Empress Hotel named best historic hotel in Americas

The Fairmont Empress Hotel has received a prestigious award from Historic Hotels Worldwide, a group that recognizes stately structures and castle ­accommodations around the globe.

Historic Hotels Worldwide named the Empress as Best Hotel in the Americas, saying travelers to the Inner Harbour property have come to expect “timeless elegance, discriminating luxury and memorable ­experiences.”

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“This grand dame completed a $60 million-plus ­restoration in 2017 that celebrates its proud history while moving the hotel into a new era of modern luxury, transforming this iconic property into a must-visit destination,” said Historic Hotels Worldwide.

It’s an award the Empress is proud to receive, said general manager Indu Brar.

“Our team at the Empress has been so committed to finding the right balance of celebrating our historic past while meeting the expectations of today’s’ travellers with modern luxury touches,” she said in a statement.

“We like to say that Fairmont Empress is where modern meets iconic and I believe this award confirms that we may have ­gotten this right.”

Designed by Francis ­Rattenbury, who also designed the B.C. legislature and the Crystal Garden, the Empress opened its doors in 1908. Since then, it has held court over the Inner Harbour, playing host to royalty, dignitaries and ­celebrities for 112 years.

It’s another in a long list of accolades for the Empress, including being recognized as one of the Top 21 Iconic Hotels in the World by National Geographic Traveler magazine, and honoured with Travel + Leisure Magazine’s World’s Best Award for Top 10 City Hotels in Canada.

“This calibre of award and the worldwide attention it brings is not only great for the hotel … it is wonderful for Victoria as a destination,” said Tracey Drake, Empress director of marketing and public relations.

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