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“Historic hotel experience in a beautiful location”

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The Fairmont Empress
Ranked #21 of 49 Hotels in Victoria
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersGold level
Reviewed 30 April 2012

If you want the feel of an old-style hotel with atmosphere, the Empress is 'la grande dame' on the beautiful Victoria harbour. We visited here with a senior family member who loved the atmosphere, the service and the delightful setting. We were in a deluxe queen, and I was pleasantly surprised at how spacious our room was, with lots of room to put our feet up, incredibly comfy beds. Washroom was tiny, with no space for toiletries. But we wanted atmosphere, not the latest in trendy hotels or updated rooms. Service was excellent, housekeeping responded instantly to any request. The famous Empress Tea was insanely overpriced for what you get, but hey, it was fun and all about the atmosphere. The hotel has an interesting archives display on the lower level, and artifacts on display on the way to the parking garage - would be nice to see some of these reproduced on each floor to add to the historic feel. Valet parking efficient with helpful local driving directions.

  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled with family
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Thank QCTraveller2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Jocelyn P, Manager at The Fairmont Empress, responded to this reviewResponded 7 May 2012

Dear Valued Guest from Ottawa,
Thank you for taking the time to write such a great review on Tripadvisor of your recent stay with us. I am so happy to hear that you had such a wonderful stay visiting your family member in Victoria. Thank you again for taking the time to write a review and share your experience. We look forward to welcoming you back to The Fairmont Empress when your travels bring you out to the West Coast again.

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2,957 - 2,963 of 3,847 reviews

Reviewed 28 April 2012

To stay here is an amazing experience. The grandeur of the public rooms,excellent food,location right on the waterfront and walking distance to shops,bars and restaurants.

Room Tip: We had a corner suite which didn't have a view of the water,but did have a view of a beautiful c...
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  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank Julie D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 April 2012

If you like the feeling of traveling back in time to early 20th century, this is the spot. The rooms have that Titanic-esk feel. My room wasn't available and i was offered a parlor room. They felt terrible because it had a pull out bed and gave me a free breakfast. The room was fabulous though — spacious with a wonderful view and old time charm. (And the breakfast was heavenly.) Had a glass of wine in the Bengal room, and if you're into it, they have a formal tea. Charming and fun!

  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled on business
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1  Thank Dimettler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 April 2012

We were so looking forward to our stay at the Fairmont Empress. From the outside its a beautiful building with a lot of charm. The lobby area is not impressive at all for a Fairmont hotel. We were offered an upgrade to a Harbourview room with a king size bed which we took for the extra $40. We often stay at the Fairmont chain when we travel as we know we can expect a certain standard. Unfortunately, this was not the case this time.

The room did have a view of the harbour but the room itself was a big disappointment. I liken the furniture to what you might find at a cottage. Your aun'ts old sofa dated 1980 at best. The glass coffee table found at a local thrift store. The room had a ceiling fan [old as in tacky not old as in elegant!] which had very poor lighting. The size of the room was fine. The overall look of the room was 'tired'. The mantel in the room had lights either side of it that dont turn on, they are just for show. The tiles on the floor surrounding the mantel we cracked and broken. The wood doors on the interior of the room were in dire need of maintenance. The heat was not good.

The worst part of the room was the bathroom. It was so small you had to squeeze past the sink which is butted against the toilet to close the door. It was about the size of a large closet. The bathtub was an old yellow one with a rust stained drain and a discoloured rolled up rubber bathmat. The single sink had a green mark stained countertop with a leaking faucet. The toilet, sink and bathtub have a space of a couple of inches between them.

Luckily for us we only stayed there 1 night but would never stay there again. There are other options for hotels that would also give you a harbour view such as the Grand Pacific which looked fairly new.There was also a Best Western nearby. We didnt go into these hotels so we have no idea what they were like just that they are near the harbour too.

We had afternoon tea at the Empress which is in a nicely appointed room [its very large]. Our server was extremely nice and helpful when we asked to be moved to a table that didnt have food under it from a previous sitting. I did notice however that the food was left on the floor and someone else was seated at the table . The afternoon tea was again ok , we have had better at other places but we wanted the experience of it here at the Empress in Victoria. Its expensive, but it is in other places also. Expect to pay around $50 for a scone about three miniature desserts and about 3 miniature finger size sandwiches and of course the tea per person.

As hotels go this is just ok. Dont bother paying for an upgrade if this is what they consider to be a 'better room' than their standard room.

