Malahat Magnificence
By Jane Cassie
Photos by Brent Cassie
Contributors to Travelink Publishing

It graces the roads with finesse in fine-tuned precision. Offering comfort and luxury hardly matched by any other vehicle, it turns many a head when cruising by. We know it as The Ferrari. Racing car buffs refer to this prestigious and high performance vehicle as 'The Prancing Horse.'

"We wanted to offer our guests a romantic retreat with Ferrari standards, " commented Elaine and Alan Dillabaugh, when revealing how their two-year young B&B acquired its name. It is obvious that Elaine and Alan, with their background in automotive services, know a lot about Ferraris. And after our stay at The Prancing Horse, it was also obvious that they knew a lot about running a top notch B&B.

Prior to checking in, we checked out one of the hikes at nearby Goldstream Provincial Park where trails interlace the dense forests. We admired towering cedars, some that were more than five hundred years old, and many that provide a natural habitat for a varied species of owl and eagle today. Our thirty minute trek upwards led to a historic site, where train trestles straddle the Arbutus Canyon seventy meters above the forest floor. The engines of The Pacific Wilderness Railway have recently been revived, after a sixty-year rest, and the journey from Victoria to the Malahat Summit is once again offered daily to sightseers. Unlike our ascent, the scuttle down the trail was a breeze, and after an informative stop at the park's nature centre, we were off in search of a little pampering for our tired thighs.

Perched at the Malahat's summit, and majestically sequestered behind its white picketed fence, our red-roofed gothic-Victorian destination beckoned a welcome with a view that only soaring eagles usually enjoy. From high above Finlayson Arm, we marveled at the uninterrupted vista that stretched over the unfolding mountains beyond to the snow capped Olympic peaks in the distance.

The property of this B&B is picturesque to a fault. Gnarled arbutus and rock-hugging firs provide a backdrop to colourful gardens where a terraced rockery leads to multi-tiered decks hosting an inviting hot tub and a gazebo. We wandered to this tranquil viewpoint and within meters watched a fawn meander through underbrush and jackrabbits scurry to their burrows.

Hummingbirds, blue jays, doves, quails, and yes, even eagles, were other entertainers while we sat centre stage at this nature lover's lookout.

Enchantment flowed to our room's interior, where pampering amenities promised a romantic stay. Battenburg lace draped softly over our sleigh bed, a bottle of bubbly from our bar fridge waited to be shared after our Jacuzzi's massage, and long stemmed roses were an elegant final touch. We were aware of the extra attention to detail that Elaine and Alan had so graciously provided - right down to the decadent prancing horse-shaped chocolate treat.

Like the other two rooms on the ground floor, our private patio, decked with comfy chairs and boasting that awe-inspiring view, was a favourite reading and writing spot the following day. For a real treat, we highly recommend ascending to the second floor via the turreted oak spiral staircase, where stained glass panes cast shadows onto sunshine yellow walls. Here you will find two spacious luxury suites, complete with fireplaces, oversized window- view whirlpool tubs, and embracing decks to catch the vistas. Dividing the two, is the formal dining room where we enjoyed exquisite full gourmet breakfasts topped off with champagne and freshly squeezed orange juice.

Sharing this same picturesque setting, is the world renowned Aerie Resort, where, thanks to their neighbourly hospitality, Prancing Horse guests are welcomed to utilize the resort's spa and pool pamperings as they please. We meandered through the Aerie's palatial gardens, challenged each other to a playful game of garden chess and then checked out the tennis court.

Sharing this same picturesque setting, is the world renowned Aerie Resort, where, thanks to their neighbourly hospitality, Prancing Horse guests are welcomed to utilize the resort's spa and pool pamperings as they please. We meandered through the Aerie's palatial gardens, challenged each other to a playful game of garden chess and then checked out the tennis court.
Even the heli-pad is available for guests with time restrictions. And for a special occasion, try a dining experience at the Aerie. You won't forget it!

Other activities are plentiful without venturing too far afield. For those who like the brew, seven kilometers down the road in the town of Mill Bay, Merridale Estate Cidery provides opportunities to sip a sample of cider. Made from several apple varieties, this one of a kind estate cidery in BC offers a taste for every palate. If wine is more your thing, Cherry Point Vineyards is in the same vicinity.

As we packed up the car and prepared to depart, we reflected on our stay at this great getaway. Grace, polish, and luxury were the exquisite qualities that came to mind - much like the highly precisioned '86 Ferrari Testarossa that resided in The Prancing Horse B&B garage.



If You Go:

Prancing Horse Retreat
573 Ebadora Lane
P.O. Box 11 Malahat,
Vancouver Island, BC Canada V0R 2L0
Phone: toll free - 1-877--887-8834
Fax: 250-743-9372
Email: phorse@island.com
Web site: www.prancinghorse.com


BC Ferries accommodates from Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay. General information for sailing schedule is 1-888-BCFERRY (223-3779)

Approximately twenty five minutes north of Victoria on Trans Canada Highway #1
Left at Spectacle Lake Provincial Park exit and follow the signs

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