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“Quaint but tired...”

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The Fairmont Empress
Ranked #20 of 49 Hotels in Victoria
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersGold level
Vancouver
Level 6 Contributor
145 reviews
56 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 74 helpful votes
“Quaint but tired...”
Reviewed 26 November 2013 via mobile

Ok I'm a big fan of boutique hotels and not old famous landmark hotels.

I've decided to build up my loyalty points at the Fairmont in 2014 versus Starwood as they just don't honour loyalty when I book through corp travel.

But I digress. This hotel is truly special. Best location in Victoria. Close to the harbour and all the tourist sites. Service is amazing. Rooms clean and spacious.

Based on my stays at other properties in Victoria, they are all about the same in terms of how soon they need a renovation - which is now.

Anyhow, it's a 3/5 rating for me. But probably best in Victoria all things being equal.

Stayed November 2013, travelled on business
Helpful?
1 Thank deanguest
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
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  • Value
  • Cleanliness
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Comox, Canada
Level 3 Contributor
22 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 November 2013

For a week-end getaway (not a cheap one, however), the Empress is a wonderful experience. We opted for the "celebration" package and upgraded to the "gold" room. Well worth the upgrade, as it includes a separate check-in, private lounge (with free beverages and snacks) as well as renovated room. Our room faced the harbor.
The package included a couple massage at the hotel spa, breakfast, parking, chocolate and champagne at 6 pm.
As you can expect for this type of hotel, service was impeccable, with all staff catering to all your needs, very polite (but not "fake" either).
We will return once we can afford it again !

Room Tip: Rooms facing the harbor are more expensive but the view is well worth it. Also, the "gold"...
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  • Stayed November 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Rooms
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    • Service
Helpful?
Thank JJ2042
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
FairmontEmpress1908, General Manager at The Fairmont Empress, responded to this review, 3 December 2013
Dear Valued Guest from Nanaimo,

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 enjoyed a wonderful experience with the "celebration" package and were able to enjoy our "Gold" rooms. . I am so pleased to hear that we were able to provide you with the service that The Fairmont Empress is so well known for. 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 again.

Kind regards,

Don Fennerty
General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
California
Level 6 Contributor
626 reviews
170 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 390 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 November 2013 via mobile

We stay in Victoria several times a year. I chose to stay at the empress this time as a treat for two teens. They loved it. The pool, the spa, and breakfast at the Empress were all fun. The rooms are small even with an upgrade. The room had a tiny basic bathroom ( the airport trace lodge had more toiletries) and 2 double beds. I was hesitant to book the fairmont as several hotels have suites with a King and a Queen for this price. They have very good spa deals for guests and I would definitely do this again. We were disappointed that the girls could done at the Bengal lounge ( they had to be over 19). Service was very warm and personal which was helpful for such a large hotel full of tourists. Would I stay again? Only if I had a newbie to Victoria with me or teens. ( because if the pool) however with young children dining options are limited and for myself, I preferred the Magnolia which had a much nicer room and cheaper parking .

Stayed November 2013
Helpful?
Thank Gemma'smum
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
BC
Level 4 Contributor
19 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 November 2013

I've always wanted to stay at the Empress Hotel, and I finally did for a mid-week break in October. From the moment we pulled up to the door until we left, we felt special. The service was excellent from checking in where we received a free upgrade to a harbour view room to checking out and everything in between. We found the staff helpful and very knowledgeable about the area helping us with finding shops, restaurants and even theatre times. The hotel is beautiful and yes, the rooms are on the small side, but that is to be expected in a hotel of her age. The beds were comfortable, everything was clean and the room was well laid out. Yes, the bathroom was tiny but I don't tend to spend much time in there! The windows opened, which was a plus, as I like fresh air at night. We didn't have a car so the location can't be beat, walking distance to everything. We didn't use the gym but did thoroughly enjoy the hot tub and swimming pool. So handy that the change room has complimentary lockers and towels. We didn't eat in the restaurant but did stop for a drink and dessert in the Bengal Lounge and yes, it's pricey so I guess you're paying for the atmosphere. Anyway, I really had a great time and would definitely recommend it to anyone interested in staying in a hotel overflowing with character. There are a lot of hotels in Victoria to choose from but only one is The Empress.

  • Stayed October 2013, travelled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank tlc_too
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Blacksburg, Virginia
Level 6 Contributor
155 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 November 2013

Front desk, housekeeping and everyone else encountered were top notch. My room was a bit disappointing...had gabled windows which led to awkward ceiling and room configuration. Only there for 2 nights and had a great time exploring the harbor.

  • Stayed August 2013, travelled on business
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank noodle1976
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Toronto, Canada
Level 6 Contributor
104 reviews
33 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 November 2013

Staturesque beauty, wonderful dining rooms and rooms for hosting events. Just magnificent

Never seem to have a good in room experience though. This time had a room at end of a cavernous hall near elevator - awakened by EVERYONE who walked the hall till about 2 in the morining. Room OK, bedding light - was cold.

Gym OK - not the greatest set up -- 2 people would have difficult using weight area at same time

Room service - in take guy not the friendlist - but food was delish - chef called to clarify order - he rocks.

Scouting this place out for a corporate meeting - just not sure given the average room experience and the poor sleep experience.

Room Tip: don't know - never had a great one yet
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  • Stayed November 2013, travelled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank roxygirl100
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
FairmontEmpress1908, General Manager at The Fairmont Empress, responded to this review, 3 December 2013
Dear Valued Guest from Toronto,

Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback. I was happy to hear that you found the hotel to have statuesque beauty, wonderful dining rooms and rooms for hosting events. I was however sorry to hear that your stay was not as memorable as we would like. We strive to provide the best experience and customer service that guests have come to expect of Fairmont Hotels. We are aways very happy to move you into a room that is more confortable. Please do not hestitate to ask in the future. Thank you again for sharing the feedback. We hope we can welcome you back in the future.

Kind regards,

Don Fennerty
General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Edmonton, AB
Level 3 Contributor
24 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed 14 November 2013

I had a perfect weekend - and the Fairmont had a great deal to do with it. Check in was quick and efficient, we were pleasantly surprised to be upgraded to a deluxe room. Since we were celebrating a special occasion, we got a card for a free dessert, which we used at the Bengal Lounge (absolutely fantastic)!

The room itself was quite spacious, the bed was up a couple steps and separated from the sitting area. Two TV's were available - not that we used them as we were busy exploring. The pool area was nice - there's a children's dipping pool, a lane swimming pool and a decent hot tub. We went for high tea - it's true that the price is a bit steep at $50 / person, but we had coupons so it wasn't that bad. It's definitely an experience I would recommend doing at least once.

My only quibble is that parking was very expensive, even on a Friday. That's standard fare for downtown Fairmonts. We parked in a nearby parkade.

Every interaction we had with the staff was excellent. Everyone was very friendly on multiple visits to the desk, and always tried to help us out as best they could.

I would not hesitate to return!

Room Tip: We had a deluxe room - very spacious, and a decent city view. Go for the harbour view if this is you...
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  • Stayed November 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Nevileon
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

Property: 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
#7 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 (Based on Average Rates): ££££
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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