A masterpiece by master architect of Victoria, Francis Mawson Rattenbury, this imposing but gracious hotel is featured prominently in the city’s skyline. It overlooks one side of Inner Harbour and is flanked by a formal Rose Garden on the south side. On my first visit to Victoria, I immediately recognized the Empress because I had seen it so many times in photos and postcards that to me, that was the symbol of the city.
Inside the hotel, there are wonderfully grand lobbies and expensive stores to stroll through as well as the famous English afternoon tea that everyone talks about. This takes place in the main lobby and the prices are quite high. Many consider it a rip-off, but for once in a lifetime, why not? I usually don’t like to do the touristy thing, but even I could not resist the urge to travel back in time. Be sure to see the Palm Court with its stained glass dome and take a walk in the Rose Garden.
An added attraction in a side wing of the hotel is Miniature World. Boasted as "The Greatest Little Show on Earth," this is a great place to take your kids or if you have a passion for miniature scenes like "The Enchanted Valley of Castles," "Space 2201," and elaborate dollhouses. There is also the world’s smallest working sawmill and the world’s largest train set.
If you only have a few days to spend in Victoria, I would skip this side trip and spend your time exploring the beautiful outdoors instead.
Here is the website for Miniature World: http://www.miniatureworld.com/. It is located at 649 Humboldt Street,Tel: (250) 385-9731