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Empress Hotel National Historic Site of Canada
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Victoria Shore Excursion: City Sightseeing Tour
Level Contributor
170 reviews
26 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 118 helpful votes
Reviewed November 7, 2012

I love the location, love the history of it all, love the management but the hotel is older than my great grandmother and naturally a bit tired in some corners.

Visited October 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Level Contributor
54 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
“better than a taxi”
Reviewed November 5, 2012

stay here quite often when having dinner and lots of wine, service is always great some of the rooms are a liitle dated but the renos one are awesome .. better than a taxi... and see the girls at the willow stream aaa

Visited September 2012
Thank stbpens
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Victoria, Canada
Level Contributor
38 reviews
16 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
“well worth touring”
Reviewed November 5, 2012

I haven't stayed at this hotel but have toured it several times. It is a marvel of design and workmanship. Built in the early 1900's and designed by Francis Rattenbury, a notorious young man who designed a lot of the most outstanding buildings in Victoria, it epitomizes the style of the times, with gorgeous features that were built by craftsmen brought over from Europe just for their skills. Many Victorian grand dames lived there in its prime, some for decades. Their stories are a significant part of its lore and appeal. Everyone who comes to Victoria wants to have afternoon tea in their dining room with fine china specifically designed for the Empress while listening to a pianist playing in the background. I have heard that the tea itself is actually better, and far cheaper at the Butchart Gardens but I thought it was splendid nevertheless, if it is only for the ambiance and the people watching. When I was there a group of ladies, obviously several generations of the same family, came in and the eldest lady was resplendent in her fur, white gloves and coiffed hair. Such a delight.
The Bengal lounge is my favourite place for an afternoon drink with friends. The decor is as imagined very British Raj, even with a ceiling fan that dates to that era (the kind that in more pendant than rotating). The buffet is adequate but disappointing so if you are looking for good Indian food go to Vancouver.
Their is an incredible Tiffany ceiling in a room of the tea room that you can only see on a tour or if you are lucky enough to go to a conference that is booked there. Speaking of which, their conference room has another incredible ceiling that in its prime, was all glass, so that dancers could see the stars at a ball. Now they have replaced or covered them all with mirrors so that it is more conducive to presentations during the day, but standing there, looking up and imagining what it was like is well worth the experience.
I have heard the rooms are small and hotter than hades in the summer as I don't believe they are able to install central air conditioning, but ask to be sure if you must stay there. Perhaps the renovated part has some.
This is a must see if you come to Victoria.

Visited March 2012
Thank motherofthyme
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Glendive, Montana
Level Contributor
454 reviews
216 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 250 helpful votes
“Beautiful and majestic. Lacking some services.”
Reviewed November 2, 2012

I stayed here for a conference in October, 2012. The rooms are fairly basic, except for the Keurig coffee maker, which was sort of cool. The beds are comfortable. The hotel, from what I understand, is the 2nd oldest building in the city of Victoria, and the owners have tried to stay true to the period theme. Therefore, the rooms are a bit old and worn... but nice. I don't have any complaints about the rooms whatsoever, but have stayed in more luxurious accommodations.

The hotel is HUGE! And beautiful. They have a famous high tea, which I did not partake in, as it was a bit to pricey for me. The gift shop is nice, although the clerk was a bit snooty. The desk people are friendly and helpful, as are the porters.

Everything about the Empress is classy, and captures the essence of historic Victoria. It is also very expensive. This is not a place for budget conscious travelers. It is, however, a good place to stay for location. Right on inner harbor, and very close to the shops and restaurants, there is probably not a better location.

The grounds are beautiful and well maintained. I think this is probably a "do it once" type of hotel.

Visited October 2012
Thank surfercharlie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Queenstown, New Zealand
Level Contributor
22 reviews
11 attraction reviews
“What a great place!”
Reviewed October 29, 2012

What is not to like! Great location directly facing the harbour! Rooms are lovely and well appointed. I highly recommend the Afternoon Tea. What a fantastic experience. The staff are extremely helpful. The grounds are wonderful. A definite place to stay when in Victoria.

Visited July 2012
Thank lori m
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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