THE best budget bed and breakfast in Canberra? Victor Lodge in Kingston, where the beds were very comfortable and breakfast was served each day in the dining room.
Last spring, I was saddened to learn of the reluctant plans to close Victor Lodge, due to the development of the adjacent car park into a new set of apartments, a construction that would inevitably impact on the Vickers family, who ran Victor Lodge.
And so I was glad to be travelling through Canberra and able to stay one last time before Victor Lodge closed in mid-December.
It is with some mixed feelings that I now write of my experiences, staying many times over many years. The positive memories are tinged with sadness that such an option is no longer available to travellers to Canberra.
It wasn’t just the prime location that made Victor Lodge the best place to stay in Canberra. The basics were all well looked after – the linen was always clean, as were the rooms.
The rooms weren’t large, but neither were they too small. Enough space for built-in wardrobes (with full-length mirrors), simple but sturdy small tables and chairs, practical bedside tables with reading lamps, enough power points and, in most rooms, a small sink. All the rooms upstairs were heated and very cosy on a cold winter’s night in Canberra.
My daughter and I stayed often at Victor Lodge, mainly when we travelled there for her to attend representative sport, and our favourite was room 29 – a twin room at the top of the front stairs.
The shared bathroom facilities were readily accessible and included the option of a bath as well as a shower.
The other shared facilities included a lounge upstairs and a laundry downstairs. There were also bicycles for hire for those who came without their own transport and wanted to get some exercise while getting around Canberra.
The dining room had a range of information regarding activities in and around Canberra including a series of four, interesting 3D relief maps of the local region, the ACT and surrounding NSW, Australia and Europe. During my last visit, on learning that I am a teacher of science and geography, the kind owner passed the 3D maps on to me to use in my classroom.
This was just an example of the generosity and kindness that characterised the approach of management and staff, who were always friendly and helpful.
Whether travelling for business or pleasure, whether with family, partner or on my own, my accommodation needs were always well looked after at Victor Lodge.
When checking out for the last time I heard the sorrowful surprise of a young couple travelling from Sydney on learning that their first visit to Victor Lodge would be their last. At least I was fortunate to have many years of enjoying the “best value bed and breakfast” in Canberra.
While I will miss Victor Lodge, as I am sure will many other fellow travellers who discovered such “affordable luxury”, I would like to express sincere gratitude to the owner-operators, Graham and Lee-Anne Vickers, for providing such good accommodation in Canberra for so long. It is my sincere hope that someone with the right combination of location, facilities, service and hospitality will take up the challenge of filling the niche left by Victor Lodge.