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VICTORIA, BRITISH COLUMBIA

Victorian Christmas at the Grand Empress

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Road Scholar
Program #18099RJ
5 Days | 4 Nights
ACTIVITY LEVEL: Easy
EasyFor people looking to exercise their minds more than their bodies. There’s minimal walking and not too many stairs.
ModerateThese programs get you on your feet and include activities such as walking up to a mile in a day through a city and standing in a museum for a few hours.
ActiveFor people who enjoy walking as much as two miles a day, perhaps to explore historic neighborhoods or a nature trail.
Moderately ChallengingFor hardy explorers who enjoy a good physical challenge, spending most of their days on the go.
ChallengingGet ready to keep up with our highest-energy group. These demanding — and rewarding — programs are for seasoned outdoor enthusiasts.

Itinerary for Dec 22 — Dec 26, 2014

Expand all
Type: Five-Star Hotel

Description: The Fairmont Empress Hotel, located on Victoria, British Columbia's, Inner Harbour, was named for Queen Victoria, Empress of India. Designed by Francis Rattenbury and built by the Canadian Pacific Railway, the Victoria Fairmont Empress Hotel has enchanted guests to Victoria BC since its opening in 1908. Rising regally on the banks of Victoria's Inner Harbour and representing the center of British Columbia's Capital City, The Fairmont Empress has been completely restored to her turn-of-the-century beauty. The Fairmont Empress displays the grandeur of a bygone era, her facilities and services meet the needs of today's traveler. There was some consideration in the 1960's to tear down the aging hotel and build a modern high rise, but public outcry over the idea lead to a four million dollar restoration instead, called "Operation Teacup." The "Royal Restoration" was completed in 1989 at a cost of forty-five million dollars, and added modern facilities such as an indoor swimming pool as well as refurbishing all the guest rooms. Today the Empress hotel retains all of its old world charm and grandeur with antique furniture and opulent decor, while at the same time offering modern luxury.

Contact info:
721 Government Street
Victoria, BC V8W 1W5 Canada
phone: 250-384-8111
web: www.fairmont.com/empress

Room amenities: Plush bathrobes, cable television, in-room movies, coffee maker, mini-bar fridge, hair dryer, luxurious down-filled duvets, telephone & voice mail, and windows that open to outside. Excellent Room Service. High speed and wireless Internet access available ($$), and a Business Centre. Wireless internet access in all guestrooms, it is complimentary for our Fairmont President's Club members, free to join.

Facility amenities: The Fairmont Empress features many exclusive amenities; exquisite dining, Victorian-era architecture, executive business services and the luxurious Willowstream Spa. Enjoy our Afternoon Tea in the magnificent Tea Lobby surrounded by handcrafted tapestries, lovely moldings and polished, hard wood floors. Afternoon Tea is one of Victoria's greatest traditions, and one of the many services that sets The Fairmont Empress apart. The Fairmont Empress has a fully-equipped gym and indoor heated pool and whirlpool area. The Fairmont Empress also offers in-room services such as a work area, computer dataports and direct phone lines. Laundry services are also available.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes

Additional nights before: Various upgrades
Upgrades available, to arrange please call the Tour Office at the Empress Hotel at (250) 995-3665 or email emp.tours@fairmont.com. Please mention that you are part of the Road Scholar (Elderhostel group) and they can provide complete details on availability and additional fees.

Check in time: 4:00 PM


Day One: Monday, December 22 - Arrival and Check-In/Welcome Dinner/Orientation
Note: Participants are encouraged to arrive a day or two before the program starts to be able to spend a little more time enjoying the city. The hotel offers reasonable rates on extra nights, and also on room upgrades.

Afternoon: Check in at the Fairmont Empress Hotel is any time after 4:00 p.m. If you arrive earlier the hotel will store your luggage and have it in your room when you check in. Meet your group leader in the Library between 4:00 - 5:00 p.m. to register and pick up your program packet.

Dinner: Dinner at the Fairmont Empress Hotel at 6:00 p.m. in one of its fine dining rooms to experience the finest in personal service and outstanding cuisine.

