We didn't stay at the hotel but went to high tea at there in late September (reservation made via email). The food was enjoyable and the staff were friendly. It is expensive ($60pp + taxes for the high tea without champagne) but the experience and atmosphere of the parlour and rest of the hotel was amazing, like stepping back in time...it's worth walking around the hotel afterwards to look at the wood carved ceilings in the empress dining room and the stained glassed dome of the palm court which are both adjacent to the tea lobby. It was even worth taking a peek at the bengal lounge (a dining room) as it really is like viewing a colonial experience in India. The best tip we got, from the lovely lady in the gift shop, was to visit the hotel archives (open to the public) in the lower lobby...it has a small number of cabinets with displays of some of the old photos of the hotel, promotional flyers and menus etc.. Take the lift immediately next to the entrance to high tea/gift shop and follow the archive signs. There are also lots of photos around the new and old parts of the hotel building to view, including one (in the new part of the hotel) of the captured cougar (tranquillised then returned to the wildness) that was found in the hotel car park in 1992. The only issue we had with our experience was that they did not have our high tea booking (despite us having an email confirmation), this wasn't a problem as they weren't so busy in late-September but it may have meant we missed out in busier times. So a tip would be to double check your high tea booking a week or so in advance, particularly in peak times. At the end of high tea, they can give you a box for any uneaten treasures and we all got a box of the empress blend tea (10 tea bags) to take home.
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