In most every postcard of Victoria BC especially ones of the inner harbor, you usually see the vine riddled, old yet magnificent building with EMPRESS in big white neon sign that has stood the test of time. This building is of course from the exterior grand and charming and the service is well...in a word Fairmont. The service is splendid it is first class as you would expect from a Fairmont property. The property is big and there is a small rose garden with benches and a small park. The location is by far the best of all the hotels, now the city itself is small and quaint and this hotel has the best location to center of town, the museums, the harbor ( I mean it's in the inner harbor) the provincial legislature building and let's be honest everyone and everyone knows where the Empress is. So the location is usually where tour and shuttle buses like to pick up passengers to take them to Butchart gardens and other sites outside the city or further out from the city.
The lobby is grand with the glass ceiling and marble floors. The old pictures that hang from the walls from visits from world leaders; Presidents and the queen of the United Kingdom.The interior feels lavish and yet it also feels a little dated and old. There's a certain charm that goes with it and I mean that in the best sense of the world "old" I loved the wood staircase and all the wood floors of the Indian restaurant and the high tea room ( my girlfriend and I was not about to pay the $50-60 price for tea, finger sandwiches, and deserts when you can go other tea rooms I highly recommend the White Heather tea room). I guess you could to enjoy the tradition and the history of the place I think they've been serving tea since 1908 or something like that.
The corridors to get to your room are long, narrow, and again having that feeling of being a little dated and not very well lit. Now we get to the rooms and I say rooms because there was an isolated incident from other rooms (The air conditioning system in the hotel is all connected so when someone was smoking in their room it passed through the AC system into our room). The room change was swift and again the service was impeccable we were moved into another room with immediacy and nothing but apologies because if I remember correctly the hotel has a no-smoking policy). However when the website uses terms like "traditional" and "cozy take notice that these words mean small, old, and again a little dated. The furniture ie couch, chair, tables and desks in the rooms seemed as if they were left over from the when hotel was originally built. Although the TV was flatscreen and all new. Most importantly the bed could not have any more pillows and crisp sheets and soft blankets. The bed was a Fairmont bed, which is the most important.
The fitness center was small but yet not crowded and it had a plethora of machines and free weights. The pool is firstly ground level and it looks out, which people can also look in with ease into a small European style pool, which means indoors and somewhat private it was not a huge Olympic size pool where kids could be found with their parents lounging poolside.
* I must note and this is an air of stuffiness to the property and rightly so, it is one of the most elegant properties and namesakes in the world but there was a feeling stuffy wealthy arrogance to hotel, although there were young families with kids and young couples as well.
This is a great property with a central location and friendly staff with that impeccability of the world class service that the Fairmont brand is known for around the world. I recommend staying here at least once to experience the world famous Empress. However it is very "European" and when I say that it describes the style of hotel, not the people and not in a negative connotation at all whatsoever. I mean it is small, quaint, and charming in many of boutique and even chain hotels are in Europe. There is a class, sophistication, and "traditional" feel to hotels.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Fairmont Empress sits majestically at the cornerstone of Victoria's sparkling Inner Harbour. This landmark hotel features turn of the century architecture, classic beauty and an unrivaled location on the water. It features the highly acclaimed Willow Stream Spa regarded as one of the best spas in Canada. Food lovers can sample the English ritual of Afternoon Tea, savour the famous curry buffet in The Bengal Lounge or sample award-winning food and wine in The Empress Room. The Fairmont Empress offers wireless internet access in all guestrooms, and it is complimentary for our Fairmont President's Club members, free to join. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Expedia, Booking.com, Orbitz, Hotels.com, Travelocity, Hotwire, Cancelon, Priceline, TripOnline SA, getaroom.com, HotelQuickly and HotelsforEveryone so you can book your The Fairmont Empress reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- The Fairmont Empress Hotel Victoria
- Fairmont Hotel Victoria
- Fairmont Hotel Empress
- Empress Hotel Victoria
- Fairmont Victoria
- Victoria Fairmont
- Fairmont Empress Hotel