When Karen MacDonald saw a heat warning for Victoria last week, she decided to book a hotel room just minutes from her home in James Bay to escape the record breaking temperatures.

Although several fans went to her unit in an assisted living home, she said it was excruciatingly hot inside. MacDonald said she was particularly sensitive to heat and feared she might pass out at home alone.

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So she booked a week at the Inn at Laurel Point to keep a cool head in the hotel’s air conditioning.

MacDonald is one of many locals who have checked into nearby hotels to brave the heat. The Inn at Laurel Point received mostly calls from Victoria residents as temperatures began to rise to extreme heights, said Brooke Harris, director of sales and marketing.

The hotel received 104 last-minute bookings over the weekend, including 94 guests with a Victoria address, she said.

Harris said many locals check in with their cats and dogs to escape the heat, “so much so that we ran out of dog beds and had to get out to buy more.”

The weekend’s heat caused the hotel to close its terrace for several days, but it has since reopened, Harris said.

The rooms at the Magnolia Hotel and Spa were sold out Monday night, and the hotel is still seeing local interest for the coming weekend, said Hannah Arthurs, marketing and sales coordinator. “Most of the time it opens with ‘Do you have air conditioning? And then they make a reservation, ”said Arthurs.

Ingrid Jarrett, CEO of the BC Hotel Association, said residents in parts of Lower Mainland, Victoria and the Okanagan area have booked air-conditioned rooms so they can keep working and get some sleep as well.

Staff shortages are the biggest challenge for hotels, motels and resorts, she said.

“So many hotels have to limit their occupancy and reservations because they just don’t have enough people to clean the rooms,” Jarrett said.

On-site hotel stays were just one way how Victoria residents tried to keep cool. Some ate in air-conditioned restaurants or ordered take-out so as not to have to cook at home.

At Shiki Sushi in downtown Victoria, takeaway orders doubled when the hot Friday weather hit and the restaurant has been about 30 percent busier in the past few days, manager Judy Chen said.

People called to ask if the restaurant had air conditioning and they had queues at the door with people waiting up to 45 minutes to get in, Chen said.

– with files from The Canadian Press

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