I'm glad we visited in 2004 when we did as I just looked online almost 5 years after our visit and looked at the prices for high tea today and WOW those high teas do come with high prices. The 2009 - 2010 high tea prices ranged anywhere from $53.50 to $72.50 Canadian Dollars for what I remember is about a 90 minute sitting.
That being said the food was very good and the tea outstanding, its just that the price is to me is overwhelming for the experience. Sue did enjoy the visit so all in all it was worth it from that aspect.
The high tea is served in a relaxing atmosphere of the restored Tea Lobby which overlooks Victoria's beautiful Inner Harbor. The two pictures here are of the outside of the hotel and a fuzzy picture of the Tea Lobby.
High tea at the Empress Hotel will do itself justice when comparing it to any "high teas" in the grand hotels in London. The surroundings are elegant in the old Victorian railway hotel on the waterfront of Victoria. A bit pricey at 32$ canadian per person but if you are planning to splurge, this would be the place to do it!
I wasn't sure where to categorize this tip, so I chose "Restaurants" as you will definitely leave this place with a full stomach...
Although enjoying an Afternoon (High) Tea can be done at several places in Victoria, the nicest (and most touristy...) option is to sip your tea from the Queen's china at the impressive Empress Hotel.
Booking is imperative as the High Tea is very popular. When making the reservation, you will be requested to dress up for the occasion. Please, please do so! It adds so much to the atmosphere. When we were there, we saw some tourists in shorts and brightly coloured shirts - come on, this is the Empress, not your local McDonald's!!
Favorite Dish: Everything is yummy!!
Once the waiter has seated you, he will pour the first cuppa. (...)
We read about and were told about afternoon tea at the Empress. We made reservations before we arrived (recommended two weeks in advance). It was truly an incredible experience in this wonderful old hotel.
Favorite Dish: We were seated and served blueberries with whipped cream. Then came the tea - a special blend for the hotel. And then the tiered tray of sandwiches (salmon, cucumber, carrot, and egg salad), scones (raisin) with clotted cream and strawberry jam, ginger cookies with apricot filling, fruit tart (raspberry, mandarin orange, kiwi), and a raspberry chocolate tort.
Well, thanks to our American Dollars, this experience was way too expensive. $100 for 2 people - OUCH.
And I was not exactly impressed with the tea time itself. The service was exceptional and so was the environment. The tea was acceptable, they give you boxes of the tea at the end your dinning.
The food was ok. They bring you out a tower with a pair of each cookie/sandwich. It's 3 tier, it goes from savory to semi sweet and to really sweet. Sandwiches were plain with exception of curry sandwich and not enough. By the time you finish it you are so full of sugar and you have no space for more sandwiches which they would gladly bring to you.
The way it's done in England is that you get to pick what you want, so you don't stuff yourself with cookies and biscuits.
If you don't want to spend alot of money, but you still want to eat in the Empress, I recommend the buffet room. It was very nice. I think we paid about $15/person.
It had lots of different ethnic foods---lots of things I've never heard of before and lots that I'll probably never see again. But it was nice having the oppurtunity to try so many different things.
Favorite Dish: The buffet.
The restaurant at the Empress Hotel.
It's a gorgeous hotel, thick carpets underfoot in restaurant, plush seats and beautiful view of the harbour.
Favorite Dish: Afternoon tea.
Empress Blend Tea
Fresh Berries with Cream Chantilly
Traditional English Scones with Strawberry Jam and Jersey Cream
A selection of Tea Sandwiches (i.e. cucumber and watercress, smoked salmon and cream cheese, and egg salad)
A variety of Empress Pastries
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