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“Memorable but Expensive”

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The Fairmont Empress
Ranked #21 of 49 Hotels in Victoria
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersGold level
Reviewed 21 July 2014

Have visited the Empress on previous trips to Victoria, but never stayed there before so wanted to experience a stay there once. The hotel is very special, and the staff is expecially friendly and helpful. Food - drinks/snacks in the Bengal Lounge, afternoon tea, light dinner on the Veranda, and breakfast in the Empress dining room - was all excellent. On the phone before arrival we were changed to senior rate, a significant savings, but then offered a package rate to include tea and breakfast, lessening our savings but providing an upgraded experience. Loved every experience in the hotel, including an INCREDIBLE sunset while dining on the Veranda; but we were very disappointed to find badly shredded fabric on the arms of the chairs in our room (covered by matching arm covers that slid off easily, exposing the shredding) and finding little - then no hot water (started warm, then went cold immediately) in our shower. So while the public places in the hotel were fabulous, at these prices the maintenance of the rooms should be a higher priority.

  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled as a couple
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Review collected in partnership with Fairmont Hotels & Resorts
Thank Cathie W
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 reviewResponded 25 July 2014

Dear Valued Guest from Bellevue,

Thank you for taking the time to write such a great review on Tripadvisor of your recent stay with us. 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. I thank you for your valuable feedback regarding the chairs in your room which I am following up on with our Executive Housekeeper; as well as with our Chief Engineer regarding the lack of hot water in the shower. Thank you again for taking the time to write a review. We look forward to welcoming you back to The Fairmont Empress when your travels bring you to Victoria 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
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2,093 - 2,099 of 3,889 reviews

Reviewed 20 July 2014

The location was great. The gold floor is worth it and the staff was friendly. The indoor pool and workout area was very good and stays open late. The rooms were nice but no a/c but with the mild weather it wasn't an issue for me. Would stay there again.

  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled on business
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Review collected in partnership with Fairmont Hotels & Resorts
Thank Trent H
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 reviewResponded 21 July 2014

Dear Valued Guest from Old Hickory,

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 time on our Gold Floor and that our staff were so helpful throughout your stay. Regarding air conditioning, we are making very good progress in this regard, and I am very optimistic that one day soon we will be able to better control the temperature in our rooms. 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 soon.

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
Reviewed 20 July 2014

This hotel is extremely impressive on the outside but the rooms are not quite as impressive. It is an older hotel though so we did not expect it to be perfect. The staff were great though. The room we had had no air conditioning and the outside temperatures were in the high 80s so the ceiling fan did not suffice. That said, the cleaning staff put a portable fan in our room, without being asked, so that shows that they are thinking about their guest's comfort. The hotel is very expensive, not that I compared prices with other hotels, I knew I wanted to stay at The Empress. We did the High Tea, again, very expensive but you only do it once so it was worth the expense. The only reason I have given it a 4 star rating was the cost.

  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled with family
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Review collected in partnership with Fairmont Hotels & Resorts
Thank Sian Jones H
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 reviewResponded 21 July 2014

Dear Valued Guest from Fayetteville,

Thank you for taking the time to write such a great review on Tripadvisor of your recent stay with us. 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. It is wonderful to hear that our staff was able to assist you throughout your stay. We are actively looking for ways to retrofit our century old building. I am pleased to say that I feel we are making very good progress in this regard, and I am very optimistic that one day soon we will be able to better control the temperature in our rooms. I hope you had the opportunity to enjoy a city tour of Victoria and see all that our city has to offer. Thank you again for taking the time to write a review. We look forward to welcoming you back to The Fairmont Empress when your travels bring you to Victoria again.

Kind regards,

Don Fennerty
General Manager

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Reviewed 20 July 2014

While a beautiful hotel on the front, the rooms are small, outdated and not that well maintained. They are sometimes located miles from the elevators. You have to pay for wifi and parking, staff is distant and toilets are difficult to find in the lobby. Property is too large to feel at home. You can easily get lost trying to find your room, or a toilet.

Room Tip: Rooms on the front have the better view. Ask to be close to the entrance, otherwise you have to wal...
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  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled as a couple
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Thank IL0veNature
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 reviewResponded 21 July 2014

Dear Valued Guest from Utrecht,

Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback. I am 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, and in reading your review it is evident that we have not accomplished this. The need for refurbishing our guestrooms is certainly an area we are discussing as we plan for future renovations. Your comments are helpful to us in this regard, and allow us to confirm that we are investing in improvements that are most important to our valued guests. Thank you again for sharing the feedback. I would be happy to discuss your stay further should you wish.

