Wow! Simply wow! I’ve wanted to stay at the Fairmont Empress Hotel since they donated to one of the many auctions I used to manage for nonprofits back in my former life. There was something so magical and authentic about the hotel and I knew if I ever had the opportunity to head up to Vancouver Island, that’s where I’d stay in Victoria, BC. When my Mom offered to watch our toddler for the weekend, I seized this opportunity to finally stay at the Fairmont Empress Hotel and explore Victoria, BC. We were able to get a fantastic rate through Boeing.
Getting to Victoria, BC
We took the last Coho ferry of the night, arriving at 11:30pm. Thankfully, the hotel is mere steps away from the ferry terminal and we were in the lobby within a few minutes. The staff member at the front desk was extremely friendly and the whole process was simple and quick. She brought out a map to show us how to get to our room and many of the hotel’s features and amenities.
When she told us that we really would need a hotel map, she wasn’t kidding! There were many twists and turns to get to our room, but we didn’t mind because the hotel is simply beautiful. Even the walls and the carpeting are beautiful. They recently renovated and it shows. The hallways are surprisingly spacious. We entered our room and were impressed with the stunning views of the harbor and the Royal BC Museum.
The location of the Fairmont Empress is ideal. We were able to catch the Victoria Sightseeing Tour double decker bus right in front of the hotel. We also did the Victoria Harbour Tour just a few steps from the hotel and caught a shuttle to the Butterfly Garden and The Butchart Gardens right in front of the hotel. The Fairmont Empress is just a few blocks from shopping and dining. We also loved that the hotel was visible from the Coho Ferry and so close, which made getting to and from the hotel very easy.
The view was absolutely stunning! Even though our room wasn’t large in size, it felt large, which is always a good thing. I love that our room had a bit of a nook where we could set down our suitcase and belongings that was away from the bed area. As parents of a toddler, we very much appreciated the black-out screens in the windows so we could finally sleep in! We also liked the bed linens and I fell in love with the rose-scented bath products. The bathroom was fully stocked with toiletries.
The only thing that didn’t impress me were the towels. I found them to be scratchy. And the mat on the bathroom floor kept bunching up when we opened the bathroom door. My husband noticed that the shower head didn’t seem to be centered and he ended up standing really close to the metal bar and then turning 90 degrees. The pillows were also a bit too soft, so it wasn’t very comfortable to sit up in bed. Otherwise, we really enjoyed the room!
We enjoyed the food at Q both for breakfast and dinner. Breakfast was the perfect way to start our day. Darren had the tastiest Eggs Benedict. The egg yolk was bright in color and runny, which is surprisingly difficult to find when dining out. I had the Banana Bread French Toast, which was tasty and unexpectedly filling. I had never seen it on a menu before and was compelled to try it. I’m glad I did.
For dinner, we were thrilled that they were able to seat us at 9pm. They had a lot of dinner entree options. I went with the mussels and french fries while Darren had the New York Strip Steak. We both were happy with our choices and even more happy that we could just head upstairs to go to sleep!
We decided that this would be a “treat yo self” weekend ala Parks & Recreation-style. The spa is pricey and we usually don’t splurge so much, but since this was our Babymoon, we wanted to do something special. My husband had a really relaxing sports massage and I had a Corrective Facial. The name doesn’t sound very relaxing, but it was a fantastic treatment. It included massages on my scalp, arms, legs and feet which made this pregnant mama feel very taken care of.
Since I’m pregnant, it wasn’t recommended for me to use their mineral pool, sauna or steam rooms, so I spent my time in the lounge where I snacked on yogurt and nuts before my treatment started. My husband tried the mineral pool and found it very refreshing. The whole spa atmosphere was relaxing and intimate.
Overall Impression of the Fairmont Empress Hotel
My husband and I were blown away by the level of service at the Fairmont Empress Hotel. Every staff member we have interacted with has been extremely friendly and helpful. Not only were all our needs met, but we also got recommendations for restaurants and activities for this trip and for future trips. We were also touched when we saw that we had sparkling apple cider and strawberries waiting for us in our room to celebrate our Babymoon!
This has been one of our most-fun getaways to date and a large part of that has been our experience at the Fairmont Empress. The rooms are quiet, clean and the hotel itself is simply stunning, We would come back in a heartbeat for our next romantic getaway!