Just in time for Canada’s 150th birthday of confederation, Victoria’s iconic Fairmont Empress hotel has been dressed to the nines and is ready to party. The 1908 classic beauty gracing Victoria’s sparkling Inner Harbour has undergone an extensive $60 million makeover. Looking more youthful than ever, the majestic lady is turning heads. Led by Hirsch Bedner, all 464 of the property’s rooms and suites have been lovingly restored and updated; they feel stylish and modern, while retaining the sophistication that guests have grown accustomed to receiving from the province’s grand dame.
Providing a magnificent sense of arrival is the crystal chandelier towering over the renovated lobby. Created by Czech lighting company Lasvit, the fixture is one of the Empress’s many jewels. Q at the Empress and Q Bar, the hotel’s new restaurant and bar designed by the Puccini Group, are other crowning glories (though many will miss the historic and much-loved Bengal Lounge, which was closed in the renovation). Style with substance, executive chef Juan Bochenski’s Pacific Northwest menu—focused on sustainability and local ingredients—is the perfect complement to the royal digs. A nod to monarch and country, portraits of Queen Victoria anchor the light-filled space. Rich wood ceilings and spectacularly detailed moldings honour the past, while contemporary finishes and furnishings—accented in hues of gold, purple, and emerald green—bring a modern twist.
Guests looking to be royally spoiled can check in at the Fairmont Gold Lounge. Fully revamped, the beautiful space comes with an expansive new terrace. Enjoy all the luxury-level offerings while taking in the picturesque views of B.C.’s Parliament Buildings and Victoria’s Inner Harbour from the best lookout in the city.
When needing some chill time, there is no better place than the royal palace’s Willow Stream Spa. It too received the regal treatment; with many upgrades including a new reception area and opulent relaxation lounge, a visit to this serene oasis is the perfect cap to any noble visit.