It’s no secret to readers of my blog that I am often late in putting together posts. I have a huge backlog of photos and posts to be made. And I’m trying to get through them methodically. In this case, I am 8 months overdue…
So yes, here we are in September, and I am finally putting up our Valentine’s Day getaway weekend on Vancouver Island with Allan.
Our first stop for the weekend was Victoria. Victoria has charm, no doubt, but really I love to travel there for the food, and for the accomodations.
One of my favourite places to stay in the whole world… the Fairmont Empress Hotel. Yes, it is old, traditional, and a little bit stodgy… but that’s why I love it.
It’s all about attention to detail. Beautiful fabrics, wallpaper, patterns, furniture, lighting, moulding…
The rooms are small and simple. Ours had a great view of the Victoria harbour…
A quick walk on some cobblestone streets in the moonlight for some fresh air, and then off to dinner…
Victoria is well-known for its fantastic restaurants… but my favourite happens to be right in the hotel. The “Empress Room” is the main dining room at the hotel. Whenever I eat here, I am whisked away to another world from another time…
Nothing is modern here. There’s nothing innovative or unusual about the decor or the food. This isn’t a trendy place to go. It’s not the place to see-or-be-seen. This is where you go if you want delicious, traditional food that is incredibly rich with absolutely the best service in all of BC.
The Empress has recently reworked their drink menu and their bartenders have gone through extensive training to mix drinks the “classic” Victorian way. I don’t know what that is, but each drink we had was strong, clean, fragrant, and tasty.
The food is SO good here. While it may not be for everyone’s palate, it really does suit mine. The flavours are always spot on, and their menu is always local and seasonal. But best of all, it’s always extremely rich. Nothing subtle here. I can’t say enough about the service. Although we always try to be seated at Earl’s table (my favourite waiter), every member of staff is impeccable and courteous. Yes, the silver platters are an over-the-top traditional touch. I don’t care. It’s awesome.
Dessert is always amazing too. This time Allan tried a peach cobbler, and I had the chocolate marshmallows with gold leaf. No ordinary marshmallow, it was filled with homemade marshmallows, hazelnut filling, and a crumbly dark chocolate crust at the bottom… then dipped in dark chocolate. Mmmmm.
You can’t help but feel a little small in the room. All the furniture, lighting, wallpapers and fabrics are ridiculously decadent. But there’s a large wood burning fireplace at the end of the room that softens it all and makes you feel like you’re at home. It’s kind of like being in your rich grandma’s house from another life.
Every floor has different patterns, decor, and antique pieces and fine art on display.
We love to wander the hallways in the hotel.
I loved this lamp in our room.
Of course, no Valentine’s Day is complete without a little cherry-red lace!
I fell in love with this antique armoire in our hallway.
The morning came a little too early and of course we had to order room service.
Then it was off to the Empress Spa for a couple’s massage and some rest and relaxation in their mineral pool. We definitely felt pampered.
We said goodbye to the hotel. Opened in 1908. It’s one of those places you go to visit because you know everything is going to stay the same.
And well, as for the rest of the weekend? I had already covered that in a previous post. It was off to Mount Washington near Courtenay on Vancouver Island to visit friends and snowboard our little hearts out.