Afternoon tea, served daily from noon to 5PM, is a memorable experience at the Fairmont Empress in Victoria. Reservations are definitely required. It is served in the elegant Tea Lobby in the older part of the hotel overlooking the Inner Harbor.
Tables for two line the windows and larger tables are set further back. Many groups are seen here and multigenerational families all seem to enjoy socializing and relaxing while the soft piano music is heard in the background. Everyone is smartly dressed and quite a few men are seen in sport jackets.
Your experience begins with the serving of seasonal fruit - we had fresh sweet strawberries with whipped cream. Two silver pots of tea - one black and one green - are placed on your table. Champagne and wine are also available at an additional charge.
A Royal Doulton china serving tier is then presented - five tea sandwiches on the lower tier- thinly sliced cucumber on white bread, carrot and cream cheese on grain, a pinwheel of smoked salmon and cream cheese, egg salad on a toasted crouton and my favorite - curried chicken on whole wheat.
The second tier holds melt in your mouth scones with strawberry preserves and clotted cream. Ready for dessert?? Four small selections of pastries created by the in house award winning pastry chef - a puff filled with white chocolate, a short-bread butter cookie to dip in tea, pound cake with dried fruit and plum topping and a rich Valronah chocolate cup.
This room exudes a true feeling of elegance. It is a substantial presentation that served us well for lunch. Follow this by a walk along the Inner Harbor just across the street where you can wander along to peruse the craft market or find a bench in the shade and enjoy the ongoing street performers and musicians. Even the boat traffic, ferries and float planes will keep your attention for hours.
The price is dear - $58 per person not including wine or champagne - but the memory is forever.....A not to be missed experience.