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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, 2013

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. 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: 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: Sunday, December 22 - Check-In and Orientation
Afternoon: 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 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 hotel lobby for Road Scholar registration.

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!!

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. 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: 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: Monday, December 23 - Historic Walk of Victoria/Christmas in Old Victor...
Note: You will be enjoying outdoor activities today. Please dress warmly for winter weather.

Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel.

Morning: 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: Discover Christmas traditions and learn about about the fascinating ways Christmas was celebrated in Victoria, from the days of Fort Victoria to the present day.

Dinner: Dinner at Milestones.

Evening: Enjoy a horse-drawn Christmas trolley tour of 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, 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. 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: 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: Tuesday, December 24 - Craigdarroch Castle/Butchart Gardens/Butterfly Ga...
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: Breakfast at hotel.

Morning: Experience the magic of Victoria's 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. 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 Butchart Gardens.

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: Transfer to the Victoria Butterfly Gardens for dinner.

Evening: Victoria Butterfly Gardens offers an opportunity to experience the warmth, beauty and romance of a tropical jungle without going to the tropics. Stroll through this indoor tropical wonderland, where Caribbean flamingos walk through the streams and ponds among the beautifully coloured koi, goldfish, jack dempseys, albino oscars, tetras, barbs, jaguar cichlids, plecos, Australian whistling tree ducks and red-eared slider turtles.

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. 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: 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: Wednesday, December 25 - Traditional Afternoon Tea/Buffet Christmas Dinner...
Breakfast: 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: Savor 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, and women typically wear short or long, cocktail-style dresses or pantsuits.

Evening: Following dinner, the Crystal Ballroom comes 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
Day Five: Thursday, December 26 - Independent Departures
Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel is served at 8:00 a.m.

Morning: Program ends after breakfast. Check-out time is 11:00 am.

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.
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Our Value Promise To 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
1 Expert-led lectures
5 Field trips
2 Performances

Ratings

4.9
Ratings are determined by participant evaluations.

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