With over 100 years of history and a guestbook which includes the names of Kings, Queens, Emperors, and much of the Hollywood Elite, the Fairmont Empress in Victoria B.C. reigns over the city like the mightiest of any Monarch. With it’s famous green ivy walls symbolic of Vancouver Island’s rugged wilderness that surrounds the city, you are greeted with pure royal elegance once you step through its doors.
I have always dreamed of what it would be like to be Queen. Which little girl hasn’t. I would switch lives with Kate Middleton in a heartbeat, and I live vicariously through the decadent lives of the world’s most famous royals through various shows which grace the small screen.
I have taken my fair share of castle tours, Windsor, Buckingham, Neuschwanstein, and although these give you a glimpse of how the royal families have lived and continue to live, they fall short of giving you the feeling of being treated as a royal. Enter the Fairmont Empress.
New Zealand’s Lorde obviously knew not of The Empress when she sang “We’ll Never be Royals”, because here, the status of “royal” is a reality for every guest. And though it may be true that you return to reality upon checkout, the memories of your royal treatment will last a lifetime.
The Empress immediately greets visitors to Victoria whether they are coming by ferry boat, cruise ship, or floatplane, and the property immediately sums up what Victoria is all about. A legendary Canadian landmark with a unique blend of old world charm and new world experiences.
Centrally located right on the waterfront, close to each of the city’s main attractions, the hotel has provided generations of excitement and memories for visitors to the Garden City. With accolades too numerous to count it is definitely one of those bucket list hotels you must treat yourself to. From the moment of check in you feel as though you’re in need of a wardrobe change to match its opulence, however the hotel and its wonderful staff comfortingly look and treat you as though you were on the red carpet no matter what your attire may be.
Being seated for dinner in The Empress Room surrounded by stunning refined elegance will send you giddy with excitement to know you are dining where so many celebrities have dined before.
I highly recommend the Royal Table experience, something I will leave a mystery as to not ruin the magic of a highly recommended addition to quite possibly the fanciest and most memorable dinner you will ever enjoy. And of course, whether staying at the Empress overnight or passing through for just the day, no visit to Victoria is complete without attending the world renowned Afternoon Tea.
Enjoyed by, you guessed it, royalty, celebrities and dignitaries, though open to the general public too, book in to unwind, relax and enjoy the celebrated teatime experience. A time honoured tradition for over a century, Afternoon Tea ranks as the number one thing to do in Victoria according to TripAdvisor traveler reviews. Their signature tea and multitude of divine sweets may have you running on the treadmill for a few hours later that day, though are absolutely worth every running minute.
While a century old historic hotel, The Fairmont Empress ticks all the boxes when it comes to access to modern amenities, amenities which include (though are definitely not limited to) free WiFi and bike rentals for President’s Club Members (it’s free to enroll and they have an iPad station in the lobby for guests to enroll for the complimentary perks), and we were pleasantly surprised by the extraordinarily spacious nature of the simplistically elegant and luxurious rooms. Though this is truly so much more than just a hotel. The Fairmont Empress is an experience.
A stay at the Empress is a rare opportunity to change your lifestyle even if just for a short period of time. You’re overcome with a sense of importance as you navigate its timeless corridors, ballrooms, and lounges. You naturally carry yourself in a more dignified way in an attempt to match the hotel’s attributes. Aware of its history you want to treat the building with the respect it deserves.
While the hotel is a cherished landmark and frequented by the general public and tourists passing through, it is definitely a privilege to be able to actually stay in such a place. So when you come to Victoria for a weekend getaway, or to use it as your Vancouver Island base, indulge yourself in the Willow Stream Spa, feast your hunger at one of the various dining lounges, say your vows in one of its elegant ballrooms, and take time to admire its beautiful exterior as you pass it on the street.
The Fairmont Empress is the Monarch of Victoria; it has and will always be. We recommend this hotel for those looking to be transported back in time – for those pursuing a historic stay.