Thanks for joining me today for Tea at the Fairmont Empress in Victoria, B.C.
I am sharing the trip we made to Victoria, BC Canada for my birthday during our 2 week break at the end of August, but due to the computer problems I had... although fixed... have put me behind so that I haven't had a chance to get my new holiday tea times ready to share. So, am partially sharing this visit to Victoria for a birthday tea from a few years ago before the renovations, with some recent updates. But here's my teacup for today for obvious reasons:
This is a teacup trio of the Fairmont Empress' official china by Royal Doulton that was rediscovered and brought into general use by the hotel in 1998...
The china is referred to as the Royal China... note the crowns... as it was designed and presented to George V in 1914 who was opening the Booths pottery in Stoke-on-Trent, which subsequently was taken over by Royal Doulton. King George V and his wife Queen Mary were recently featured in the Downton Abbey movie, there for a royal visit.
The pattern was again used at the then Empress Hotel during the royal visit in 1939 of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth (the Queen Mum).
It may no longer be made in Enland, because this teabag caddy from the Empress I acquired last year is made in China... sigh.
We traveled to our closest big city, Victoria, BC Canada for a birthday visit. We traveled on the Black Ball Ferry the Coho out of Port Angeles to Victoria Inner Harbour. Here is the ferry from the seawall a bit later in the day when we went for a walk just before dinner. We arrived on the early ferry, getting to Victoria at 10:30. The seawall in front of the Fairmont Empress was quiet, lovely and peaceful because it was so early.
The photo above, from 2014, is the way the Empress looked just prior to the renovations that were completed in 2016. The photo below is what it looks like now... sorta miss the Ivy, but I understand it was damaging the facade and was home to all manner of not so welcome lodgers...
By the time we got the Empress it was close to noon, but because we had a VIP stay (!) we could get into our room in 30 minutes, so we went up the street to a favorite tea room and tea shop Murchie's for a cuppa and an almond croissant.
Murchie's sells goodies for tea, teaware, and their own tea blends. I especially like their Afternoon Tea Blend #10.
After a wander about town to a few favorite areas around the seawall, watching the float planes buzz in and out, and admiring the topiary orca killer whale and her baby on the square by the Empress:
it was time for lunch after checking into our room overlooking the habour on the 8th floor, at The Veranda on the pillared porch at the front of the Empress. We hadn't eaten there, so decided to try it.
It was diffucult photographing it...as well as forgetting to photograph ANYTHING until lunch was over and we were having tea, because of the intensity of the light on the lawn in front of us and the Inner Harbour just across the road. Here is the lawn from the opening when I got out from under the covered porch, showing the Hop On Hop Off bus and excursions loading for Butchart Gardens. The old truck is used to advertised whatever is going on at the Butchart Gardens.
We had thought to have afternoon tea later, but were too full. We did walk by the tea lobby where teas were being prepared, and the Palm Court where tea used to be served until it became too popular.
This area of the hotel is part of the areas that have been totally changed in the renovations, and is no longer the same at all. But that's for another post....
The gift shop did and still does sell the Empress china though...
We had dinner later at The Bengal Room in the hotel, which is now gone. It used to be a British Raj style Edwardian vibe restaurant speicalizing in Indian cuisine alongside local seadfood and steak, but is now a totally spare more like cocktail lounge.
Which has a marvelous Indian/Northwest cuisine menu and buffet. And, were surprised with this plate of goodies when we returned to our room:
A cute little tuxedo dressed 3 tone chocolate covered strawberry, white and dark fudge and a chocolate truffle with a little plastic tube and bulb inserted into it. We hadn't seen that before. The tube was filled with a liqueur. We weren't quite sure how to eat it though. Oh well...we are pretty provincial folks... We had room service breakfast the next morning and generally had a wonderful belated birthday celebration.
I recently came across this hardback book called Afternoon Tea...A Timeless Tradition by Muriel Moffat that has quite a nice chapter on taking tea at the E,ress and it's history. Very enjoyable. It also had history, facts and yummy recipes related to afternoon tea. Very fun!
I hope you enjoyed your visit to Victoria, BC with me.