Tag Archives: High Tea

The Empress Hotel – Victoria – British Colombia – Canada

Standard

 

Canada 222

When it was time for Tin Man to celebrate his 60th Birthday there was no hesitation as to where the event would take place……..The Fairmont Empress Hotel in Victoria, British Colombia.  After a brief stay in Seattle, it was time to take the ferry over to Victoria Island….

Canada 069

Canada 072………and then after a peaceful voyage, we arrived and our beautiful Empress Hotel…..the Edwardian, château-style hotel was designed by Francis Rattenbury for Canadian Pacific Hotels as a terminus hotel for Canadian Pacific’s steamship line, whose main terminal was just a block away.   The hotel was to serve businesspeople and visitors to Victoria, but later as Canadian Pacific ceased its passenger services to the city, the hotel was successfully remarketed as a resort to tourists. Victoria emerged as a tourist destination beginning in the mid-to-late 1920s.

Canada 144

The hotel was built between 1904 and 1908, opening for service in that year. Additional wings were added between 1909 and 1914, and in 1928.

During this time, The Empress (as it was known then) played hostess to kings, queens, movie stars and many famous people.

Canada 149

In 1919, Edward, Prince of Wales waltzed into the dawn in its Crystal Ballroom – an event considered by Victorians to be of such importance that almost 50 years later, the obituaries of elderly ladies would appear under headlines such as, ‘Mrs. Thornley-Hall Dies. Prince of Wales Singled Her Out.’

Canada 225

In the 1930s, Shirley Temple arrived accompanied by her parents amid rumors that she had fled from California because of kidnapping threats, a story borne from the presence of two huge bodyguards who took the room opposite hers and always left their door open.

Canada 122

On May 30, 1939 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth attended a luncheon at the Empress, as guests of the Provincial Government.

Canada 078

For many years the hotel did not have a sign above the front entrance. The strong emotions the hotel evoked in Victorians and its guests and protectors is exemplified in the statement made by an irate gentleman, as workers raised the sign above the front entrance:

‘Anyone who doesn’t know this is The Empress shouldn’t be staying here.’

Canada 075

The hotel has received several accolades including Travel + Leisure Best Hotels of the World and recognized on Conde Nast Gold List. The hotel became Victoria’s first Five Green Key hotel as acknowledged by the Hotel Association of Canada for sustainability practices.

The Tin Man booked a Fairmont Gold Two Bedroom – Two Bath Suite at The Empress, as it was to be a grand celebration….

Canada 141

Canada 105Canada 085Canada 084Canada 080

The Suite faced the harbor and as it went around the corner also faced the Government Buildings…..Marvelous views….The Tin Man could often been seen at the window waving to tourists below as if he were English Royalty…

Canada 082Canada 114Canada 195Canada 187Canada 190Canada 083Canada 113Canada 217Canada 135

The Gold Level Suite provided a lovely lounge in which Tin Man relaxed everyday and had a delightful breakfast…..

Canada 118Canada 116

Canada 119

With Beautiful Views of the Harbor…and occasionally a visitor…….. 

Canada 108

In the Afternoon, Tin Man enjoyed Tea in the Lounge……never leaving the Gold Floor to explore for the first several days……

Canada 095Canada 096Canada 094Canada 090Canada 092Canada 093Canada 091Canada 097Canada 106

The Morning of his 60th Birthday, Tin Man was awakened by the doorbell and a bellman delivered a most beautiful gift,  a Fairmont Robe, monogrammed in gold with Tin Man’s initials………….

Canada 159

The Tin Man scampered down the hall to enjoy breakfast in the lounge

Canada 111

…..upon return ……look at the most delightful gift left in his suite….

Canada 180

The Afternoon of his Birthday, Tin Man decided it was time to leave the floor and explore the hotel…….but first….

Canada 227

Yes, that is correct, time for the Formal Afternoon Tea, served in the Tea Room of the Hotel….

Canada 151Canada 140Canada 163

 A time honoured tradition for over a century, the world renowned tea lobby of Fairmont Empress has served England’s most beloved ritual and Victoria’s grandest tradition of Afternoon Tea to famed royalty, celebrities and dignitaries alike.

