NO I'm NOT that OLD, and I'm not retiring (yet) but this story is pretty kuul.

After 65 years, couple returns to the Empress -- at 1945 prices

By Carla Wilson, Times Colonist June 10, 2010

It was 65 years ago that Red Clark brought his wife, Alma, from Oregon to Victoria for a two-night stay at the Empress hotel.

The couple returns on Saturday to stay in the same room and is being given the same $5-per-night rate on their original bill. That "really surprised us," a delighted Red (William) Clark, 87, said from home in Vancouver, Wash., yesterday.

That first trip to Victoria followed Red's return from Europe as a merchant seaman during the Second World War. He left England to cross the Atlantic and then ride the train across the U.S. "I didn't buy a [sleeping] berth. I wanted to save money."

At the time of their Victoria holiday, they had a baby, who did not accompany them, Red said. They have raised six children and have 22 grandchildren and 22 great-grandchildren, Alma Clark, 84, said.

On Oct. 18, the Clarks are celebrating their 67th wedding anniversary, said Red.

The secret to a successful marriage? Red credits Alma: "I just can't tell you how much she's meant to me," he said, as his voice cracked.

Through the years, Alma saved the receipt from the Empress, then a Canadian Pacific hotel, and now part of the Fairmont group.

The Clarks were at dinner with their daughter Stephanie when the saved receipt was mentioned. "She said, 'I'll just check on some things.' It just kind of kept on snowballing," Red said. "She set everything up for us."

Angela Rafuse-Tahir, Fairmont Empress director of sales and marketing, said the Clarks' story "reiterates Fairmont's mission statement of turning moments into memories for guests."

Copyright (c) The Victoria Times Colonist

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Rooms in the Empress Hotel range from $209.00 to almost $600.00 a night.