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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 23 — Dec 27, 2012

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Type: Five-Star Hotel

Description: The Fairmont Empress Hotel, located on Victoria, British Columbia's, inner harbor, 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 Harbor 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. Internet access available, and a Business Centre.

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: Yes
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: 3:00 PM


Day One: Sunday, December 23 - Check-In and Orientation
Afternoon: ARRIVAL & CHECK-IN: 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 up-grades. It isn’t necessary to change rooms when the program starts. Check in at the Fairmont Empress Hotel is any time after 3 pm. If you arrive earlier the hotel will store your luggage and have it in your room when you check in. Program Orientation starts at 4pm. Please check the lobby event board for the location of the meeting room.

Dinner: WELCOME DINNER: Dinner at the hotel in one of its fine dining rooms to experience the finest in personal service and outstanding cuisine.

Evening: ORIENTATION: Program orientation and welcoming of all participants. This is a time to meet new friends and set the stage for letting the festivities begin!!

Lodging: The Fairmont Empress Hotel

Meals Included: Dinner
Type: Five-Star Hotel

Description: The Fairmont Empress Hotel, located on Victoria, British Columbia's, inner harbor, 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 Harbor 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. Internet access available, and a Business Centre.

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: Yes
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: 3:00 PM


Day Two: Monday, December 24 - Craigdarroch Castle/The Tradition of Tea/Horse Dr...
Note: This activity is a level 3 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: Breakfast at hotel.

Morning: FIELD TRIP: Craigdarroch Castle. Experience the magic of Victoria history with a visit to Craigdarroch 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. Craigdarroch Castle was built as the home of Robert Dunsmuir, the richest man in nineteenth century British Columbia, and his remarkable wife, Joan. After her husband's death, Joan ran the family empire from the Castle. There are 39 rooms furnished lavishly in the 1890s–1900s period. With over 20,000 square feet of space, the house and gardens are being restored exactly as they were originally built. On most days you will find artisans busily working on restorations.

Lunch: Lunch at the hotel. The Executive Chef takes a special interest in preparing wonderful meals - and accommodates special diets.

Afternoon: LECTURE: The Tradition of 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.

Dinner: CHRISTMAS EVE: The festive menu for Christmas Eve is a feast for the senses. In appreciation of this special occasion, this even has a semi-formal dress code with a jacket and tie requested for gentlemen.

Evening: FIELD TRIP: Christmas Trolley. Enjoy a 45 minute horse-drawn Christmas trolley tour of downtown Victoria. Tours are fully narrated on decorated 20 passenger trolleys and give a historical view of what Christmas was like in Victoria many years ago. The trolleys are covered and warm blankets are provided. Afterwards, return to the Tea Lobby for a rousing 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 harbor, 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 Harbor 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. Internet access available, and a Business Centre.

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: Yes
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: 3:00 PM


Day Three: Tuesday, December 25 - Traditional Afternoon Tea/Buffet Christmas Dinner...
Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel.

Morning: CHRISTMAS DAY: Carolers stroll the hallways letting their magnificent voices ring out good cheer to uplift your spirits with traditional carols. Christmas Morning church services are available nearby as well as several easy walks around the waterfront, or to the park one block away. The historic Empress Hotel Library is available throughout this program, so people can enjoy the morning in the Library if they prefer. Seize the moment to suspend yourself in time, enjoying a peaceful Christmas morning.

Lunch: AFTERNOON TEA & ENTERTAINMENT: Enjoy the Carol Afternoon Tea. Participants are invited to sip history, art and character accompanied by live choral performances. Afternoon Tea is one of the main attractions of the Victoria Empress Hotel, enjoyed by over 100 000 people every year. The Hotel serves its own special blend of tea in fine Royal Doulton china and is served in the magnificent Victoria Fairmont Empress Tea Lobby surrounded by handcrafted tapestries, lovely moldings and polished, hard wood floors.

Afternoon: Free afternoon

Dinner: CHRISTMAS FEAST: Christmas dinner includes a Festive 5-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.

Evening: EVENING ACTIVITIES: After dinner the Crystal Ballroom is alive with music and dancing. 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
Type: Five-Star Hotel

Description: The Fairmont Empress Hotel, located on Victoria, British Columbia's, inner harbor, 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 Harbor 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. Internet access available, and a Business Centre.

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: Yes
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: 3:00 PM


Day Four: Wednesday, December 26 - Historical Walk of Old Town Victoria/Lunch Your O...
Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel.

Morning: FIELD TRIP: Historical Walk of Victoria. Spend 90 minutes walking 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, or step next door to the museum for a tour of the Parliament Buildings (Legislature).

Lunch: Lunch on your own to explore the local fare.

Afternoon: EXCURSION: Butchart Gardens. Visit the renowned Butchart Gardens. The world-famous Butchart Gardens boasts fifty-five acres of wonderful floral display, meandering paths and expansive lawns. From the exquisite Sunken Garden to the charming Rose Garden, the gracious traditions of the past are carefully maintained. Truly one of the loveliest corners in the world, The Butchart Gardens is always in season. However, 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: FAREWELL DINNER: Our final dinner will be at Butchart Gardens, in the former residence of the Butchart family. The restaurant is decorated in holiday finery and serves evening dinners accompanied by a solo pianist playing holiday melodies.

Lodging: The Fairmont Empress Hotel

Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner
Day Five: Thursday, December 27 - Independent Departures
Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel.

Morning: INDEPDENDENT DEPARTURES: Program ends after breakfast. Check out time is 12:00 noon.

Meals Included: Breakfast

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.
Currently selected:Prices Starting At:
Dec 23 — Dec 27, 2012 waitlist only  

Our Value Promise To You

You won't find a better value.

Included
at no additional cost on this date ...
4 nights of accommodations
10 meals: 4 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 4 dinners
1 Expert-led lectures
4 Field trips
2 Performances

Ratings

4.9
Ratings are determined by participant evaluations.

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