The iconic Empress Hotel opened its doors in January 1908. Today, Fairmont Empress proudly serves freshly prepared scones and tea pastries to more than 80,000 guests annually. During the summer months, the Empress serves more afternoon tea than most hotels in London. More than 400 people each day visit the Empress to indulge in a tradition that has been an important part of Victoria for more than 110 years.
On the Menu
On your tea tiers, you'll find a menu resplendent with fresh, locally sourced ingredients. The strawberry jam for our freshly baked scones is made in-house from local berries, honey from our own bee hives and lavender from our rooftop garden. The teas are ethically sourced from the top tea producers in the world. Tea at the Empress is truly an elevated culinary experience.
The Story Behind the Royal China Collection at Fairmont Empress
In 1939, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth (the Queen Mother) voyaged to Canada. The finale of their trip was a stay at The Empress where they hosted a dinner for 250 guests in The Empress Room. The couple had decided that this was the pattern they wanted the dinner served on and they had it shipped to the Empress all the way from England for the occasion.
Upon their departure, the royals presented the collection of china as a gift to the Empress Hotel. In an attempt to preserve the pieces, management at the time opted to lock the pieces away in storage. They were not removed again until 12 years later when Princess Elizabeth (Queen Elizabeth II) visited the Empress in 1951. Once she left, the china collection was once again locked away and soon became all but forgotten.
It wasn’t until nearly 50 years later, when a buyer for the hotel was roving the aisles of a Victoria antique shop and came across a tea cup bearing a crown that held a striking resemblance to the crown on the Empress logo. Further research revealed that the pattern had originated at the Booth factory in Stoke-on-Trent, England which had created this pattern for the royal family back in the 30’s.
As it turned out, the pattern used to manufacture the originals was still available and it has been reproduced exclusively for Fairmont Empress. This iconic china pattern has been used to serve our world famous Tea at the Empress since Victoria Day weekend 1998. Many of the original pieces are now on display in the hotel.
This exquisite pattern was created by laying fourteen lithographic transparencies, one over another. The gold is then hand-painted onto each piece with 22kt. Gold. While it is a faithful reproduction in almost every way, a specific color of the blue had to be altered since the original hue was created using lead paint. The new pieces are much safer to eat and drink from!