I’ve just realised that although I blogged the awesome afternoon tea we had at the Fairmont Empress in Victoria on Vancouver Island, I never got round to blogging about the actual hotel, which is a shame, as the Minx and I had the most fabulous stay there and can’t recommend it highly enough.
To put it in context, the hundred-year old Empress is probably the closest thing this corner of the world gets to Downton Abbey and yet the hotel manages to pull off an amazing juggling act. It is supremely comfortable, laid-back and not remotely stuffy, full of 21st century amenities and luxuries, whilst beautifully and wittily preserving all the over-the-top Edwardian splendour and graciousness.
Stay here and you can believe that the sun really never set on the British Empire, though there is no Lady Violet raising a disapproving eyebrow over the teapot.
After all, where else could you find tigers, lions and killer whales? (There are elephants too, but my photos were blurred).
Perfectly preserved post boxes adorn the walls together with steely-eyed wives of Governors-General (clearly Maggie Smith’s close relations).
The carpets are swirly and the vistas are imposing.
Yet our room was cosy and comfortable, with a beautiful view, and we were given access to the gorgeously pretty Gold Lounge and its neverending supply of elegant pastries (I highly recommend paying for this upgrade if you can).
The Minx had an absolute ball. I think she thought she as a princess in a fairytale palace and we had enormous fun running round the hotel doing the scavenger hunt she found in her kid gift pack and finding out more about the hotel’s history.
She also really appreciated her kid-sized bathrobe
and the truly phenomenal indoor swimming pool.
The staff were kindness personified to the Minx and were a key part of the enormously relaxing and unintimidating atmosphere, despite the grand surroundings.
We even had fun playing ‘Silent Ninja’ on the gracious lawns outside.
That night after popcorn and a movie in bed I snuck the Minx out in her pyjamas to see the beautiful harbour views.
Before my fr iend and I repaired to the Bengal Lounge for some truly excellent cocktails.
This wasn’t just a hotel stay, it was an experience we won’t easily forget. Everyone deserves to live like a Dowager Duchess at least once.
If you can’t stretch to a stay at the Empress, the Afternoon Tea is fabulous way of joining in the fun and seeing the hotel’s most beautiful public rooms..
Full Disclosure: The Minx and I were the guests of the Fairmont Empress for one night and for afternoon tea. I promise that they have had no influence on the content of this blog post and all opinions are my own.
I had the pleasure of visiting beautiful Victoria a few years ago and loved the Empress. My one regret was that we missed having High Tea alla Gran Britania!!! Next time, one of those tea cups will have my name on it.
Too bad it does not have the best bed in the world
Lisa Matthaus says
Fabulous photos, Paola! Such a fun weekend, a lovely opportunity for a local like me to have an Empress experience as well! High tea has seriously evolved from the card tables and blue-rinses of my first (and only other) Empress tea in…1978?
Excellent article, fab photos, they certainly make you wish you were there. Never been to Canada, but your post gives me a few ideas. That Downton Abbey get around does it?