“All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.” —Martin Buber
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.
In 1919, Edward, Prince of Wales waltzed into the dawn in its Crystal Ballroom – an event considered by Victorians to be of such importance that almost 50 years later, the obituaries of elderly ladies would appear under headlines such as, ‘Mrs Thornley-Hall Dies. Prince of Wales Singled Her Out.’
In the 1930s, Shirley Temple arrived accompanied by her parents amid rumours that she had fled from California because of kidnapping threats, a story borne from the presence of two bodyguards who took the room opposite hers and always left their door open.
On May 30, 1939, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth attended a luncheon at The Empress, as guests of the Provincial Government.
Other notable guests, include Queen Elizabeth II, Rudyard Kipling, Spencer Tracy, Princess Margaret, Rita Hayworth, the King and Queen of Siam, John Travolta, Barbra Streisand, Joan Lunden, Sarah McLachlan, and Nelly Furtado.