In preparation for the theatrical release of Downton Abbey: The Movie, Fairmont Empress in Victoria is celebrating with special Downton features.
The Grand Dame of Victoria, is the perfect location to revisit the memories of the quick tongue of Dame Maggie Smith’s Dowager Countess of Grantham. Throughout September, raise a glass (and pinky) to toast with The Violet Crawley, a Dubonet Cocktail served in a tea cup with saucer, on ice with a cucumber garnish, and a cucumber finger sandwich. Linger longer like the lord of the manor with The Lord Grantham, a tea infused Old Fashioned served on the rocks glass with an orange twist.
For one special afternoon, Sunday September 15th the Fairmont Empress invites guests to join them for Tea at the Empress in the style of the Lords and Ladies from Downton Abbey. Take a stroll back in time, and imagine yourself enjoying Afternoon Tea at Downton Abbey. In addition to the customary treats on the tea tier, a special Downton Abbey inspired Dundee Cake will be served. The grand Lobby Lounge will be adorned with Downton décor and guests can step into a larger than life Downton Abbey photo station. One lucky guest will win two tickets to the premiere screening of Downton Abbey The Movie on September 18th in Vancouver. Downton attire welcome! Afternoon Tea reservations can be made by phone at 250-389-2727.
Joining the ranks of of many other iconic Fairmont Hotels worldwide, Fairmont Vancouver Airport has begun serving daily Afternoon Tea. Creating their own modern take on a traditional English Afternoon Tea, the Fairmont Airport Tea is a great relaxing break on a layover or stayover or even for locals to make a trek out to the Airport. Starting off with your server bringing the selection of 9 loose herbal and black teas for guests to choose from while presenting a refreshing and palate cleansing berry salad served in a blend of Berry Berry Tea. You chosen tea, in my case the hotel’s signature blend Fairmont Vancouver Airport “Jetsetter”, is presented in individual cafetieres with a Perfect Tea Timer so your tea is steeped to your exact desired strength. Next up is the three tier cake plate loaded with the food courses. Starting from the bottom tier, tasty tea sandwiches based on the traditional afternoon tea fillings; curry chicken with mango on baguette, egg salad croissant, smoked salmon & cucumber with horseradish on rye, aged cheddar & apple with basil on white. The second tier is the cranberry & lemon scones served traditionally with clotted cream and strawberry jam. Topping it all off is the petit fours; chocolate hazelnut tarts, lemon tart, profiteroles and honey cheesecake with the honey from Fairmont Vancouver Airport’s own beehives. Leisurely enjoy the bottomless tea or if the mood strikes spend a little more time enjoying the view of the runway and mountains with a tea based cocktail; like the Beefy Tea – Beefeater Gin with Vanilla Cognac mixed with Earl Grey Tea.
‘Steeped’ in tradition, there are few must-do’s in Victoria as famous as Afternoon Tea at the Fairmont Empress. Since 1908, the afternoon ritual has been a Victorian institution; royalty, celebrities, dignitaries have all taken a seat in the elegant Tea Lobby. You and I can also settle into a high wing-back chair at a handcraved table amongst the luxurious chintz & tapestries of the Tea Lobby. Seated by one of the knowledgeable tea servers, the Tea service begins with some hand-dipped strawberries, followed by tea sandwiches, scones with Devonshire scream and pastries presented on elegant china with tea in a sterling silver service. Enjoying each tier of the food, slowly savouring the tasty treats, and sipping on a pot of Empress Blend tea makes time stand still as you drift back to a bygone era.
Now Fairmont Hotels & Resorts encourages everyone from Maui to Dubai and beyond to “Get Steeped” as they declare Saturday, November 12 “Worldwide Tea Day”. Stop by your closest Fairmont Hotel or Resort for some ‘Tea-riffic’ events. Take in traditional Afternoon Teas at The Fairmont Empress and Fairmont Hotel Vancouver or try the brand new Asian inspired Afternoon Tea at Fairmont Pacific Rim in Vancouver, featuring the spiked tea cocktail “Earl Grey 99” in celebration of this month’s 99th Grey Cup festivities. The Fairmont Waterfront and Fairmont Vancouver Airport also introduce new afternoon tea services, with traditional and spiked teas to enjoy.