Overall experience at this hotel: Disappointing , doesnt live up to the hype! Surprised the Fairmont chain has not upgraded the rooms at this hotel.

Room Tip: Harbour view
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  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank prevfromPurley
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Jocelyn P, Executive Office at The Fairmont Empress, responded to this reviewResponded 26 April 2012

Dear Valued Guest from Vancouver,
Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback. I am sorry to hear that your stay was not as restful as you would have liked. Indeed, please do not hesitate to request a quiet area on an upper floor when you stay with us again. We are always happy to find a way to accommodate your needs and ensure that you are as comfortable as possible. Thank you again for sharing the feedback; I am happy to hear you were able to enjoy the experience of Afternoon Tea!

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Reviewed 24 April 2012

We took my mom to the Empress Hotel today in Victoria , B.C. for lunch. We made a reservation at the Bengal Room, as it is a regular favourite of ours. However this time we had their famous curry buffet and it was so fabulous !!! Everything about it was delicious and mouth watering. The hotel is as usual a real gem. Many archived pictures are placed throughout the charming corridors of this old english style hotel. The Hotel is luxurious and clean. The staff is excellent and make you feel very much at home. Enjoy this hotel, I promise you will love it.

  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled with family
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2  Thank cinarella
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 April 2012

We took the Victoria Clipper up from Seattle in early March for what was supposed to be just an overnight stay at The Empress. We were able to check in early and were given a complimentary upgrade to a Deluxe Room. We found the place quite charming with an antique feel to it. After our return sailing was moved up and then cancelled due to weather, the Empress graciously worked with Clipper Vacations to extend our stay for three additional nights. I really can't think of a place I'd rather be stuck during a trip delay. The hotel staff was very professional and welcoming. We became affectionately known to some of them as their "Clipper Refugees". They took what could have been a rather stressful situation and made it so relaxing and enjoyable that we didn't want to leave when it came time for us to check out. The only hiccup we encountered was having to change rooms halfway through our stay (because renovation work being done on the hotel roof was keeping our little one up during the day), but they made it well worth our while, giving us a fabulous upgrade to a spacious Signature Room with a spectacular view of the inner harbor. We particularly liked the special attention they gave our kids, such as inviting them to choose a toy from a treasure chest at check-in, and the child size bathrobe they brought to the room for our son to use (without us ever asking). I can't say enough nice things about this hotel. We loved it and very much look forward to another visit.

Room Tip: Deluxe Rooms have more space than standard Harbor View Rooms
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  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled with family
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Thank Joseph S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 April 2012

The Empress' location in Victoria could not be better, right downtown on the Harbour and across from the Legislature. The building is beautiful and the new wing fits in nicely with the older part. Service was mostly excellent throughout the hotel although breakfast service was hit and miss: first day was great ... second day, not so good. Rooms are clean, nicely equipped and functional although small, the bathroom was particularly cramped. Bed was very comfortable. Pool good for kids.

Room Tip: Many rooms are small with very cramped bathrooms. Ask for a room in the newer section if you want a...
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  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled with family
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1  Thank CafeBohemia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about The Fairmont Empress

Address: 721 Government Street, Victoria, British Columbia V8W 1W5, Canada
Phone Number:
Region: Canada > British Columbia > Vancouver Island > Victoria Capital Regional District > Victoria
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#2 Green Hotel in Victoria
#6 Spa Hotel in Victoria
#9 Luxury Hotel in Victoria
#13 Business Hotel in Victoria
#16 Romantic Hotel in Victoria
#17 Family Hotel in Victoria
Price Range: £184 - £372 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — The Fairmont Empress 4*
Number of rooms: 477
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Regarded as a Condé Nast Readers' Choice and Gold List hotel, and honoured with the Travel + Leisure distinction as a top Canadian hotel, the Fairmont Empress graces Victoria's sparkling Inner Harbour with an iconic presence. The Fairmont Empress, Victoria B.C.’s most iconic hotel, has just unveiled a $60 million dollar restoration.This luxury hotel offers 464 beautifully appointed guest rooms and suites, and expansive meeting and wedding space adjacent to the conference centre. Located on the picturesque West Coast of Canada, this is the ideal location to explore all the natural beauty of Vancouver Island. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Fairmont Empress Hotel Victoria
Fairmont Hotel Victoria
Fairmont Hotel Empress
Empress Hotel Victoria
Fairmont Victoria
Victoria Fairmont
Fairmont Empress Hotel
The Fairmont Empress Victoria, Vancouver Island

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