Kind regards,

Don Fennerty
General Manager

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Reviewed 18 July 2014

Everything about the Fairmont Empress speaks class and refinement. Their Empress Room is the best culinary treat that Victoria has to offer. The resident shops are high class and the merchandise offered is truly unique (there was a one of a kind sculpture we considered purchasing at one of the art galleries worth $27,000). Victoria residents are generally known to be very polite and friendly, but the staff at the Fairmont Empress take hospitality to the next level.

So why only four stars?

Our recent stay was during a heat wave in Victoria and our room at the Fairmont Empress had no functioning air conditioning. We were provided two fans and had to keep our windows opened. We realize that part of the charm of the Fairmont Empress is its old world construction and atmosphere. Indeed, the hotel's interior and exterior architecture are both stunning...and ultimately our experience was superb. But lack of air conditioning, where modern amenities like a Fitness Room, Spa, and In-Room Internet are offered--this is unbecoming of an establishment worthy of the name Fairmont. Had our stay been longer, the lack of air conditioning would have been a problem...but as it turned out were weren't in our room much.

None-the-less, you must stay at the Fairmont Empress at least once in Victoria...it truly is the quintessential place to stay in B.C.

  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled with friends
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Review collected in partnership with Fairmont Hotels & Resorts
Thank StaticNoise
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 reviewResponded 21 July 2014

Dear Valued Guest from Everett,

Thank you for taking the time to write such a great review on Tripadvisor of your recent stay with us. 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. It is wonderful to hear that you enjoyed The Empress Room as well as the wonderful shops that we have with such unique items. Regarding air conditioning, we are actively looking for ways to retrofit our century old building. I am pleased to say that I feel we are making very good progress in this regard, and I am very optimistic that one day soon, we will be able to better control the temperature in our rooms. Thank you again for taking the time to write a review. We look forward to welcoming you back to The Fairmont Empress when your travels bring you to Victoria 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
Reviewed 18 July 2014

It was my birthday so my husband wanted to treat me to the Fairmont Empress Hotel, the room was extremely hot, bathroom has no counter top, the shower wall had mold and window latch was broken. I would not recommend this hotel to my friend or family. The staff at the hotel with A1 but that is the best I can say about the place.

  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Review collected in partnership with Fairmont Hotels & Resorts
Thank Karen A
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 reviewResponded 21 July 2014

Dear Valued Guest from Redlands,

Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback. I am 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. I will personally be following up with our Executive Housekeeper about your room deficiencies. Thank you again for sharing the feedback. I would be happy to discuss your stay further should wish.

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
Reviewed 17 July 2014

I have stayed here a number of times and always enjoy myself. The beds are very comfortable. I always like to go to the Bengal lounge and have an Empress 1908, a tea infused vodka martini. Delish. Dinner is always great in the Empress room, food and service perfection. This recent visit was in July and they had a bit of a heat wave so our room was hot. No AC. I will make sure not to go in July again for that reason only. We have had tea at the Empress numerous times and were disappointed this time. The scones were not warm and it was whipped cream not clotted cream. The cucumber sandwiches barely had cucumbers...one layer of paper thin cucumbers. Will be looking for another tea room for future tea in Victoria. Still more pluses than cons for the Empress hotel.

  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled with friends
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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Thank gamayrouge
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 reviewResponded 18 July 2014

Dear Valued Guest from Santa Rosa,

Thank you for taking the time to write a review of your recent stay with us. I was pleased to read that you had an enjoyable dinner in the Empress Room and that you were provided with the service that The Fairmont Empress is known for. Regarding air conditioning, we are actively looking for ways to retrofit our century old building. I am pleased to say that I feel we are making very good progress in this regard, and I am very optimistic that one day soon, we will be able to better control the temperature in our rooms during these warm days. I apologize for the shortcomings of your Afternoon Tea experience. Your feedback is very important to us and will certainly be shared with our Director of Food and Beverage. Thank you again for taking the time to write a review. We look forward to welcoming you back again one day soon.

Kind regards,

Don Fennerty
General Manager

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative 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: £163 - £325 (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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