Afternoon Tea at Victoria BC’s Fairmont Empress Hotel
Of all the things to do in Victoria, visiting the Fairmont Empress Hotel for afternoon tea was top on my list. It’s a fairly hyped up tourist attraction, but who wouldn’t want to dress fancy and act posh for an afternoon? I felt this was the closest thing I could get to being like a British royal, so I took the $50 plunge for a meal in style. Before you take the plunge too, here are some tips to keep in mind for having afternoon tea at the Fairmont Empress Hotel in Victoria BC.
Book in Advance
Afternoon tea at The Empress is a popular activity for visitors, so naturally the availability on weekends fills up fast. I recommend booking online, or at least dropping by the day before, to set up a slot for your afternoon teatime. According to traditional standards, afternoon tea is usually around 4pm. But I wasn’t going to wait until my dinnertime (yes, I eat like a Hobbit) for lunch, so I had it around 1pm.
Specify Any Food Concerns
Are you vegetarian? Gluten free? Lactose intolerant? Make sure to let The Empress staff know in advance of any food concerns when booking your reservation so they can cater to your needs and prepare your own plate in advance. My friend had dairy allergies, and The Empress staff was kind enough to substitute some of the usual snacks for different options. I only specified for no mushrooms, hehe.
The Empress Hotel is an upscale venue… after all, it is part of the Fairmont Hotel collection! Also going along with tea traditions, it is respectable and preferred for guests to dress nice or at least casual chic (ie: no Crocs!). Most men wore button-up shirts and women wore dresses or dark jeans with a nice top. Keep this in mind when packing for your trip to Victoria.
Learn Tea Etiquette
After my friend and I reserved a table for afternoon tea, we realized we didn’t have a clue how to eat like a lady! So we looked up how to eat according to afternoon tea etiquette standards. Do you know how to hold the teacup properly? Or that you shouldn’t hit the sides when stirring the tea in the cup? And how to unfold your napkin? Here is a link on how to eat and drink properly during afternoon tea.
Arrive on an Empty Stomach
I made the mistake of eating a big breakfast before afternoon tea because I thought there would be a small selection to eat from. Let me tell you, I was wrong. Their delicious special blend tea was more than enough for two people; and the snack options consisted of several sandwich flavors (smoked salmon, curry, cucumber, ham, egg salad), a scone with strawberry jam and a few dessert options as well. Guests get to take home a box of their special Empress Tea Blend, which I have been drinking religiously since!
Please note that prices for afternoon tea at The Empress changes between the on and off seasons. Check online for rates and for other afternoon tea options.