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.

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Romantic getaway in Victoria, BC at the Fairmont Empress Hotel is one of the best places to stay in Victoria, BC
The iconic Fairmont Empress Hotel is located right on the Harbour, just steps away from restaurants and activities. Photo credit: Darren Cheung

Location of the Fairmont Empress Hotel

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.

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Photo of the view from our newly renovated room at the Fairmont Empress in Victoria, BC
This was the view from our newly renovated room at the Fairmont Empress Hotel in Victoria, BC. Photo credit: Darren Cheung

Room at the Fairmont Empress Hotel

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!

Q Restaurant

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.
Photo of the Q Restaurant at the Fairmont Empress Hotel in Victoria, BC
Q Restaurant is located at the Fairmont Empress Hotel in Victoria, BC. Photo credit: Fairmont Empress Hotel
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!

Willow Spring Spa

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.
We were relaxed as soon as we stepped foot in Willow Stream Spa at the Fairmont Empress Hotel. Photo credit: Fairmont Empress Hotel
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!

Fairmont Empress Hotel is a great place to stay in Victoria, BC
We were greeted with sparkling apple cider and fresh strawberries in celebration of our Babymoon! Photo credit: Marcie Cheung
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!​

Fun Things to Do in Victoria, BC:

The Butchart Gardens
Aftternoon Tea at Abkhazi Garden
Explore Craigdarroch Castle
Royal BC Museum

PictureFairmont Empress Hotel in Victoria, British Columbia

Author

Marcie writes the family travel blog Marcie in Mommyland. When she's not traveling the world, she's home in Seattle with her husband and two little boys.

52 Comments

  1. That sounds like a lovely little getaway. I haven’t been up to Canada in ages, but my husband and I talk about going back all the time.

  2. That looks like a beautiful and fun trip! I love vacations before baby comes. Spend some time with your loved one. I’ve never been to Canada but hope to go late summer!

  3. Journa Ramirez Reply

    I’ve never been to Canada but I hope we can go there soon. I know it’s a lovely country – with many great experiences to offer!

    • marciecheung Reply

      Canada is fabulous and the people are so helpful!

  4. I used to live 20 minutes from the Canadian border and it was so nice. I loved being so close because there are so many adorable shops and places to eat!

  5. What a gorgeous hotel and the view is stunning. It looks like the perfect place to enjoy a baby moon or a weekend getaway, especially since it is so close to everything.

  6. What a gorgeous building! I can see why you have been wanting to stay there! It’s on my list when I visit Victoria!

  7. A fellow Pacific Northwesterner! I LOVE the Empress. It is such a nice hotel. You really can’t get nicer! Victoria in general is such a fun getaway city.

    • marciecheung Reply

      Yep! I just followed you on Twitter and Instagram when I saw your Tulip Festival Post 🙂 Victoria is the best!

  8. How adorable (and exciting) to take a babymoon! Cant imagine a more fabulous place to get lost in than this gorgeous hotel with amazing food and views and everything!!

    • marciecheung Reply

      It’s the most gorgeous hotel I’ve ever been to!

  9. Good to know that you had an amazing time there! It’s nice to see that the rooms are really beautiful and that the service is superb. I love a hotel that knows how to take good care of their guests.

  10. Elizabeth O. Reply

    It’s always nice to catch some alone time with the husband. I think it’s awesome that you spent it here! The place sounds lovely. Good to know that it was a weekend well spent.

  11. how fun! looks like an awesome time! Babymoons are really important I think. I did one with my kids and it helps get that last taste of pre-baby life.

  12. What a beautiful place to go on a babymoon! My husband and I have always wanted to visit BC. I will have to keep this in mind!

  13. Lily@militaryfamof8 Reply

    Wow! That looks a fun trip! Looks like a great place to visit and have a good memories on it.

    • marciecheung Reply

      It’s one of my favorite hotels and Victoria is a fabulous destination. We are so lucky it’s so close to Seattle!

  14. You have shown me yet another place I would love to go to. Victoria looks amazing and the hotel looks like a castle. I love that youu tell us all the nitty gritty details and minor faults but I still want to go.

