“Eating is really one of your indoor sports. You play three times a day, and it’s well worth while to make the game as pleasant as possible.” -Dorothy Draper
The Fairmont Empress is one of the oldest and most famous hotels in Victoria. The hotel was designated as a National Historic Site of Canada due to its national significance. The Empress is located in Downtown Victoria on Government Street facing the Inner Harbour. The hotel has 477 rooms, a health club, an indoor heated pool, a spa, two ballrooms, and three restaurants, including The Bengal Lounge, The Empress Room and The Veranda. Afternoon Tea is served in the the majestic lobby of the hotel.
The Bengal Lounge
The Bengal Lounge overlooks the hotel’s stately gardens and is decorated in Victorian-era, Colonial Indian style. The restaurant is a popular destination because of its authentic curry buffet and live jazz on Friday and Saturday from 8:00 PM to 11:00 PM. The curry lunch buffet is served daily from 11:30 AM to 2:00 PM, and a curry dinner buffet is served daily from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM. The dress code is casually elegant. Reservations are recommended for Friday and Saturday.
The Empress Room
The Empress Room is well known for its impeccable service, exquisite menu, and superb wine list that is well supported by the sommelier. The restaurant is famous for its beautifully handcrafted wood ceiling and elegant dinner service with fine bone china, linen cloths and silverware. The Royal Table setting is an added refinement to the fine dining experience, providing guests with a heightened touch of elegance. From silver cloches and candelabras to customized wine selections from the sommelier and a few special touches from the chef, The Royal Table service provides a sophisticated refinement to an enchanted dining experience. The cost is a $30 CAD surcharge per person in addition to meal selection costs.
The Empress Room serves breakfast daily from 7:00 AM to 11:00 AM, and dinner is served daily from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM. The Empress Room is closed on Monday and Tuesday in the Fall and Winter. The dress code is resort casual and dinner jackets are not required for men. Reservations are recommended for dinner.
The Veranda is a seasonal restaurant located under the famous Empress sign. The Veranda is the perfect spot to take a break to relax and enjoy the sights and sounds of Victoria’s Inner Harbour. Whether you come to lounge with a martini, have an afternoon nibble, or a sumptuous meal, guests enjoy the best view of Victoria from the famous Veranda. The restaurant is open May to September from 11:30 AM to dusk or chilly, which ever comes first. The Veranda provides heaters, wraps and sunshades for guests. The suggested dress code is resort casual attire.
Afternoon Tea at The Empress has been a well-loved tradition in Victoria for more than a century. The majestic lobby of the Empress and its antiqued tapestries and rugs, elegant wing back chairs, hand-carved tables, rich chintz fabrics, and vintage furnishings have served as an elegant backdrop to the daily tradition of Afternoon Tea. During the summer months, the hotel serves tea along with tea sandwiches, fresh scones, preserves and clotted cream to more than 800 guests and tourists daily. Nearly 100,000 guests are served tea annually with an estimated 500,000 cups of tea. Tea Service begins at 12:00 PM daily with the last seating at 2:15 PM. The dress code is casually elegant.