What is the number one thing that most people associate with the Empress? Yes, afternoon tea! Since 1908, the hotel has served England’s most beloved ritual to famed royalty, celebrities and guests from all over the world, pouring half a million cups of tea each year; more than most hotels and many tea rooms in London, England! Condé Nast named the Empress one of the 10 Best Tea Experiences in the World. Tea is served on elegant Royal China reproduced from original china gifted to the hotel by King George VI in 1939.
Speaking of royalty, British Royalty’s love affair with the Empress has been enduring. In 1919, Edward Prince of Wales waltzed into the wee hours in the iconic Crystal Ballroom. It was an event so important to Victorians, obituaries of elderly ladies (published some 50 years later) would appear under headlines such as, Mrs. Thornley-Hall Dies. Prince of Wales Singled Her Out. Queen Elizabeth II has visited Victoria every decade of her reign. Princess Margaret, Queen Mother, Will and Kate and numerous other royals have also graced our Edwardian hallways.
From John Wayne slinging cocktails for strangers in the hotel bar and Shirley Temple escaping to the Empress from California amidst threats of kidnapping, celebrities love this hotel. Hollywood legends like Ginger Rodgers, Douglas Fairbanks, Katharine Hepburn, John Travolta, Rod Stewart and Barbara Streisand – to name just a very few. Bob Hope always asked for suite 330 because the carpet outside his door made the perfect putting green and Bing Crosby felt so at home, he was often seen without his toupee!