The Fairmont Empress
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
At a Glance
Victoria's most iconic hotel with the prime location on the Inner Harbour front
Beautiful historic building with wonderful harbour views
Famous afternoon tea served daily
Wonderful Willow Stream spa and indoor pool
Newly renovated Fairmont Gold Floor with the best views
Best time to Visit
Good time to visit
Average time to visit
BC’s varied climate is influenced by latitude, elevation and ocean proximity but it’s generally warmer in the south and cooler in the north. Winters are mild in Vancouver and Victoria, with only brief snowfalls, while other regions – especially the north and the interior – are subject to freezing temperatures and heavy snow from November to March.
Spring and fall are often warm and pleasant but rainfall can be heavy, particularly on the coast. Summers (June to September) are mostly dry and sunny with warm temperatures, but the interior is hot in July and August, with temperatures surpassing 30°C
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Since 1898, the Fairmont Empress has been Victoria's most iconic and celebrated hotel. Set in prime position on Victoria's Inner Harbour and next to the government buildings, its fascinating history and pedigree is a marvel for all visitors to the city.
Steeped in tradition with elegance and opulence flowing through its refined hallways, the Fairmont Empress surely is the "grand dame" of Vancouver Islands hotels. Its ivy clad walls take pride of place on Victoria's Inner Harbour, making it a tourist attraction in itself, with many visitors flocking to take a peak at it.
A stay at the Fairmont Empress is like stepping back in time. Beyond the more modern atrium style reception the hallways sweep through into the magnificent Empress Dining Room and beyond into the serene and elegant tea lounge where guests come from far and wide to experience Victoria's definitive Afternoon Tea. With several seating's throughout the day, guests can indulge in a decadent array of delicate sandwiches, sweet treats and scones whilst listening to the piano being played by the resident pianist. Continue further and you arrive in the Bengal Lounge. Drawing inspiration from Queen Victoria's role as Empress of India, the Bengal Lounge is renowned for its authentic curry cuisine and signature martini.
Beyond the sumptuous mouth-watering goodies on offer, the hotel also houses one of the first Fairmont Willow Stream Spas. With 85 authentically local aesthetic and spa treatments customized to your needs it is the perfect spot for a touch of pampering.
With 477 guest rooms, the Fairmont Empress is certainly not a boutique hotel, however, the traditional style of the hotel lingers on throughout the rooms from the original wood furniture through to the classic décor.
The Fairmont Gold Floor with its superb harbour views and dedicated lounge and concierge offers the best accommodations in the hotel. Having recently undergone a multi million dollar refurbishment, these are the freshest rooms in the hotel, many with new bathrooms and come highly recommended, along with the superb additional extras of being part of the Fairmont Gold experience
For those who would like to be part of the full Victoria experience, a stay at the Fairmont Empress is a must.
All guest rooms are furnished in traditional style with classic furnishings. The Fairmont Gold level rooms offer the most modern amenities and many have newly installed bathrooms. We highly recommend rooms with views over the harbour
All rooms feature flat screen TV's, fluffy bathrobes, luxurious linens and down filled duvets, kettle, coffee maker, ceiling fan and windows that open. Please note that the rooms are not air conditioned.
In addition, the Fairmont Gold rooms offer Bose sound systems, deluxe amenities and twice daily housekeeping.
The Fairmont Gold floor also offers the exclusive lounge which offers complimentary soft beverages throughout the tea, a sumptuous daily breakfast, a light version of the Empress afternoon tea, evening Hors d'Oeuvres and an evening sweet treat. Guests also enjoy complimentary internet access and the use of iPads, Wii and a DVD player. Fairmont Gold guests also have their own dedicated check in and concierge.
|Fairmont Harbout View Room||
With chic resort decor inspired by Vancouver Island nature, these newly renovated rooms offer spectacular views of Victoria's Inner Harbour.
Children are welcome at the Fairmont Empress and interconnecting rooms, cots and rollaway beds are available as well as child sized bathrobes.
The hotel will often organise children's activities including scavenger hunts, Prince and Princess teas, marmot and honey bee watching and they offer BMW cruiser bike rentals. These activities are all at additional cost.
At all Fairmont hotels, children aged 5 and under dine free with their parents from the children's menu and children aged 6-12 years dine for half price from the regular menu.
Babysitting is available on request.
The hotel offers a large amount of amenities for guests including a choice of three restaurants. The Bengal Lounge for the famous curry offerings, the Empress Room for fine dining including an impressive wine collection of over 800 bottles and The Veranda for dining with a view of the sparkling harbour. Not forgetting the beautiful lobby, where guests can enjoy a famous Empress afternoon tea surrounded by chintz fabrics, antiques tapestries and rugs.
For leisure, the hotel offers the lovely Willow Stream Spa, an indoor swimming pool with whirlpool and modern fully equipped gym.
Valet parking is available for CAD$30 per day
There are many activities available close to the hotel. There are walking and jogging maps of Victoria for guests use, tennis courts within walking distance and 7 golf courses within easy reach. Take to the streets by bike on one of the hotels BMW bicycles, exclusively available for Fairmont Presidents Club members or take to the water by kayak and explore the inner harbour by paddle power.
Anna Northeast (Staff)
The Fairmont Empress Hotel is Victoria. Sitting in prime position at the heart of the Inner Harbour its hard not to be impressed by this grand ivy clad building. With a history that dates back to the original steam ship days of the last century the very walls ooze with secrets of the past. This is in all aspects, a traditional hotel. There is no contemporary touches here, this is dark wood furniture, floral carpets and heavy curtains. It couldnt be anything else though without losing its rich history and as it has been dragged into modern times it has slowly come in line with the trappings of 21st century life. Flat screen TVs, Keurig coffee makers, BOSE sound systems and WiFi throughout are nice touches and the Gold Club floor is by far the best part of the hotel. The rooms here are the most spacious with newly renovated bathrooms and the best views in the city. By day the harbour unfolds before you and at night the city is illuminated by beautiful twinkling lights. Youd be forgiven for just sitting and gazing out of your window and never leaving the hotel. The hotel itself offers that bygone service of yesteryear. The afternoon tea is to die for with pianist playing and piles of delicately placed sandwiches, cakes and scones laid out before you. The Bengal Lounge is the place to go for a sophisticated cocktail and a superb curry buffet. After a day exploring, the hotels pool makes for a welcome dip, an unusual little extra for a city hotel, and the Fairmont groups signature Willow Stream Spa ensures a little luxury pampering. The Empress isnt for your contemporary, all mod cons and a touch of minimalist buffs, however, for those who enjoy a touch of traditional decadence and a feel of opulent yesteryear in arguably the citys best location, a stay here is a must. One note though, head for the Gold Club Floor and the Harbour View rooms to make the most of your experience.
Tea at The Fairmont Empress
High Tea at The Empress is a quintessential Victoria experience. The grand Fairmont Empress has been serving exquisite afternoon tea to royalty, celebrities and the public since 1908 and the chance to enjoy this sophisticated event must not be missed.
Whale Watching from Victoria
This amazing sea excursion by open Zodiac is an unforgettable way to get up close and personal with the minke, gray and orca whales that inhabit these waters during the summer months, along with an array of other marine species such as harbour seals.
Location & directions
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Located right on Victoria's Inner Harbour on Vancouver Island, this iconic hotel has the absolute prime location.
How to get there
It is a 9-hour flight to Vancouver followed by a 30-minute seaplane flight to Victoria Inner Harbour.
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