A WELL STYLED LIFE

...style is more than what you wear, it's how you live your life

February 23, 2014

Royal Treatment

I first stayed at the Fairmont Empress Hotel thirty four years ago, as a newlywed. At that time, you still entered through the original front entrance. High Tea is now served in the majestic, original lobby and the entrance has been moved to a side wing. I remember our room had an enormous claw foot tub and a stunning view of the inner harbor.  
The Fairmont Empress, in Victoria, BC is regarded on the Condé Nast Gold List and Travel + Leisure 500 Best Hotels of the World.



In 1989, over $45 million was spent in the Royal Restoration; all the guest rooms were renovated, and a health club, indoor swimming pool and guest reception were added. With an emphasis on craftsmanship, no attempt was made to give the hotel a new image. Instead, the goal was to restore The Fairmont Empress to her original elegance.

Fast forward 34 years...I was accompanying my daughter to Victoria on a business trip and we brought along her little dog, Honey. 

The Fairmont Empress is not only dog friendly, they go out of their way to treat their furry guests as luxuriously as their human ones. I was seriously impressed with the service, pet owners and pets get at Fairmont Hotels.

Pets Welcome at The Fairmont Empress
We understand your cat or dog is just as much a part of the family as other members and we are delighted to provide some comforts of home while staying in Victoria.

President club welcome gift at the Fairmont Empress

We were welcomed with a tray of sweet goodies for my daughter and I.

Pet luxury at Fairmont Empress
Honey Pug got the Royal Treatment.


A fresh, soft dog bed awaited her, alongside a dish of dog treats and her own bottled water. Very chi chi and her satisfied expression told me she was quite accustomed to this treatment.

We took Honey on little shopping stroll around Victoria because pets are not allowed to be left alone in the room. I found out why...later. It seemed all of Victoria was very dog friendly. No one batted an eye as we brought her in and out of the shops.

boutiques and shopping in Victoria, BC Canada

We found some Marcia Moran earrings that my daughter fell madly for and I bought a candle to add ambiance to our hotel room.

room service at Fairmont Empress Hotel

Daughter left for a business dinner, while Honey and I settled in for the night. The room service menu didn't have what I wanted, so I just asked for what I hoped to eat. No problem!

Twenty minutes later they wheeled in Grilled Cajun Wild Salmon, atop a Caesar Salad with extra Parmesan cheese. It's one of my favorite things to eat. A nice glass of wine, comfy bed...what else could I need?

chocolate covered strawberries compliments of Fairmont Empress


I did have to skip getting chocolates on our pillows, with the turn down service, because Honey wanted to eat the nice lady who knocked at our door to offer. I assume this is why pets are not allowed to be left alone in the room. No problem, I just finished the tray of sweets they'd left for us earlier.

The Kobo candle I bought, cleverly comes with a small book of matches attached to their travel size. I had a great book, mounds of soft bed pillows, cushy mattress, scented candle, loud dog snoring...perfect.

~

Next morning, Honey decided to try out the people bed while I was in the shower. I'm pretty sure this is why the hotel supplies dog beds...to keep the K9 guests on the floor. 

fairmont empress, Vicgtoria BC
Butter wouldn't melt in this sweetheart's mouth...but a naive tourist would.


It was a cold, but clear day so I took Honey for a walk around Victoria Harbor where she attempted to kill bite a tourist. Honestly, I only looked away for a short second. The next thing I see, a man is crouching down to her at face level, with his arms wide open. Just as he's saying, "what a cute..." She lunges with all teeth bared.  Embarrassing beast but she's really sweet...honestly.

She's still working on "which side of the pole do you walk around?" 

Five days after this excursion, my husband and I went up to The Fairmont Chateau Whistler for a Valentines weekend and passed a gentleman walking two a Great Danes into the lobby. 

Dog friendly policies at The Fairmont Chateau Whistler include:
Pet sitters can be arranged through the Concierge desk (pet-sitting fees apply).
The Furrmont Club (Fairmont's exclusive dog-friendly program) offers use of plush dog beds, dog bowls, baggies, turndown and dog towels for paw scrubs after a walk.
Dog treats are available through In Room Dining.

Who knew?  Pet sitting, dog rub down, turndown service for dogs!! Amazing. 

My dog has never had the pleasure of staying at a Fairmont because we don't usually bring her on holiday. If we decide to in the future, I know where we'll stay...a Fairmont Hotel. 

Do you travel with your pets on vacation?

27 comments:

  1. I love the Empress Hotel. We stayed their on our wedding night almost 40 years ago. The Spa is amazing as is the Bengal Room. How fabulous that they made you a special dinner, it looks delicious! It sounds like you have been sampling a lot of the good things that make life just a wee bit more enjoyable.
    I had no idea that the hotel was dog friendly and your daughter has a cute puppy!

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    1. I have been. My trip to Vancouver, Victoria and Whistler were just what the Dr ordered!! Glorious and now the diet resumes.

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  2. Love this! Our Indy is cute but known to turn vicious when a stranger gets in his face! I've always wanted to stay at the empress. Fairmont sold the Algonquin in St. Andrews to the Marriott group and am planning to go for a night there in May. Love those old hotels - so elegant!

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    1. They really are fantastic. I knew Honey could be a bit testy, but I had no idea how totally postal she could go. Will always keep a firm grip on her leash.

