An iconic and recently renovated Victoria hotel with an unbeatable position on the harbour.

The multi award-winning Fairmont Empress is an landmark hotel with turn-of-the-century architecture and a prime position on the waterfront of Victoria’s Inner Harbour. It's one of Vancouver Island’s most celebrated properties and it embraces tradition – scheduling in an afternoon tea here is de rigueur – yet its interiors are surprisingly chic and befitting of the 21st Century. We love that you can step straight out the door and into the heart of the city with the Parliament buildings to your left and the bars, restaurants and shops in the network of streets to your right. Straight ahead is the Inner Harbour where the small toy-like ferrys, whale-watching cruises and sea planes go back and forth. Like all Fairmont hotels, the Empress is home to the a beautiful spa with its marble floors, grand décor and menu that's full of signature treatments and muscle-melting therapies.

As part of its recent reimagining, the hotel gained a wonderfully casual dining venue, Q At the Empress. It replaced a more stuffy grand dining room and it now fully embraces the food of the Pacific North West. And why not when the hotel is so close the source of the produce? It has its own roof-top garden and a menu which features unfussy sea food, meat and vegitarian dishes. Our favourite spot to dine is The Veranda - an open-air extension of Q at The Empress that overlooks the Inner Harbour. The adjacent Q Bar has an extensive wine and cocktail dishes and an old world-meets-new world ambinace.

Waking up to views over Victoria's Inner Harbour is one of our favourite Vancouver Island expeirences so we highly recommend choosing one of the Fairmont Rooms which overlook the water or a spacious Signature Harbour View Room. A new addition to the hotel are the Fairmont Gold Rooms. As well as a complimentary breakfast, you'll be able to enjoy private check-in and access to an exclusive water front lounge. Again, we suggest upgrading to a Fairmont Gold Room with harbour views.

TripAdvisor rating

Based on 4786 reviews
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Key information

On the eastern edge of Victoria's Inner Harbour, a short walk from the main attractions such as the Parliament buildlings and the Downtown district

Airport transfer time: Approx. 3½-hour drive and ferry ride from Vancouver airport. Alternatively, you can take a 35-minute floatplane flight from Vancouver harbour to Victoria's Inner Harbour
Rooms: 464

Accommodation information

464 rooms and suites

Activities

• Head out on a whale-watching trip in the Strait of Juan de Fuca* • Watch the sun set from the Breakwater or Beacon Park Explore the Victoria's harbour on a sea kayak*.

Dining

Restaurant, bar

*Denotes local charge