From the moment we stepped into the historical Fairmont Empress in Victoria, British Columbia, our trip felt magical, and being here with the girls made me that much more excited for the stay. We were greeted by a giant, beautifully decorated Christmas tree which stood in the middle of the lobby, under a magnificent crystal chandelier, and a new friend! Winston, the hotel’s furry ambassador would soon become the girls bff, but for now he was running to them as if to say “come on in friends! Let’s have an adventure!”
As we checked in and went up to the fifth floor where our room would be, I marveled at every detail around us. There is something about staying at a historic property such as this, that gives you a feeling which staying at a newly built hotel never can.
The Empress was built in 1908 and has seen many famous faces and Royals come through its doors. It has gone through extensive renovations and updates, somehow leaving all the best of its original beauty intact. From the Tiffany style stained glass roof in the palm court to the stunning crystal ballroom, it’s almost hard to imagine all the history it holds inside it’s glamorous walls.
We walked into our room and the girls started running around, as they always do, searching for their favorite parts. I heard a happy squeal and saw that Grace spotted their big surprise, a tent inside the bedroom. She yelled “I’ve been dreaming about this!”. The girls were excited to start playing in the tent and I was even more so, to get changed and ready to head out because we had our high tea in an hour!
This hotel activity ended up being my absolute favorite and one I’ll remember forever. This was the first time our little Charlie girl got to really feel like a big girl too. I loved watching Grace teaching her how to “gently hold the cup and stick your finger out”. I definitely recommend this as a family activity during the holidays and year-round. The service was just impeccable and all the food and tea beyond yummy!
Another activity the girls got to do at the Empress was taking an etiquette class. How cute is that? We all joked that Charlie might need a couple. They got to have a whole lunch with the proper steps to everything from how to sit down, to holding your fork the right way. Grace loved it! She was so in her element there and was the last one to stay chatting up all the teachers.
While the girls were in their class Eric and I had a glass of bubbles and an Empress gin & tonic at the Q bar. This space is so swoon worthy I could have stayed there for hours just taking it all in! It used to be a private room for events, which was rightfully turned into the hotel’s bar and restaurant space. Even if you don’t stay at the property, I highly recommend a meal or a cocktail at this gem.
Off we were to grab the girls from their class and up to the Gold Lounge for a snack and to take in the view. Another gorgeous space which offers guests of all ages a place to enjoy a beverage and food as well as the coziest nooks to relax in. Eric and I sat with our tea and watched the girls read and play on a rocking horse. I almost didn’t want to move to get ready for dinner.
I was so impressed with the girls energy levels throughout the trip. We packed so much in and I was worried we’d have some major melt downs but aside from Charlie showing us her wild side a few times they were just so excited to be there. On our second night we had family s’mores by the fire. After we finished them, both girls climbed on Eric’s lap and cuddled up close. Charlie closed her sleepy eyes and Grace was peppering Eric with questions on what adventures we had planned for the next day. I remember sitting there and taking in the moment. How lucky I was to have them and to experience a moment like this together. I think that’s what makes traveling as a whole family so special. It lets you really relax take in and appreciate what you have.
I’ll be sharing the rest of our adventures in part two! Hint, there are lots of twinkly lights involved.
A big thanks to the Fairmont Empress for partnering on this post!