Even if you aren’t planning to book a room at this luxurious property, it’s worthwhile taking a gander at it, starting with the pleasant rose gardens outside. (And don’t forget to check out the bronze statue of artist Emily Carr with her dog Willie and monkey Woo at the corner of Government and Belleville streets.) The Empress was built from 1904–1908, designed by the architect Francis Rattenbury, who envisioned so many of Victoria’s most famous buildings. It is designed in the chateau style of the great railway hotels, and is a particularly graceful example of Edwardian architecture. If you can, try to peek into the Palm Court with its ornate Tiffany-style glass ceiling. If you have time, afternoon tea at the Empress is one of Victoria’s most revered traditions, and the curry buffet at the Raj-inspired Bengal Lounge is also a popular local treat.