(most commonly known as The Empress) is one of the oldest and most famous hotels in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.
Located on Government Street facing the Inner Harbour, the Empress has become an iconic symbol for the city itself. It has been designated a National Historic Site of Canada due to its national significance.
The hotel has 477 rooms, with most either overlooking the Inner Harbour or the hotel’s rear courtyard gardens. It has four restaurants, including The Bengal Lounge, which is decorated in Victorian-era, Colonial Indian style (when Queen Victoria was the Empress of India) or Kipling’s, which is named after its once frequent guest and visitor, author Rudyard Kipling. The Veranda is a seasonal restaurant located under the famous The Empress sign and replaces Kipling’s as the hotel’s fourth restaurant. In 2005, Kipling’s closed its doors to the public in order for the hotel to gain more space for private functions. This was renovated in March 2012 and became the hotel’s second ballroom, The Ivy Ballroom, for the ivy facade for which the hotel is known. The hotel has gym facilities, a whirlpool bath and an indoor swimming pool. Willow Stream Spa was added in 2002 and is renowned by Conde Nast as one of the world’s best spas. 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.
During the 1989 renovation, the Victoria Conference Centre was built on the parking lot behind the hotel and connected to the hotel via the hotel’s conservatory. The hotel provides catering for the conference centre.
Afternoon tea at The Empress
The hotel is well known for its classic Victorian afternoon tea service. During the summer months, the hotel serves tea (along with tea sandwiches, fresh scones, preserves and clotted cream known as Empress cream) in its ‘Tea Room’ to more than 800 guests and tourists daily. Afternoon tea is approximately CAD $60 per person, and reservations are often required one or two weeks in advance.
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