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….
………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.
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.
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.’
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.
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.’
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….
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…
The Gold Level Suite provided a lovely lounge in which Tin Man relaxed everyday and had a delightful breakfast…..
With Beautiful Views of the Harbor…and occasionally a visitor……..
In the Afternoon, Tin Man enjoyed Tea in the Lounge……never leaving the Gold Floor to explore for the first several days……
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………….
The Tin Man scampered down the hall to enjoy breakfast in the lounge
…..upon return ……look at the most delightful gift left in his suite….
The Afternoon of his Birthday, Tin Man decided it was time to leave the floor and explore the hotel…….but first….
Yes, that is correct, time for the Formal Afternoon Tea, served in the Tea Room of the Hotel….
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.
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.
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.
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
After Tea, a walk about the Hotel and Grounds….
Oh …….the most beautiful Flowers…..
The Empress holds many charms to behold….
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…..