Island Holiday at The Fairmont Empress – A magical experience

Island Holiday at The Fairmont Empress – A magical experience

Disclosure: I was a guest of a complimentary stay and tasting experience. All opinions are my own.

It’s summer and we’re all dreaming of an exciting getaway! Long-distance trips are fun and exciting, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is definitely not recommended to do so. Millions of people have had to cancel their holiday plans, meaning that the Victoria tourism industry has taken a massive hit.

But, why not do a Staycation in your own town? Victoria is a beautiful city, people all over the world come to visit and explore all Victoria has to offer and we could definitely take the time to appreciate all we have around us while supporting the local economy.


We recently had our Victoria Staycation at the historic Fairmont Empress. They are currently offering an exclusive offer for Residents of Vancouver Island: “Island Holiday”. The offer includes: complimentary self-parking, a $50 food and beverage credit, and a 5pm late checkout so you can enjoy all Victoria has to offer. For a limited time you will receive a $75 Visa Reward Card upon check in when you book 2 nights or more.

Book your stay

The hotel implemented safety protocols for guests and their staff and of course practising social distance. Your body temperature is taken before you enter the hotel, there are a lot of hand sanitizer stations and it is mandatory to wear a mask in indoor spaces. We loved seeing the hotel a little quieter and this made us feel safe.

Lunch on the Lawn

Our first activity in the hotel was Lunch on the Lawn. Guests can enjoy an afternoon picnic in the hotel’s front lawn, indulging in champagne and finger foods; but this is not your typical picnic, it is beautiful with little tables on picnic blankets, comfy pillows and great service! We had a wonderful experience with beautiful Harbour views. Definitely recommend doing this activity this summer.


Available on Saturdays.

Our picnic basket included: Tomato and bocconcini salad, watermelon salad, maltygrain bread, garden vegetable crudites, cold crispy fried chicken, Saanich strawberries with clotted cream, and chocolate brownies.
Special children’s picnic baskets available!

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Book your picnic here.

Check out our instagram highlights for more.

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The Veranda

We also enjoyed a delicious lunch at the Veranda. The restaurant expanded their patio, installed glass partitions that separate tables and they are using QR codes to scan with your smartphones to see their menu. Beautiful views, delicious food and excellent service.

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spiced sushi rice, tuna & salmon poké, avocado, tamago, edamame, sesame-miso mayo

roasted onion mayo, toasted brioche bun, aged cheddar, house made pickles

Afternoon Tea To Go

The iconic Afternoon Tea at The Empress is now available to go!
The Empress Tea to Go box is filled with the same sweet and savoury delicacies that are found on their tea tier – made fresh to order daily. We loved this experience! Imagine taking your afternoon tea wherever you like? The beach, a park, at the top of your hike or even at home.

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It comes with the Empress Blend Iced Tea: Steeped Orange Pekoe iced tea, sweetened with maple syrup. Really good!

We started with the signature Empress raisin scone, accompanied by house-made clotted cream and strawberry lavender preserve. These scones have been my favourite for a decade now! They are super fluffy. Have you tried them? Their clotted cream is pretty incredible too.

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On the tea box savoury section we tried their smoked salmon on blini with avocado cream cheese, hand peeled local shrimp, english cucumber on rye and coronation chicken on brioche.

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And then we had dessert: Rooibos provence & hazelnut delice, lemon poppy shortbread, Etenia passion fruit cremeux tart, Okanagan apple & crown royal spice cake and the berry pistachio daisy.

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A little more about The Empress:

  • The Empress opened its doors in 1908 and quickly became a luxury destination
  • The building has been designated as a National Historic Site of Canada
  • A $60 million restoration was completed in 2017 restoring many of the original, elegant touches to this national historic site
  • It is often called Canada’s Castle on the Coast
  • There is a two-ton chandelier that graces the lobby area. It is composed of approximately 140,000 hand-cut crystals intertwined into a mesh that forms petal-like shapes

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We hope you enjoy this summer activities at The Empress as much as we did!

Fairmont Empress
721 Government St.

Written by

Amelia Acedo

Editor at Tasting Victoria