With its historic links to the U.K., Victoria, British Columbia, has long been a popular destination for traditional British afternoon tea. But at several Victoria tearooms, this afternoon classic has received an updated spin.
Stop by these elegant spots to get a taste of Victoria tradition, with a twist.
Fairmont Empress Tea Lounge
No Victoria itinerary is complete without a stop at the city’s top tea destination, the stately Fairmont Empress, which has been serving the afternoon mainstay since the early 1900s. Fortunately, this icon isn’t resting on its laurels — the historic hotel recently revitalized its tea lounge as part of a $60 million, property-wide renovation.
In the spacious European-style lounge, the polished service, parquet floors and accompanying pianist remain unchanged, as does the hotel’s signature tea blend. The salon’s furnishings have been modernized and the space, with a wall of windows overlooking the city’s Inner Harbour, feels more open and airy.
The menu also remains just timeless enough, pairing mushroom quiche, smoked salmon blini and classic cucumber sandwiches with warm raisin scones served with housemade clotted cream.
And, of course, there are sweets, including a chocolate passionfruit tart, lemon poppy shortbread and apple spice cake. A glass of champagne is optional, but highly recommended.
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Silk Road Tea
Fancy an herbal brew and chocolate tasting? How about a green tea facial? See what certified tea master Daniela Cubelic and her team can stir up at Silk Road Tea, a contemporary teashop and spa in Victoria’s Chinatown.
At Silk Road’s tea bar, sample a flight of sips while the staff provides details about each blend’s properties and preparations. Silk Road’s all-organic offerings range from black, white and green varieties to herbal blends and wellness teas to suit a variety of symptoms.
For something a little more indulgent, try a pairing of three brews and three artisan chocolates. You can also book an appointment for a tea-inspired facial or an aromatherapy massage incorporating Silk Road’s locally produced organic oils.
Either way, be sure to arrive a bit early for your spa service; you’ll want time to relax with a cuppa.
The Magnolia Hotel & Spa
Get a taste of the city without skipping your favorite herbal sip with the Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star Magnolia Hotel & Spa’s “Tea-riffic Trail” experiences. With these tantalizing treks, you might stop into Jaga Silk, a tiny tearoom specializing in traditional Japanese maccha (the company prefers the Japanese spelling over “matcha”), or combine a visit to the flower-filled Butchart Gardens with afternoon tea in the property’s historic dining room.
Venus Sophia Tea Room & Vegetarian Eatery
If you’d prefer to pass on the ham sandwiches and shrimp salad that you might normally find in a classic midday spread, then head toward this homey Chinatown spot for an updated service with a vegetarian-friendly twist.
With endearingly mismatched furniture and vintage bicycles suspended from creamy pastel walls, Venus Sophia serves up steaming pots of almost any black, green, rooibos or herbal blend you could want. We recommend the cinnamon-spiced chai for a comforting holiday flavor or the mint and herb Rumi’s Secret come springtime.
To accompany your beverage, savory selections might include pizzeta, potato cakes or vegetarian open-faced sandwiches, along with freshly baked scones and a selection of sweets, like carrot cake, lemon cheesecake and chocolate-dipped strawberries.
The staff ensures that your teapot is always topped off while you enjoy your leisurely afternoon.