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  3. We spent part of our honeymoon at the Empress as well! (after canoeing some lakes on the island's West Coast). And no, I'm unlikely ever to take a pet to a hotel with me, but good to know they can be so well treated. . . (also love the Fairmont Banff Springs but most especially their Chateau Montebello in Quebec!)

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    1. Totally agree about the Fairmont Banff Springs but haven't had the pleasure of staying at Chateau. Montebello...yet!

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  4. Oh...The Empress...so lovely and traditional to this day! I was not aware of how pet friendly the Fairmont properties are. We always comment on the number of dogs we see in the upper village, at Whistler. Honey Pug looked quite comfortable in the people bed! Our timeshare, (Club Intrawest),is located across the courtyard from The Chateau Fairmont. We pop over for dessert, (the a m a z i n g chocolate fondue!), and music in the Mallard Lounge, or blueberry tea by the fire on the patio. How wonderful and romantic to be in Whistler on Valentine's Day. Thank you for sharing your photos of Whistler on your sidebar. Jennifer, Is the sweet face that popped up your grand child? I spied Lucy as well!
    Have a lovely week,
    w/L

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    1. I missed that chocolate fondue:( but adored the Mallard Lounge with its huge roaring fireplace. Such a cozy spot. Yes, that is my little darling, James popping up on my Instagram roll. And Lucy, sunbathing spread eagle :) She has no shame. Enjoy you week. xo

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  5. I am in love with little Honey, and everything about this post!!!! Place, story, great photos, etc.....Wish I was there! I travel quite a bit with my dog. It is hard on him, but when I leave him behind I miss him terribly. Glad you had such a wonderful mother daughter trip.

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    1. I enjoyed following you and your beautiful Miss Alice on your trip to Washington! Honey is quite the character.

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  6. Treats galore, even doggy ones how fabulous. I think the US is the only place that offers High Tea nowadays, it has pretty much fallen away here in favour of Afternoon Tea, I remember I used to see adverts for it up till about the age of 7, it sounded so grand.

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    1. The last time I had a High Tea I didn't need to eat for the whole next day. It's very grand at the Empress.

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  7. OMG - a turndown service for doggies? Too cute! Funny enough - considering the UK is dog crazy they aren't allowed in so many places...This looks such a treat and your pug is sooo adorable!

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    1. Isn't it amazing? Carmel is hugely dog friendly, but I was surprised to learn about all these luxurious Fairmonts catering to pets. It's really above and beyond.

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  8. Miss Honey is gorgeous. My grandparents used to live in Victoria so growing up I spent a fair but of time at the Empress. You've brought back some lovely memories. I had no idea Fairmonts were so pet friendly. I might plan met summer around that...

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    1. Of course Serena would be so beautifully behaved. No eating the housemaid for her, I'm sure.

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    2. Serena just pretends to be a lady. She attacks vacuums, mops and brooms: the breeder says she must have been a disgruntled domestic in a former life. She'd be chasing the housemaids for sure!

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    3. Serena is so damn cute, she could get away with murder. Honey is suspicious and attacks all cleaning implements also. I love the idea of her being a disgruntled domestic in a prior life!!

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  9. Yes! we do travel with our dogs:) Layla will be joining us this weekend for a weekender as we are having our hardwoods resurfaced. We've also taken our beloved pets to Whistler and will do so again this summer.

    This looks like a beautiful spot to stay and I'm sure you and your daughter had lots of fun!! We've been to Victoria but have not stayed here so we will need to check this out at some point.

    xxleslie

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    1. And I need to revisit Whistler in the summer! It was so fabulous in the snow, but much of our view was blocked because it was foggy and snowing.

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  10. Beautiful, Jennifer! I've never stayed there but go to Victoria often. In fact, we're heading over there today. It's so quaint and nice shopping. Your puppy is adorable!

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    1. The shopping is wonderful. Lovely boutiques and fabulous places to eat. Enjoy your trip over.

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  11. NEVER……………..for fear they would do something BAD!My pets are a tad bigger!I have noticed a lot of people in shops however with their little dogs………..seems to be the new in thing to do!Nice to be able to take them with you but I am afraid they would do the wrong thing at the wrong time!!!!

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  12. Well I don't have pets, except my husband. And sometimes I travel with him. Your stay looks heavenly. A perfect mother/daughter/pet trip. Girls revel in that kind of thing. Since we are in Oregon now, I'm going to have to look into this hotel. Even sans the dog. It was so much fun to go along with you vicariously.

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  13. Oh what memories! The Empress is such a gorgeous place! But now I really want to go back with my dogs! How delightful to find out that such a glamorous place treats furry friends as valued guests as well!
    Great post!
    OXOX

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  14. Sounds like Honey is quite a character, Jennifer. Were you and your daughter staying on club level or upgraded room? I stayed at the Empress in 2005, and I heard some rooms were better than ours. Our room was huge with a living room, but it was dated, and the maids certainly didn't make up our beds as well as yours looked. I could see the old striped mattress. Of course, this was a long time ago. I adored the tea though and the atmosphere of the hotel.

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    1. Honey is a very funny little dog. We were in their standard, pet friendly room at club level. The hotel has gone through some massive renovations so may be quite different now. Our room wasn't as large as yours, but nicely appointed, especially considering they allowed pets in the room! I love the atmosphere and history of the older parts of the hotel too.

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