Evening: After dinner there will be an orientation to the program and introductions. This is a time to meet new friends and set the stage for the festivities!! Please be aware that program activities and scheduled times could change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Lodging: The Fairmont Empress Hotel

Meals Included: Dinner
Type: Five-Star Hotel

Description: The Fairmont Empress Hotel, located on Victoria, British Columbia's, Inner Harbour, was named for Queen Victoria, Empress of India. Designed by Francis Rattenbury and built by the Canadian Pacific Railway, the Victoria Fairmont Empress Hotel has enchanted guests to Victoria BC since its opening in 1908. Rising regally on the banks of Victoria's Inner Harbour and representing the center of British Columbia's Capital City, The Fairmont Empress has been completely restored to her turn-of-the-century beauty. The Fairmont Empress displays the grandeur of a bygone era, her facilities and services meet the needs of today's traveler. There was some consideration in the 1960's to tear down the aging hotel and build a modern high rise, but public outcry over the idea lead to a four million dollar restoration instead, called "Operation Teacup." The "Royal Restoration" was completed in 1989 at a cost of forty-five million dollars, and added modern facilities such as an indoor swimming pool as well as refurbishing all the guest rooms. Today the Empress hotel retains all of its old world charm and grandeur with antique furniture and opulent decor, while at the same time offering modern luxury.

Contact info:
721 Government Street
Victoria, BC V8W 1W5 Canada
phone: 250-384-8111
web: www.fairmont.com/empress

Room amenities: Plush bathrobes, cable television, in-room movies, coffee maker, mini-bar fridge, hair dryer, luxurious down-filled duvets, telephone & voice mail, and windows that open to outside. Excellent Room Service. High speed and wireless Internet access available ($$), and a Business Centre. Wireless internet access in all guestrooms, it is complimentary for our Fairmont President's Club members, free to join.

Facility amenities: The Fairmont Empress features many exclusive amenities; exquisite dining, Victorian-era architecture, executive business services and the luxurious Willowstream Spa. Enjoy our Afternoon Tea in the magnificent Tea Lobby surrounded by handcrafted tapestries, lovely moldings and polished, hard wood floors. Afternoon Tea is one of Victoria's greatest traditions, and one of the many services that sets The Fairmont Empress apart. The Fairmont Empress has a fully-equipped gym and indoor heated pool and whirlpool area. The Fairmont Empress also offers in-room services such as a work area, computer dataports and direct phone lines. Laundry services are also available.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes

Additional nights before: Various upgrades
Upgrades available, to arrange please call the Tour Office at the Empress Hotel at (250) 995-3665 or email emp.tours@fairmont.com. Please mention that you are part of the Road Scholar (Elderhostel group) and they can provide complete details on availability and additional fees.

Check in time: 4:00 PM


Day Two: Tuesday, December 23 - Christmas Traditions/Historic Walk of Victoria/Bu...
Note: You will be enjoying outdoor activities today. Please dress warmly for winter weather.

Breakfast: Buffet breakfast at hotel.

Morning: Discover Christmas traditions and learn about the fascinating ways Christmas was celebrated in Victoria, from the days of Fort Victoria to the present day. Following the presentation we embark on a walking excursion through Old Town, the historic heart of Victoria, where Christmas traditions and colorful stories abound. Hear true accounts of how Christmas was celebrated during the days of Fort Victoria and the gold-rush era. Many indoor locations are included, with places to sit. After the walking tour, you will have free time to explore the downtown of Victoria on your own, take in a visit to the Royal BC Museum with its excellent displays.

Lunch: Lunch on your own to explore the local fare or join the Group Leader (at a local restaurant).

Afternoon: Visit the renowned Butchart Gardens which boasts fifty-five acres of wonderful floral display, meandering paths and expansive lawns. Truly one of the loveliest corners in the world, the gardens are always in season. They are particularly intriguing during the holiday season, when tens of thousands of colored lights combine with evergreen swags and wreaths of holly and winter berries to line walkways and festoon lamp posts in the gardens. The ever-popular Twelve Days of Christmas displays are tucked away within The Gardens and a recreational skating rink creates a truly spectacular winter wonderland.

Dinner: Dinner at Butchart Gardens.

Lodging: The Fairmont Empress Hotel

Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner
Type: Five-Star Hotel

Description: The Fairmont Empress Hotel, located on Victoria, British Columbia's, Inner Harbour, was named for Queen Victoria, Empress of India. Designed by Francis Rattenbury and built by the Canadian Pacific Railway, the Victoria Fairmont Empress Hotel has enchanted guests to Victoria BC since its opening in 1908. Rising regally on the banks of Victoria's Inner Harbour and representing the center of British Columbia's Capital City, The Fairmont Empress has been completely restored to her turn-of-the-century beauty. The Fairmont Empress displays the grandeur of a bygone era, her facilities and services meet the needs of today's traveler. There was some consideration in the 1960's to tear down the aging hotel and build a modern high rise, but public outcry over the idea lead to a four million dollar restoration instead, called "Operation Teacup." The "Royal Restoration" was completed in 1989 at a cost of forty-five million dollars, and added modern facilities such as an indoor swimming pool as well as refurbishing all the guest rooms. Today the Empress hotel retains all of its old world charm and grandeur with antique furniture and opulent decor, while at the same time offering modern luxury.

