by Bianca Bujan
Surrounded by retro rotary phones, old-school board games, vinyl listening stations, classic comic books, and a rainbow-walled ping pong lounge, you’d think that I’d stepped into an Austin Powers movie, but in fact, I’m exploring Hotel Zed in Victoria for my very first time.
As someone who was born in the (late) 70s, I thought it would be fun to take my kids on a throwback trip to BC’s capital city, where we could disconnect from the distractions of today, and enjoy the simpler pleasures that we basked in back in the day. While at first, the idea of disconnecting from devices and giving in to the joys of yesteryear didn’t quite sit well with my kids, they soon grew to enjoy the adventure.
For our stay, Hotel Zed provided the perfect home base for our retro-themed weekend – the rainbow-coloured motel gives off the ultimate throwback vibe with vintage-themed everything. Stepping into the rooms is like stepping into a time machine (wacky carpets, rotary phones, and vintage filing cabinets set the scene), but there are also subtle touches that give guests the comforts of today (free wifi and flatscreen TVs). For a 70s-style camping vibe, you can also stay in an on-site Airstream trailer, and bright pink and blue vintage VW vans make the perfect shuttle into town if you want to leave your own car behind.
For food, we ended up enjoying most of our meals at The Ruby, an Austin-style breakfast diner featuring classic favourites with a sophisticated twist (the Duck Confit & Waffle was a personal brunch favourite).
For an off-property lunch, we stumbled upon the Interactivity Board Game Cafe – where you can choose from hundreds of board games to play while you nosh on pizza or paninis and sip on homemade thick shakes. Board games from my childhood days, such as Battleship, and Chutes & Ladders, provided hours of family fun.
Keeping with the retro vibe, we headed to Quazar’s Arcade and took turns on the rows of vintage video games found there. My youngest loved playing Mrs. Packman and Fix it Felix, while the older kids had a go on the retro pinball machines. A browse through Cherry Bomb Toys was a retro treat, where we could browse collectible toys that brought us back to our childhood days.
Our groovy getaway was the perfect reminder to take time to unplug and explore familiar places in a whole new light. Show your kids the joys of life in the 70s, and feel like a kid again too.
Note: Due to COVID-19, some offerings may have changed. Be sure to check the business websites before you visit.
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