Is Upgrading to Gold Worth it at The Fairmont Empress in Victoria, BC?

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Curated By

Melisa Markegard

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Is Upgrading to Gold Worth it at The Fairmont Empress in Victoria, BC?
Curator’s statement

In September of 2023, I made an anniversary stay with the “Gold” upgrade at The Fairmont Empress. The property is known as the “castle by the coast” and it is a fantastic place for couples, families and their pets to stay. From entering the hotel to the check-in process, I was impressed with the attentive and accommodating staff the entire time. I would stay here again and recommend my friends, family and clients to stay here while visiting Victoria, BC whether or not they get the “Gold” upgrade.

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Insider knowledge

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Where to stay

Hotel Fairmont Empress

Elegant property set in a chateau-style building from 1908 with upscale rooms and suites offering harbour views.

Fora Perks
  • $100 hotel / resort credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

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Trip Overview

Location:

The hotel is located right in the heart of downtown, which is known as the Inner Harbor of Victoria. You will be within walking distance to the many shops, restaurants and historical sites such as the government building. There are several ways to get to the property.

Victoria International Airport is about a 30-minute drive. Ride share is limited; therefore, it is best to utilize a rental car service that is available at the airport.

  • Arriving by Seaplane:

Harbor Air and Kenmore Air terminals are both located right across the street from the hotel, which is about a five-minute walk.

  • Arriving by ferries:

  • From Seattle, WA, the Clipper ferry terminal is about a 10-minute walk or there are plenty of taxis available.

  • From Port Angeles, WA, the Black Ball ferry, which is a passenger & car, is about a 10-minute walk or there are plenty of taxis available.

  • From Vancouver, BC, the Tsawwassen ferry, which is a passenger & car, is about a 35-minute drive. The ferry terminal is located in Swartz Bay, BC on Vancouver Island.

Harbor View from hotel room - Melisa Markegard

About the Hotel:

The Empress has undergone a major renovation, which has modernized the rooms, lobby and Gold Lounge. There are two room categories with various room types. By selecting the Fairmont Gold, you unlock additional benefits, which include access to the Gold Lounge, private check-in/check-out, and private concierge.

Fairmont Room Types

  1. City views or Deluxe with either a king, queen or double beds. Room size is from 260SF to 420SF.

  2. Harbor or Harbor Deluxe views with king, queen or double beds. Room size is from 260SF to 420SF.

  3. Large suites, which you can choose from one-bedrooms to two-bedrooms. Room size is from 450SF to 750SF.

Fairmont Gold Room types

  1. City views or Deluxe with either a king, queen or double beds. Room size is from 260SF to 420SF.

  2. Harbor or Harbor Deluxe views with king, queen or double beds. Room size is from 260SF to 420SF.

  3. Large suites, which you can choose from one-bedrooms to two-bedrooms. Room size is from 450SF to 750SF.

We stayed in the Fairmont Gold City View King room, which was the upgrade from the Fairmont City View Queen. I had originally put us on a stand-by waiting list for an upgrade for a fee if available. However, going that route is a bit cumbersome as there are no guarantees and you wouldn’t be able to utilize the private check- in by upgrading to Gold. About 72 hours before our arrival time, I contacted the hotel about an upgrade and they gave us a guaranteed upgrade for about $100/night + taxes and a corner room that gave us a small view of the Inner Harbor. Some may think that it is a bit much for an upgraded room. But the biggest perk for the upgrade is the Gold Lounge.

Fairmont Gold Lounge:

The lounge has been completely renovated and it offers a place to feel like a home away from home. There is a large kitchen area that offers complimentary breakfast, non-alcoholic drinks and evening capes. There is also an Honor bar that offers premium selected beers, wines and spirits. The lounge has a private deck with seating and fireplaces that showcases the Inner Harbor. One of my favorite perks of the lounge is the staff can make fresh smoothies, fresh tea and various different types of coffee drinks.

Link to Lounge review on my Instagram @travellingmellon.

Coffee in the lounge - Melisa Markegard

The Pool & Fitness Center:

The pool and fitness center are complimentary to all guests staying at the Empress. There is also a sauna available for use, and it is located in both the women’s and men’s locker rooms. The best time to utilize the pool and fitness center is in the early morning, as there are fewer people. The evenings are very busy.

Need to Know

I highly recommend the Fairmont Empress to all of my friends, family and clients for honeymoons, romantic getaways, and family vacations. To answer the question, “Is the Gold upgrade worth it?” I would say yes, and take advantage of it! By getting the upgrade to Gold, you unlock a level of service that makes you feel like an Empress or Emperor on your trip. The Fairmont Empress is definitely the place to stay while visiting Victoria, BC.

This trip report is part of our ongoing series on travel to BC, Canada. In need of further inspiration? Check out Elizabeth Coffey’s guide, The Best Places to Stay in Vancouver, British Columbia.

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Travel Advisor

Melisa Markegard

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