Guests and Ghosts of the Fairmont Empress Victoria by Sally Jennings
Living in hotels used to be a more regular way of life than it is now. Coco Chanel, for example, lived in the Hotel Ritz in Paris for over 30 years. Richard, Harris, the actor, lived at the Savoy while in London. General Douglas MacArthur lived in the Waldorf-Astoria in New York for 14 years. Some people came to the Empress for two weeks and stayed 20 years. Florence ffrench stayed for 42 years. The last permanent resident was Cybil Martin, a widow in her seventies. Cybil's lease expired in 1989 when the hotel was being renovated and she decided not to renew it. She explained: "I am tired of stumbling over tourists' suitcases every evening when I come down for cocktails."
Several guests decided never to leave the Empress. When the moon in in the right quarter they can be seen or sensed as the wander the corridors. The architect is listening to your comments about his design. The little old lady is looking for her room, which is now an elevator shaft. Lizzie, the maid who fell from a great height one night is still tidying her rooms. One guest wrote: "Has anyone else seen the little girl who stands by your bed at night and then floats across the room?"