Contact info:
721 Government Street
Victoria, BC V8W 1W5 Canada
phone: 250-384-8111
web: www.fairmont.com/empress

Room amenities: Plush bathrobes, cable television, in-room movies, coffee maker, mini-bar fridge, hair dryer, luxurious down-filled duvets, telephone & voice mail, and windows that open to outside. Excellent Room Service. High speed and wireless Internet access available ($$), and a Business Centre. Wireless internet access in all guestrooms, it is complimentary for our Fairmont President's Club members, free to join.

Facility amenities: The Fairmont Empress features many exclusive amenities; exquisite dining, Victorian-era architecture, executive business services and the luxurious Willowstream Spa. Enjoy our Afternoon Tea in the magnificent Tea Lobby surrounded by handcrafted tapestries, lovely moldings and polished, hard wood floors. Afternoon Tea is one of Victoria's greatest traditions, and one of the many services that sets The Fairmont Empress apart. The Fairmont Empress has a fully-equipped gym and indoor heated pool and whirlpool area. The Fairmont Empress also offers in-room services such as a work area, computer dataports and direct phone lines. Laundry services are also available.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes

Additional nights before: Various upgrades
Upgrades available, to arrange please call the Tour Office at the Empress Hotel at (250) 995-3665 or email emp.tours@fairmont.com. Please mention that you are part of the Road Scholar (Elderhostel group) and they can provide complete details on availability and additional fees.

Check in time: 4:00 PM


Day Three: Wednesday, December 24 - Craigdarroch Castle/History and Tradition of Afte...
Craigdarroch Castle/History and Tradition of Afternoon Tea/Horse Drawn Trolley Ride

Note: You will be enjoying outdoor activities today. Please dress warmly for winter weather. Craigdarroch Castle activity is rated as moderate due to the fact that there are stairs encountered at the historic castle; no elevator is available. There is also a short walk uphill to get to the castle.

Breakfast: Buffet breakfast at hotel.

Morning: Experience the magic of Victoria's history with a visit to Craigdarroch Castle. A video presentation will provide some history and context before we explore the castle. Built in the late 1800s and decked out in its Victorian finery for the holiday season, the mansion features magnificent woodwork, period furnishings, and the most prominent collection of stained and leaded glass on the West Coast. The Castle was built as the home of Robert Dunsmuir, the richest man in nineteenth century British Columbia, and his remarkable wife, Joan.

Lunch: Lunch at Milestones.

Afternoon: A presentation will explore The History and Tradition of Afternoon Tea. . Learn the rich background of the tradition of Afternoon Tea during a special presentation this afternoon. The time honored tradition will be explained as well as an explanation of the tea trade throughout the world, and the various kinds of teas and their health benefits. There will be some free time to relax before dinner.

Dinner: Christmas Eve Dinner at the Empress.

Evening: Enjoy a horse-drawn Christmas trolley ride in downtown Victoria and gain a historical view of what Christmas was like many years ago. Curl up in a warm blanket and take in all the holiday joy and sites. Return to the Tea Lobby for a Christmas Eve sing-along with seasonal, and old-time, favorites.

Lodging: The Fairmont Empress Hotel

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Five-Star Hotel

Description: The Fairmont Empress Hotel, located on Victoria, British Columbia's, Inner Harbour, was named for Queen Victoria, Empress of India. Designed by Francis Rattenbury and built by the Canadian Pacific Railway, the Victoria Fairmont Empress Hotel has enchanted guests to Victoria BC since its opening in 1908. Rising regally on the banks of Victoria's Inner Harbour and representing the center of British Columbia's Capital City, The Fairmont Empress has been completely restored to her turn-of-the-century beauty. The Fairmont Empress displays the grandeur of a bygone era, her facilities and services meet the needs of today's traveler. There was some consideration in the 1960's to tear down the aging hotel and build a modern high rise, but public outcry over the idea lead to a four million dollar restoration instead, called "Operation Teacup." The "Royal Restoration" was completed in 1989 at a cost of forty-five million dollars, and added modern facilities such as an indoor swimming pool as well as refurbishing all the guest rooms. Today the Empress hotel retains all of its old world charm and grandeur with antique furniture and opulent decor, while at the same time offering modern luxury.

Contact info:
721 Government Street
Victoria, BC V8W 1W5 Canada
phone: 250-384-8111
web: www.fairmont.com/empress

Room amenities: Plush bathrobes, cable television, in-room movies, coffee maker, mini-bar fridge, hair dryer, luxurious down-filled duvets, telephone & voice mail, and windows that open to outside. Excellent Room Service. High speed and wireless Internet access available ($$), and a Business Centre. Wireless internet access in all guestrooms, it is complimentary for our Fairmont President's Club members, free to join.

