I recommend reading the post before watching the video…
Scene: Fairmont Empress, Victoria Canada –
Unlike what I had envisioned, men in fluorescent vests and landscapers lined its less than regal entrance with chain saws buzzing in the background. The workers made its intimidating stature more approachable, and masked the fact that they had just ripped out some beautiful, weeping trees that guarded its entrance for over 100 years. Sad but perhaps some old lady stumbled on one of its roots. Or just some dumb bureaucrat wasting tax dollars and trying to declutter. Nonetheless, I got over it and entered through the grand entrance unsure of what I would find on the other side.
I’ve been hearing about this MAGICAL hotel called the ‘Fairmont Empress’ aka ‘The Empress’ in Victoria, Canada for years now and many of my clients who go visit our Worldmark by Wyndham Victoria resort there speak about it’s enchanting allure. I have to say, the grand entrance was not so grand based on the circumstances but upon finding our way to the tea room, it improved by each anticipated step.
Sounds of a well-rehearsed pianist or simply a classical play list echoed into the halls. I couldn’t make out the composer but I didn’t care. I was instantly drawn to the almost excessive clanking of cutlery and porcelain as they were so deliberately setting the ambience of the anticipated experience by guests from around the world.
The service was not stuffy but near perfect. It helped that our server had worked at the Empress for over 40 years. She clearly had it down. A plush red velvet couch (or what I remember of one), lined one side of the table and two beautiful chairs on the other sides.
What thrilled me most was the care that was taken to my dietary restrictions simply by a phone reservation made 2 hours before. A completely separate setting of gluten free and dairy free options were awaiting my arrival. Just as delicious. Ok a little less, who am I kidding…But still prepared with care.
Older women on play dates and mini-getaways with husbands left behind, adorned in their finest play-wear. One woman with a large-brimmed green hat stood out the most. Probably her dark brown lipstick she never wore that contrasted her lovely pale skin. She was dining amongst royalty.
Pinky fingers shakily poked out as women tried to emulate proper etiquette while trying to maintain balance of their tea cups. It humored me to try. I quickly reverted back to less than fancy etiquette and finished my Empress Tea.
Scene 2: 5 days later at the Worldmark Camlin resort in Seattle, WA in an elevator…
3 bundled up ladies heading out on the town at 8:30 am.
Me: “Where do I know you from?”
Ladies: “Hmm…I don’t know. Maybe here?”
Me: “No…Were you just in Discovery Bay a few days ago?”
Me: “No, that wasn’t it…Victoria?! High Tea at the Empress?”
They were giggling with delight at my recall and the irony we met in yet another beautifully historic hotel experience another country away. What they didn’t understand was the pleasure I found in observing their royal experience. What a gift…
Please enjoy the video I created on our experience at the Empress and leave comments and/or SHARE if you like it! Thank you…