Get further into the spirit with fancy hat contests, special overnight accommodation /tea packages. Why not take the kids too, Prince & Princess Tea at the Empress or Eloise Tea at The Plaza are perfect for a tea party for the younger set.
The Fairmont Empress General Manager, Martin Leclerc, landed in Vancouver this morning with a hot pot of tea to toast the new partnership with Helijet President Danny Sitnam and The Fairmont Waterfront General Manager Ian Pullan. With two great properties just 35 minutes apart the tea was still steaming as the three gentlemen unveiled a Helijet helicopter newly emblazoned with the two iconic hotels’ logos.
The new partnership brings together great local brands and offers their guests some great value and exciting packages. Fairmont Presidents Club members (free to enrol) get a preferred rate on Helijet flights.
What a great way to quickly get from Vancouver Harbour to Victoria and experience the renowned Empress Afternoon Tea. A Victoria tradition since 1908 Afternoon Tea should be taken at a leisurely pace, why spend half the day in your car to get there, fly over then let Helijet’s shuttle van drop you at the front door of the hotel. If tea is not your thing, The Veranda at The Fairmont Empress has the best front and centre seat in the city, a great spot to enjoy a meal or martini. (Try the Empress 1908 cocktail…it’s perfect on a summer day!)
The Fairmont Waterfront offers an amazing new VIP tour package. “The Ultimate 48 Hours In Vancouver Experience” includes Fairmont Gold accommodation at the hotel, a guided culinary tour on Granville Island, exclusive ‘behind the scenes’ tour of the hotel’s rooftop chef’s garden or an inside look at the hotels bee hives with the resident Bee Keepers plus a Helijet sighting adventure from the Harbour to the peak of Grouse Mountain, a gourmet picnic lunch packed by the hotel’s chefs to enjoy on the mountaintop.
Experience them individually or link a visit to both properties with a Helijet flight and make it the ultimate getaway in your own backyard!
I recently had an opportunity to follow in the footsteps of royalty as I spent the night at the historic Fairmont Empress in Victoria. In 1919, Edward, Prince of Wales danced until dawn in the Crystal Ballroom and in 1939 parents of our current Queen, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth attended a luncheon at The Empress. In addition, countless Hollywood royalty have graced the storied corridors since the hotel opened its doors in 1908. In recognition of this connection to the Royal Family, The Fairmont Empress, along with sister property Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, has proclaimed April “Royal Month” leading up to the historic nuptials of future King of Canada; Prince William and Kate Middleton on April 29th. Break out the hats and gloves and take part in some of the ‘Royal’ events and festivities taking place all month long. One of the highlights, I’d love to do is the Royal Empress Room Dinner, served on The Queen’s China, only ever used by Her Majesty, until this dinner! Even though I don’t have a pedigree and paparazzi isn’t chasing me down, I was treated like royalty at The Empress. As soon as I walked in the doors I felt welcome, this century old property is prime place to spend a relaxing break in Victoria. Although the Inner Harbour, the hub of most Victoria activities lay just across the expansive front lawns, one can find plenty of activities to keep engaged within the walls of this castle, which was perfect on a rainy overnight stay as I experienced.
Willow Stream Spa at The Fairmont Empress provides first class spa services, stop in for curry and a cocktail at in the cool, colonial environment of the Bengal Lounge, lounge on a chaise with wine & oysters while overlooking the harbour on The Veranda and the ‘must do’ for everyone – Empress Afternoon Tea is renowned around the world. Those are just a few of the experiences you can find in The Empress without even checking in! Stay overnight and get the full Fairmont treatment, soak up the history
as you relax in your room and stroll the wide corridors, maybe even bump into one of the hotel’s supernatural guests. There are a least a couple of ghost stories passed on by many guests, although I don’t have one…yet. If you’re wandering, be sure to go downstairs to find the Archives to see the important roll The Empress has played in the history of Victoria. With the great activities happening for “Royal Month” now’s the perfect time to make The Fairmont Empress part of your own personal history too!