Canada 099

Canada 157

Surrounded by rich chintz fabrics, antiqued tapestries and rugs, elegant wing back chairs, vintage furnishings and hand-carved tables, the picturesque backdrop of the Inner Harbour provides the quintessential Victoria experience to all who grace Afternoon Tea.
Canada 170
Chef and Team prepare house-made signature Empress scones, delectable pastries and tea sweets daily, reflecting locally sourced ingredients to ensure an authentically memorable experience.

Canada 175

From the original blend of The Empress Tea created specifically for Fairmont Empress, served in dainty William Edwards china and sterling silver service to the enchanting ambiance of the live piano

Canada 165Canada 176Canada 174

After Tea, a walk about the Hotel and Grounds….

Oh …….the most beautiful Flowers…..

Canada 150Canada 147Canada 131

 Canada 132Canada 134Attached to The Empress is the Victoria Conference Center….oh beautiful architecture….

Canada 129Canada 130Canada 123Canada 128

The Empress holds many charms to behold….

Canada 137Canada 160Canada 098

Pure Magical Delight…..a most marvelous adventure.

The Staff of The Empress was over-the-top attentive and worked to ensure that everything was perfect.

Duane LaChance, the Concierge Gold Manager, was absolutely incredible and made this a most memorable stay.

So, it was time to enjoy the last beautiful sunset from our suite and continue our adventure…..

Canada 181

Advertisements

Tea & Cakes….and perhaps some Welsh Rarebit

Standard

If you have been reading the exploits of the Tin Man, you know that he often travels to Media, Pennsylvania to visit the Marvelous, Magical Mary.

…………so in usual Tin Man fashion, here is a bit of history of the place called Media….

imagesCA7AL330

The borough of Media was incorporated in 1850 and  is the county seat of Delaware County, Pennsylvania.     

In June 2006, it became the first fair trade town in America.

imagesCAXXVYQL

The history of the town goes back to William Penn, who was named proprietor of the colony of Pennsylvania in 1681 by King Charles II of England. 

William Penn

William Penn

  

The Delaware County Institute of Science was founded in Media in 1833.

Media promotes itself as “Everybody’s Hometown”.

 Peter and William Taylor bought the land where Media is now located, directly from Penn. 

Thomas Minshall, a Quaker, was an early Media resident, settling just outside the small village then known as Providence, along the Providence Great Road.  The village then included a tailor shop, blacksmith shop, wheelwright shop, barn and other buildings.  Minshall bought 625 acres from William Penn and arrived in 1682. The Providence Friends Meeting was established at his house in February, 1688, and a meetinghouse was later built on land he donated for the purpose.  The original meetinghouse was built out of logs in 1699 or 1700 and the current building dates to 1814. 

Minshall’s house still stands and was given to the citizens of the borough in 1975. 

imagesCAL49R1U

The John J. Tyler Arboretum occupies part of Thomas Minshall’s original  property.   This farm was used by the underground railroad.   The land was donated to a public trust in 1944 by an eighth generation descendant. The arboretum was started as a private collection by brothers Jacob and Minshall Painter.  In 1825 they began systematically planting over 1,000 varieties of trees and shrubs.  Over 20 of their original trees survive including a giant sequoia.

imagesCAZTZBR4imagesCAG8ZWVW

Media may be best known for secret government documents which were illegally seized there by activists in 1971 and distributed nationwide.  On March 8 of that year, the Citizens’ Commission to Investigate the FBI raided a FBI “resident agency” in Media. They later released thousands of documents to major newspapers around the country. These documents revealed controversial and illegal FBI tactics, like the recruitment of Boy Scouts as informants, and confirmed for the first time the existence of COINTELPRO, a FBI program to “expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit, or otherwise neutralize” dissident groups in the US.

imagesCAIWF6L2

Now back to the Tea Room…..

Downtown Media is a plethora of restaurants, shops and art….

We love to walk the streets and run across them to avoid the Trolley Cars, exploring all the marvelous culinary delights.

imagesCABE4LYJ

On a recent trip, we went to explore the delights of an English Tea Room… Tea & Cakes

what a delightful and interesting place. ……. one of the owners sits in the Tea Room and joins any and all conversations she desires…and she is quite opinionated!

We had some delightful fare……

A plate of High Tea Sandwiches and Sweets…

….of course Welsh Rarebit with Toast Points….

and Tea…Marvelous Tea…..

….back outside to run in front of the Trolleys!…..wish me luck……….

200500600 (133x303)