Every person we’ve had come visit from out of town raves about experiencing high tea at the Empress. They either know someone that has been or takes it upon themselves to visit the Empress Hotel. Although I’ve lived here for awhile it’s not something we residence tend to do regularly.
In fact if we do get the chance it almost always is because we either take someone (from out of town) or we are celebrating a special occasion. In my case it was the week Victoria BC promotes the locals attractions. “Be a tourist in your hometown.”
Residents of Victoria get offered a passport booklet filled with discounts and freebies. This weekend we were offered 50% off afternoon tea at the Empress Hotel. It was still expensive, if you ask me for a cuppa but it’s all about the atmosphere and experience. After all it’s a grand and impressive historical building that is located in the Inner Harbour.
Making a reservation is encouraged, as no matter what day it is it’s always a busy place. The service was outstanding! We arrived, were seated and served within minutes. A great thing when toddlers accompany you. I noticed some highchairs, lots of baby strollers and toddlers sitting up high on their comfortable furniture. Even with the elegance offered every parent looked relaxed enjoying their visit with their young kids. There were lots of older people too as well as groups of University students. Making the Empress Hotel a place for everyone to come and enjoy afternoon tea along with their 3-tier tray of treats.
Over the years I’ve heard their special tea blends that were described as like no others, some of the best tea ever tasted. Regular tea drinkers have described the tea as “out of this world”. The tea comes from six estates, including Kenya, Tanzania, South India, Assam, Sri Lanka, and China.
Since we were considering our toddler we stuck with the herbal Kea Lani Orange Pineapple blend. A bold and bright orange pineapple tea made from all natural herbs and dry fruit. This is not my toddlers first time drinking herbal tea, she is a regular afternoon herbal tea drinker! She obviously agreed with the taste because she had no problem downing a cuppa.
Along with the tea experience comes the treats. Starting with fresh strawberries and Empress cream. This followed a 3-tier tray that included sandwiches, scones and sweets. Needless to say we ended up taking the sweets home because it was so much food.
One extremely fine touch that impressed me was the 10-bag box of Empress tea to take home that came with the bill. Now that is what you call serve with a smile!
Next time we have guests there is no doubt I too will rave about afternoon tea at the Empress Hotel. Having experienced it now first hand – I will be recommending it with the hope that I might be asked to join, of course!