High Tea at Fairmont Empress

Aug 4th, 2004, 11:40 AM
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High Tea at Fairmont Empress

What is the dress code for going to tea at the Empress in Victoria, BC? Will Docker trousers with a nice collared casual shirt be alright? I don't want to wear a tie nor do I want to stand out like a sore thumb. How about appropriate dress for a lady?
Shea is offline  
Aug 4th, 2004, 02:29 PM
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What you propose to wear sounds fine to me. Absence of a tie won't make you stand out. The last time I crossed the lobby in the Empress (about two years ago) the tone was what you might think of as the upper end of casual Friday. I'm not sure what the female equivalent of that would be; tailored slacks or a skirt would be fine. It's not necessary for a lady to wear a dress.

Just a word to the wise (and you may already have found out): high tea is not actually what is served at the Empress. The phrase "high tea" refers to a cooked meal, quite substantial and high in calories, that traditionally (this isn't my own theory - I'm just repeating what others will also tell you) was served in working class families around dinner time. I don't know what the word "high" means in this context.

The meal that the Empress serves is just called "tea." That is a light meal with cucumber sandwiches, scones, pastries, various kinds of tea and so on.

Hope this helps.
Vorkuta is offline  
Aug 4th, 2004, 03:56 PM
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And, this tea costs $30 a head !
Bedar is offline  
Aug 4th, 2004, 04:13 PM
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Last I heard it's more like $45 in summer.
April is offline  
Aug 5th, 2004, 07:59 AM
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$45.00!!! for munchies. I knew it was pricey but not that pricey. Maybe I need to do some more checking concerning places to go for this treat in Victoria. Thanks.
Shea is offline  
Aug 5th, 2004, 10:27 AM
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I had posted about this a couple of weeks ago when we first got back from our annual BC holiday, but it got lost far down the archives somewhere! Anyway - the Victoria Times-Colonist published an article in mid-July about their 5 favourite places for afternoon tea. They mentioned the Empress only in passing. It used to be a real experience - a friend told us that in days gone by, there were a number of elderly ladies actually living there who would descend daily for tea, and the atmosphere was consequently very elegant. However, now what you mostly see are busloads of tourists. And I believe it's up to even more than $45 including tax.
The Times-Colonist recommended the Four Mile Cafe. We went there and liked it, but it wasn't super-fantastic. I'd strongly recommend Point Ellice House or the White Heather Tea Room. Both have lovely ambience and the food is wonderful - for a fraction of what you'd pay at the Empress. The Four Mile served an excellent tea (the scones were pure heaven) but the atmosphere was more pub than tearoom.
Meesthare is offline  
Aug 5th, 2004, 10:50 AM
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I just called the Empress. A whopping $49.95 for tea until Sept. 6! (The price doesn't drop to about $26 until January/February.) You can get a wonderful "not so wee tea" at the White Heather for about $15.
April is offline  
Aug 5th, 2004, 02:14 PM
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We are staying at a hotel on Belleville Street. Is the Four Mile Cafe & the White Heather Tea Room within walking distance? I understand Point Ellice House is across the bay & a ferry can take you there. Where in the Inner Harbor do you catch the ferry? How often does it run? Is it recommended that reservations be made at the foregoing establishments? Thanks for all the good info.
Shea is offline  
Aug 5th, 2004, 03:42 PM
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You can get to Point Ellice House via water taxi; I think they're fairly visible throughout the Inner Harbour. Reservations for tea there are probably necessary. I believe they have a website and that will tell you a bit more about the place; you get a tour of the historic home with an audio headset - well worth the little bit of time it takes - and you can walk through the gardens, which are gorgeous. They've restored the gardens with old roses and other heirloom flowers that you rarely see anywhere else. The tea is yummy, and you can get lavender lemonade, if you like, instead of actual tea. It's served on the lawn.
The Four Mile Cafe is on the Old Highway - I suspect not within walking distance of where you're staying, but somebody who knows the city better than I do will be able to answer that one. The White Heather is, I believe, in Oak Bay.
Meesthare is offline  
Aug 5th, 2004, 08:02 PM
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You can grab a water taxi on the lower causeway at the harbour. I believe they also stop on the Belleville St. side. Neither of the other two tea rooms are within walking distance. The White Heather, on Oak Bay Ave., would be an easy bus ride. I don't know when you plan to visit but you should know that it will be closed for a couple of weeks in September.
April is offline  
Aug 6th, 2004, 01:50 PM
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Question, April..... were the prices you cited in US or Canadian dollars?
Retired_teacher is offline  
Aug 6th, 2004, 05:15 PM
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April is offline  
Aug 9th, 2012, 01:34 AM
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I have been a Front Desk Clerk at The Empress Hotel, Victoria, BC for several years and I can give you the exact answer regarding the dress code for Afternoon Tea.
The phrase "High Tea" comes from: " The meal being eaten at the high (main) table, rather than the smaller table common in living rooms in 19th Century Middle to Upper Class families. "
Yes, I do agree it is not cheap to have Afternoon Tea at The Empress Hotel, however that is because they serve their own blend of tea, called "The Empress Blend" which is exclusively manufactured by a company named, "The Murchies". The Murchies' tea have been consumed by The British Royal Family for decades.
Besides the special "Empress Blend" tea, Afternoon Tea also comes with seasonal fruit, cucumber sandwiches, scones, tarts, cookies and a few other baked goods and sweets. From my personal experience I can tell you that the Afternoon Tea will fill you up quite a bit and therefore I suggest you think of it as a meal. Tea seating times are 11:30am, 1:00pm, 2:30pm and 4:00pm daily. If you have the tea anytime after 2:30pm, you may want to delay your dinner until 7, 8 or even 9 o'clock....it is that filling. In my personal opinion, the best way to have the Afternoon Tea would be to try and get into an early seating time (11:30am or 1:00pm) and simply enjoy it as a lunch.
laciesmama is offline  
Aug 9th, 2012, 12:16 PM
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Interesting but 8 years too late.
traveller69 is offline  
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