Live like a princess at Fairmont Empress, Canada’s castle on the coast

This year, I’ve been focusing on intentional travel that allows me to explore new places while living quietly. From the moment my plane touched down at Victoria International Airport, I felt like my stay at the Fairmont Empress would be unlike any other. I was greeted by a personal chauffeur in a luxurious Lincoln. I was speeding off to what I can only describe as a real-life version of a large Bridgerton estate. When we arrived at the Fairmont Empress, with its castle-like architecture and manicured grounds, I felt completely like my own.

Luxurious living room with Fairmont Gold

Fairmont Gold / Fairmont Empress
Image source: @fairmontempress / Instagram

Upon my arrival, I was directed to a Fairmont Gold hotel reception. If you’re not familiar with Fairmont Gold, it’s basically the epitome of hospitality. It starts the moment you arrive. You are granted exclusive access to the private Fairmont Gold Lounge and a team of concierge. The team is ready to customize your stay to the last detail.

The lounge itself is exquisite, blending modern luxury with historical details that tell tales of the property’s rich past. From the exposed brick archways to the elegant fireplace, the lounge makes guests feel at home. The lounge also includes a residential style pantry with gorgeous marble islands. Each day, the lounge offers a daily gourmet breakfast, desserts, afternoon tea, evening hors d’oeuvres, and a full-service honor bar.

Delicious food at Q at the Empress

o in Empress / Vermont Empress
Image source: @qattheempress / Instagram

After freshening up from my travels, I headed to the hotel’s restaurant, Q at the Empress. The restaurant offers a menu catering to all tastes, including vegetarian and vegan options. My culinary journey began with Roasted Organic Saanich Carrots, a dish that highlights local produce. It features an elegant combination of whipped sesame tofu and black garlic puree. For my main course, I enjoyed the quinoa and zucchini croquettes.

Garden Paradise: Butchart Gardens

Butchart Gardens / Victoria, British Columbia
Image source: @thebutchartgardens / Instagram

A private driver was waiting for me in another luxury Lincoln and drove it for about 30 minutes to the majestic Butchart Gardens. The gardens provide a surreal escape with five unique landscapes: the Rose Garden, the Sunken Garden, the Italian Garden, the Mediterranean Garden and the Japanese Garden. Each of them will take you to different corners of the world. It was the perfect place to spend an afternoon strolling in nature.

Ode to Empress Jane at Victoria Distillers

Empress Jane / Vermont Empress / Victoria Distillers
Image source: @vicdistillers / Instagram

After returning from the gardens, I headed to Victoria Distillers, where I tasted their famous 1908 Empress Gin. It is inspired by the Fairmont Empress. It’s not just a gin. It is a sensory experience featuring a blend of black tea, grapefruit peel and pea flower. Located on Sydney’s waterfront, views are unparalleled by Victoria Distillers.

Royal spa day

When I returned to the Fairmont Empress, I spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing in their luxurious spa. The Empress 1908 experience I chose was a total treat. It included a luxurious 20-minute bath enriched with earth minerals and antioxidant-rich butterfly pea flowers, an invigorating juniper oil massage, and a scalp and foot exfoliation.

Sips of sunset: an evening of sophistication

Sunset Cebes / Vermont Empress
Image source: @fairmontempress / Instagram

I partook of Sunset Sips, a unique cocktail and culinary experience that blends the hotel’s signature high tea décor with the verve of a 1920s pub. There are also sweet and savory desserts to enjoy before or after dinner. I enjoyed the vegan mushroom pie, grilled avocado, heirloom tomato tartine, and gluten-free violet tapioca mousse.

The final touch: the classic afternoon tea

Vermont Empress Afternoon Tea
Photo Source: Fairmont Empress

On my final day, I felt like an absolute princess while enjoying the property’s famous afternoon tea. This century-old tradition makes you feel like you’re part of history. I sipped Empress Blend tea and sampled an array of delicious sandwiches, scones and desserts.

(marks for translation) Travel Noire

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