History Empress
The Empress Victoria – jewel of British Columbia


“Without this splendid relic of the Edwardian era, literally tens of thousands of tourists will never return. This is the Mecca, this is the heart and soul of the city.” Local journalist, 1965 – at the time The Empress was in a state of deterioration and there was a debate over whether to restore the old lady or simply pull her down. Thankfully, the restoration lobby won the day and the The Empress lived to wow at least a few more generations of guests.
Setting the Stage HISTORY IN BRIEF 1908: Opening year. 1966: The aging Empress was nearly demolished but instead received a major revamp. 1999: The hotel was rebranded as Fairmont Empress Victoria. HISTORY IN DETAIL 1904-08: Construction of the hotel. The Edwardian, château-style hotel was designed by Francis Rattenbury for Canadian Pacific Hotels, as a terminus hotel for Canadian Pacific's steamship line whose main terminal was just several meters away. The hotel was to serve businesspeople and visitors to Victoria 1908: The Empress opened. 1909-14: Two additional wings were added. 1919: Edward, Prince of Wales, waltzed until dawn in the Crystal Ballroom. Almost 50 years later, people were still talking about the event. The obituaries of elderly ladies who’d been there that night said things like: 'Mrs. Thornley-Hall Dies. Prince of Wales Singled Her Out.' 1920s: Canadian Pacific ceased its passenger services to the city, but the hotel was remarketed as a resort to tourists, which similarly coincided with Victoria's emergence as a tourist destination beginning. 1965: There was much debate on whether to tear down what was becoming a faded, dowdy hotel, to make room for a more modern, functional high-rise hotel. One local newspaper warned: 'Without this splendid relic of the Edwardian era, literally tens of thousands of tourists will never return. This is the Mecca, this is the heart and soul of the city.' 1966 10 June: The decision was announced that the Empress would not be demolished but would embark on a $4 million campaign of renovation and refurbishment, playfully dubbed 'Operation Teacup.' 1989: A $45 million cash injection revamped guestrooms, and added a health club, indoor swimming pool and guest reception. With an emphasis on craftsmanship, no attempt was made to give the hotel a new image. Instead, the goal was to restore The Empress to its original, pre-war elegance. 1999: Canadian Pacific spun-off Canadian Pacific Hotels, along with all its properties. The new company was renamed Fairmont Hotels & Resorts in an effort to reflect its growing global presence and ambitions. The rebranding as Fairmont caused uproar in Victoria Although the new name stuck, Fairmont made no changes to the hotel's original exterior signage, as a compromise to soothe local anxieties and respect its iconic heritage. 2000: Fairmont sold the hotel Legacy Hotels REIT for CAD $120 million. Fairmont struck a long-term management agreement with Legacy Hotels 2005: Fairmont acquired an 11.14% stake in the REIT. here.'
From the World of Entertainment Rita Hayworth Jack Benny Pat O'Brien Douglas Fairbanks Katherine Hepburn Bob Hope Bing Crosby Tallulah Bankhead Roger Moore John Travolta Barbara Streisland Harrison Ford
Shirley Temple arrived accompanied by her parents amid rumors that she had fled from California because of kidnapping threats, a story borne from the presence of two huge bodyguards who took the room opposite hers and always left their door open. -------------------- For many years the hotel did not even have a sign above the front entrance. The strong emotions the hotel evoked in Victorians and its guests and protectors is exemplified in the statement made by an irate gentleman, as workers raised the sign above the front entrance: 'Anyone who doesn't know this is The Empress shouldn't be staying here.' -------------------- In 1987, a woman wrote about her wonderful stay at The Empress and asked if other guests had received a similar late night visitor: a little girl who watched over her bed and then floated across the room. --------------------- There are also the stories of an early 20th century maid, who shows up now and again on the sixth floor to help with the cleaning.
Managed by: Fairmont Hotels & Resorts
468 Rooms
Bathrobes Cable television with in-room pay movies and Sony PlayStation® Ceiling fan Coffee maker Hair dryer Iron and ironing board Luxurious down-filled duvets Telephone with voice-mail Windows that open to the outside
Missing imageThe Fairmony Empress rises regally on Victoria's spectacular Inner Harbor.
Bengal Lounge ---------------- Empress Room
Indulge in one of Victoria's grandest traditions - Afternoon Tea at The Fairmont Empress. During the summer months the hotel serves tea to more guests than most hotels in London, England. More than 800 people per day come to enjoy a tradition that has been part of the hotel since she first opened her doors in 1908.
Willow Stream, The Spa at The Fairmont Empress ----------------- Heallth Club
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Our Select Member Hotel

Country: Canada
City: Victoria
Opening date: 1908

Note from the Host

General Manager Roger Soane


721 Government Street
British Columbia V8W 1W5 Canada, Victoria

Tel: +1-250-384-8111
Fax: +1-250-381-4334

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