The Fairmont Empress along with the Parliament Building for British Columbia designed by the same architect, dominates Victoria Harbor, like a grand dame over her manor house, something out of Downton Abbey. The harbor is literally across the Street. The hotel is majestic and regal. It has perhaps the most beautiful gardens of any hotel I have ever seen. Its interior spaces are equally as majestic, soaring ceilings, gilt and marble everywhere, liveried porters and bellmen, all invoking the elegance of a gone by era. Its High Tea in a gorgeous gilded Victorian room is one of the foremost, and expensive, tourist attractions in Victoria.
The following must be said with a caveat. My room way on the 7th floor, one of the Gold level rooms and it was magnificent. Remember Room 720. It is directly over the main entrance, with an expansive view of the harbor and gardens, two doors down from the Royal Suite. I expected Prince William and Kate to walk out at any moment. These are the rooms you want to be in. The caveat obviously is that they are pricey. Ours was reserved by Silver Seas as part of an after cruise tour. I checked the hotel web site and found that the starting rate for a Gold level room was $799. This room, and the others facing the harbor probably go for more than that. Gold level rooms bring all sorts of perks, a separate concierge, a quiet private lounge serving breakfast, great afternoon snacks and post dinner desserts, all with a superb bar run on the honor system. This all far away from loud rowdy tourists.
I did not see any of the market rate rooms. I have no idea whether they are good, bad or indifferent. I do know the restaurant, Q, is horrible (see separate review). But even if the majority of less costly rooms are just average, they must be worth it. You are surrounded by luxury, the pomp and circumstance of the Victorian era, on the most desirable site in Victoria. It is the kind of hotel you just have to stay in once. (one bit of advice for the new owner-get rid of the new Empress sign on the front of the building, it is ever so tacky). So treat yourself and pretend you are royalty even for one night.
The Fairmont Empress Hotel is located across from the harbor and offers Wi-Fi in public areas. Designed for comfort, guest rooms offer daily newspaper, in room safe, internet access – wireless (complimentary), indoor pool, massage, steam room, spa, pool (kids).
View Fairmont Empress Hotel Victoria on a map
Fairmont Empress Hotel Amenities
Indoor pool (all year)
Willow Stream, The Spa at Fairmont Empress