Platinum Certification, the Parkside has already received a coveted 5 Green Keys from the Green Key Eco-Rating Program. It’s no surprise. Behind the scenes, there’s a lot more going on than meets guests’ eyes. The Parkside uses a 68,500-gallon storm water tank collection system for non-potable irrigation of the gardens throughout the resort. The atrium is topped with a cooling, light-reflecting green roof.
Suites feature Energy Star appliances and electronics right down to the LCD TVs. Water-saving plumbing fixtures abound: waterless urinals, dual flush toilets, low flow showers and aerated faucets with sensors. Floors and countertops are made of natural limestone, slate, maple, poplar and granite. The fabrics, from almost all carpets, to drapes and wall coverings, are made of low- or non-emitting, non-toxic and recycled materials.
There’s more on the luxury end. The Parkside brings the indoors out onto its rooftop deck with glorious views of the BC Legislature Building and St. Ann’s Academy. Guests here can lounge with a book, barbecue or enjoy a glass of wine in an edible garden of herbs, grapevines, blueberry bushes and apple trees. A dip in the hotel’s ozonated 25-m (82 ft) pool feels like swimming in fresh water. Bonus, too, there’s no chemical odour, since ozonation reduces the odour of the chlorine by about 90 percent.
And all this sustainable function isn’t without beauty. The hotel’s modern linear design recently racked up two gold awards — for site plan and design — from the 2010 American Resort Development Association.
Parkside Victoria Resort & Spa