Submission by Shelli Elledge | Photographs by Ron Elledge
Have you ever wanted to partake in an experience where you would be tended to like royalty? Would you like to take a seat at an Edwardian-style tea party where delicately prepared menu choices are served on magnificently painted fine china and staff members provide the utmost in superb personal service? The illustrious and classical Fairmont Empress Hotel in Victoria, British Columbia, offers these delights in an Afternoon Tea that is truly fit for a king or queen.
The tradition of the smaller British meal known as afternoon tea was made famous by the Duchess of Bedford, who was a lifelong friend of Queen Victoria. Walking into The Fairmont Empress Hotel’s historical dining room is like walking into a life-sized diorama depicting the splendor of that era. The room is decorated splendidly from the high, wood-carved beams in the ceiling to the plush expanse of richly-designed carpeting under your feet. Huge windows provide views of the hotel’s sweeping grounds, wisteria-lined walking paths, and the famous Inner Harbour. The room’s historical grandeur is also reflected oh so elegantly in the richly upholstered chairs and lavish furnishings.
One of the most notable features is the graciousness of the staff. Even though they serve hundreds of guests each day, they move flawlessly about the room as if rehearsed to ensure that each guest is pampered and comfortable. They serve an array of delicate tea sandwiches, croissants, scones, meringues, and berries with cream that are almost too beautiful to eat. However, each morsel is tastefully delicious!
The famous Afternoon Tea is referenced in many guidebooks. However, few write-ups do it justice. It is an authentically British opportunity to be transported to a bygone era, and it is one you won’t want to miss! Each time my fingers closed around the dainty handle on the beautiful floral teacup, it really was fitting to point my little finger in the air!
The price per person runs CAD $60 to $70 and reservations are suggested. The Fairmont Empress Hotel is located just off the Inner Harbour, 721 Government Street, Victoria, British Columbia. TEL + 250 384 8111. http://www.fairmont.com/empress-victoria/