  15. What a beautiful place! It looks perfect for a relaxing babymoon! My husband and I had planned a trip but didn’t get to take one before our first baby.

    • marciecheung Reply

      We were in a similar boat because I spent a lot of my first pregnancy on bed rest. I wish we had been able to do it.

  16. Man this sounds like the absolute perfect baby moon to me. I always wanted to take one but then life happened and we didn’t make the time for it.

  17. Beautiful hotel and looks like they take good care f their guests. It’s a great thing to get away now and then too!

  18. I’m enjoying your adventure posts so much, looks like you’re having a wonderful time with your family! Have a lovely baby moon:) xx

  19. Beautiful pictures and looks like an amazing time! Love vacations. Hope you enjoyed yourself and relaxed!

  20. What a great babymoon. We didn’t do a babymoon. I honestly didn’t know it was a thing until after my son was born. Go figure. I’m so glad you were able to to go visit such an amazing place before entering mamahood.

    • marciecheung Reply

      I had way too much time to Google baby things when I was on bed rest with my oldest. That’s how I became obsessed with the idea of a babymoon. So glad I got to do it before our 2nd baby arrived!

  21. That place is gorgeous! It sounds like you had a wonderful time and I think i need to put this place on my list.

  22. Sparkling apple cider & strawberry is the best combo!! My fav. This building design is great too!

  23. That looks amazing! We were able to get away before our first baby was born, but not for the subsequent two. Enjoy the lead up to your new little one!

    • marciecheung Reply

      It was such a fun experience! I’m glad we had the opportunity!

  24. Congrats on your upcoming birth! It is so important to take a little time for yourself (and your spouse) before the new addition to the family arrives. You picked a beautiful hotel. It looks so regal, like British Royalty would live there. Enjoy and good luck with the new baby.

    • marciecheung Reply

      Thanks! I’m so glad we got to do a babymoon this time around!

  25. What an incredible hotel. Love how ideal the location is for touring. And those views from the room are simply perfect. How lucky that you got to stay in such a wonderful property. I hope I get the opportunity to stay here one day.

    • marciecheung Reply

      I’m so thankful we got a deal through my husband’s employer! It’s the most gorgeous hotel!

  26. I just love that part of Canada but have never stayed at the Fairmont Express. Reading your post however, this is a place my partner and I would love to stay. The next time we are in that area, I will be looking them up to see what their rates are.

  27. I’m so impressed with this hotel review. First of all the hotel building is just amazing. I would totally love to stay there. All all the exeprience there sounds very nice. I think it’s always important to have agreat staff to interact with so this aspect sounds great as well. I’m thinking to visit this area sometime soon, so I will note this hotel as a place to stay. 🙂

    • marciecheung Reply

      Yes, if you visit Victoria (which I highly recommend) the Fairmont Empress is THE place to stay!

  28. Location of hotel is perfect. Fairmont Express’s building look huge and royal. I would like to go Bucharest garden beside for morning walk when I live there.

  29. This sounds like a wonderful babymoon. I missed out doing that 🙁 the hotels view is beautiful. Awesome that your room was newly renovated too.

  30. This is the first I have ever heard of a babymoon! The Fairmont Empress hotel looks like the perfect place to spend a babymoon, such an iconic hotel, I remember photographing it when I was in Victoria. The view from the Fairmont Empress is stunning!

  31. Such a lovely treat to stay at the Fairmont Empress in Victoria. I have been t Victoria a few time and have walked past this beautiful hotel wishing to stay there one day. It is absolutely gorgeous from the exterior and I am sure doesn’t disappoint inside. Glad you treated yourselves to some spa treatments. Every momma needs some extra special time for herself and with her special someone. Maybe next time I will splurge and stay there!

    • marciecheung Reply

      We got a really, really good rate through my husband’s work! I was shocked that it was the same price as some of the other hotels in Victoria!

  32. You are so lucky you got to stay at Victoria’s Fairmont Empress! I’ve been seeing this hotel in photos of the Victoria harbor and have always been curious about it. Thanks for sharing your experience – now I want to stay too! And love that their food looks and sounds amazing, according to your experience!

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