Facility amenities: The Fairmont Empress features many exclusive amenities; exquisite dining, Victorian-era architecture, executive business services and the luxurious Willowstream Spa. Enjoy our Afternoon Tea in the magnificent Tea Lobby surrounded by handcrafted tapestries, lovely moldings and polished, hard wood floors. Afternoon Tea is one of Victoria's greatest traditions, and one of the many services that sets The Fairmont Empress apart. The Fairmont Empress has a fully-equipped gym and indoor heated pool and whirlpool area. The Fairmont Empress also offers in-room services such as a work area, computer dataports and direct phone lines. Laundry services are also available.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes

Additional nights before: Various upgrades
Upgrades available, to arrange please call the Tour Office at the Empress Hotel at (250) 995-3665 or email emp.tours@fairmont.com. Please mention that you are part of the Road Scholar (Elderhostel group) and they can provide complete details on availability and additional fees.

Check in time: 4:00 PM


Day Four: Thursday, December 25 - Traditional Afternoon Tea/Festive Christmas Dinne...
Breakfast: Buffet breakfast at hotel.

Morning: Embrace the sounds of Christmas carolers while making your way through the festive hallways; their magnificent voices ring out good cheer with traditional carols. Take a walk by the waterfront or enjoy Christmas morning Church services nearby. The historic Empress Hotel Library is a great location to enjoy a peaceful Christmas morning as well.

Lunch: Enjoy the Carol Afternoon Tea accompanied by live choral performances. At the world renowned tea lobby of The Fairmont Empress, enjoy an array of gourmet finger sandwiches, delicate pastries and sip the original blend of "The Empress Tea". Sit back and relax as you listen to traditional Christmas performances. The Empress Tearoom, with its handcrafted tapestries, lovely moldings and polished, hard wood floors, is truly an exceptional experience for everyone!

Afternoon: Free afternoon. Enjoy some time with new friends or stroll through the Empress and enjoy the festivities.

Dinner: Savour a festive five course Christmas Menu, Empress-style, in a magnificent setting decorated like a winter wonderland. Live entertainment and carolers accompany the event. In appreciation of this special occasion, this event has a semi-formal dress code with a jacket and tie requested for gentlemen; women typically wear short or long, cocktail-style dresses or pantsuits.

Evening: Following dinner, the Crystal Ballroom comes alive with revelry. As well, the adjoining Tea Lobby is a cozy place to enjoy the view of the Inner Harbor to watch the lights on the yachts as they bob in the water. This is also a great time to stroll through the grand halls of the Empress Hotel to view the spectacular Festival of Trees, a collection of decorated trees benefiting BC's Children's Hospital.

Lodging: The Fairmont Empress Hotel

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day Five: Friday, December 26 - Program Concludes/Departure
Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel is served at 8:00 a.m.

Morning: Program ends after breakfast. Check-out time is 11:00 am. Departures as per individual travel plans. This concludes our program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please be in touch via the Road Scholar Social Network, where you can share memories, pictures and comments. Best wishes for all your journeys.

Meals Included: Breakfast


Free Time Opportunities


Victoria, BC
BC LegislatureThe Legislative Tour strives to provide an enjoyable and informative experience for all visitors focusing primarily on the role of the Legislative Assembly and MLAs and the history of both the province of British Columbia and the Legislative Buildings. The Legislative Tour Office staff promotes access to the Legislature and encourage a sense of pride and unity in the province. The goals are to foster an understanding of the legislative process, an awareness of B.C.'s political heritage and an appreciation for the beauty and significance of the Legislative Buildings.
For additional information, visit: www.leg.bc.ca/
Royal BC MuseumThe Royal BC Museum Corporation is one of the foremost cultural institutions in the world. The museum was founded in 1886; the archives in 1894. Our archives, exhibits and galleries change and grow as our understanding grows, and we endeavor to share our knowledge in original and exciting ways. Each exhibit and gallery tells important stories about British Columbia and provides an engaging and thought-provoking window on the province's past, present and future.
For additional information, visit: www.royalbcmuseum.bc.ca/MainSite/

Important information about your itinerary:
Please know that while we do everything we can to finalize all aspects of our programs well in advance, there are logistics that occasionally must be altered. Our website will reflect the most recent information, and we are committed to providing you with final program details no later than eight weeks prior to the start of programs outside the U.S. and three weeks prior to the start of programs within the U.S. If you ever have questions about your program, please don't hesitate to contact us and we will be happy to assist you.
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Included
at no additional cost on this date ...
4 nights of accommodations
10 meals: 4 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 4 dinners
2 Expert-led lectures
4 Field trips
1 Performances

Ratings

4.9
Ratings are determined by participant evaluations.

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