Victoria’s Empress Hotel makes it on list of ‘44 haunted hotels around the world’

Victoria’s Empress Hotel makes it on list of ‘44 haunted hotels around the world’
City of Victoria Archives item M09612 & item M09748

With Halloween fast approaching, travel website Conde Nast Traveller compiled a list of 44 haunted hotels across the world, and Victoria’s iconic Fairmont Empress made the cut.

Built more than 115 years ago, the Empress has long stood guard at Victoria’s Inner Harbour.

And its history is ripe for spooky ghost stories, according to Conde Nast.

The travel website says the hotel’s architect, Francis Rattenbury, haunts the entrance of the hotel after he met a grisly death.

Rattenbury reportedly left his wife for a younger woman, before fleeing Canada and moving to England with his new belle.

Once in the U.K., his new wife cheated on him with their 17-year-old chauffeur, who would go on to bludgeon Rattenbury to death, Conde Nast says while citing a story from the Washington Post.

After Rattenbury’s violent demise, his spirit was said to return to the Empress in Victoria, sometimes appearing to guests on the lobby staircase while dressed in period-appropriate clothing.

“Aside from dazzling views of Victoria Harbour, the property offers guests luxurious rooms, award-winning spa treatments, and afternoon tea – plus one very famous ghost,” said Conde Nast.

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Spirits and ghosts

The Empress was just one of two Canadian hotels to make it onto Conde Nast’s list of “44 haunted hotels around the world you can stay at – if you dare,” which was released on Monday.

The other Canadian Hotel was the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel in Banff, AB.

Several ghosts are said to haunt the hotel, ranging from the dramatic – like a bride who reportedly died after falling down a set of stone stairs on her wedding day – to the mundane, like “Sam the bellman” who promised to haunt the hotel after his death, and can still sometimes be seen helping people with their bags before vanishing.

Closer to home, people looking to get into the Halloween spirit can find plenty of things to do on Vancouver Island.

In Campbell River, a haunted house has been set up to support Habitat for Humanity Vancouver Island North, with funds from the haunted house going towards building affordable housing.


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