We just returned from staying at the Grand Pacific Hotel in Victoria...in one of the suites with the view of the Inner Harbor. We remarked on a daily basis that it was one of the best hotel rooms we had ever rented. The view of the harbor was spectacular both at night and during the day with a flurry of interesting things to watch, e.g., ferries and drawbridges and sea planes coming and going. I would most definitely recommend spending the extra money to get a suite with the harbor view as all of the other views were quite standard.
Each morning was like a dream waking up to the beautiful crystal blue water and the lively activity at the docks. My husband was like a kid again watching all the sea planes, boats, and ferries come in each day. The noise from the activity may be slightly distracting for some, but we honestly did not mind. We never cut the TV on as we could just watch sea otters and seals play in the harbour!
Interesting. These people really enjoyed the real working city of Victoria and its bustling harbour. Many tourists (if not most tourists) will come from places that don't have float planes, car ferries, commuter helicopters, houseboats, urbanized waterfronts etc. so perhaps Victoria should stop pretending to be a genteel oasis and start playing up its unique brand of hustle and bustle.
Some people would say Victoria's hustle and bustle will always pale in comparison to Vancouver's, but this is a gross oversimplification. Victoria's harbour scene is quite different from Vancouver's in both look and feel. Just because you've seen Vancouver doesn't mean you've seen Victoria, and vice versa.