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“Glad I stayed here once just to say that I have!”

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The Fairmont Empress
Ranked #20 of 49 Hotels in Victoria
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersGold level
Los Angeles, California
Level 6 Contributor
474 reviews
54 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 259 helpful votes
“Glad I stayed here once just to say that I have!”
Reviewed 25 July 2014

The highlight of staying in a century old historic property is to say that you've been part of history. I would agree with some reviews that for the prestige and the price I had expected more of the room appointments, but can also appreciate that when the rooms were built there weren't things like air conditioning and the cost to implement it (and degradation of the building) have to be considered. The hotel provided a stand up fan to aid in cooling our room down and with our Harbor View, leaving the window open all night was a pleasure anyway. I also enjoyed the bath products and the coffee service in room. Maybe I'm easy to please but I couldn't find fault with being treated to the Empress on my birthday. We were able to check in in about 10 minutes at 9am (so early!) leave the car and be on our way. Rather than nit pick things that other newer hotels do better, I was just happy to stay in such a perfect location and be able to tell people I've been there.

Room Tip: The Harbor View is really the only real reason to be here! If you're splurging go all the way. I...
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  • Stayed July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Leigth M
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, 28 July 2014
Dear Valued Guest from Los Angeles,

Thank you for taking the time to write such a great review on Tripadvisor of your recent stay with us on your birthday. I am so pleased to read that you enjoyed the history and ambiance of this wonderful building.
Your feedback is very valuable to us, and we look forward to the opportunity of welcoming you back to The Fairmont Empress when your travels bring you to Victoria again.

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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Sherwood Park
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviewed 25 July 2014

Room was not air-conditioned. Rug was soiled. Furniture upholstery soiled. Bed linens clean but uninviting. Bed was very old and needs to be replaced. Very far from elevator. Stale door in room. awful

  • Stayed July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Review collected in partnership with Fairmont Hotels & Resorts

Helpful?
Thank Fran O
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, 28 July 2014
Dear Valued Guest from Sherwood Park,

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. We are always very happy to move you into a room that is more comfortable.
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 your valuable feedback and my apologies for all the shortcomings you experienced. I would be happy to discuss your stay further should you 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
St. Marys
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 July 2014

Spent 1 night & loved it! Smack dab in the centre of all the hustle & bustle of Victoria in the summer. Beautiful, large room. Great service. Easy access to the airport. Stayed with 2 kids (8 & 5 y.o.)

  • Stayed July 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Review collected in partnership with Fairmont Hotels & Resorts

Helpful?
Thank Theresa R
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, 25 July 2014
Dear Valued Guest from St. Marys,

Thank you for taking the time to write such a great review on Trip Advisor of your recent family stay with us. I am 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. We look forward to welcoming you and your family back again to The Fairmont Empress 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
Level 4 Contributor
21 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 July 2014

I feel that The Empress in its glory days would have been a fantastic place to stay.
The exterior of the building is stunning and some parts of the interior are also impressive but that is where it ends.

We were a family of 6 with 4 young children. We had booked a 2 x queen bed package room with an additional camp bed. However the room can only can only legally sleep 5. The staff were accommodating and managed to offer us a connecting room at a discounted rate. Sadly the connecting room felt like it was a small attic side room. See photo. They just about managed to squeeze in a service tray on top of a luggage stand. This held the coffee machine etc. I was worried that if I knocked it the whole thing would fall down. There was a wardrobe but no drawers in sight.

The rooms were on the 6th floor and were old with no view. I was prepared for no air-conditioning as it does state it on their website. But I was not prepared for the thread bare bed sheets and the shabby robe. There were even holes starting on our bed sheets as they were so worn. The towels were also grey and thinning. The ties on the robes were ready to snap in half if pulled hard enough as they were so thread bare. Everything just felt old and worn. The one positive is that the rooms in general felt clean enough.

In some parts of the hotel , one can feel the history in its walls. But the lay out and the way the hotel is now used has not made the most of what use to be a lovely building. For example the wooden stair cases either side of the Tea room look wonderful and majestic but once you reach the next floor, it ends abruptly and you are faced with plaster wall and a plain locked door to the gold level floor.

The staff were overall pleasant. I was impressed that Deborah in concierge remembered us as she had helped book a whale tour for us in advance over email.

Location is fantastic, you are in the middle of the hustle and bustle of Victoria. But if you sleep with the windows open which one will have to in the summer you will also hear the bustle at all hours.

It was very difficult to accept the cost of staying 4 nights in Victoria under these conditions so we found a wonderful alternative for less. We checked out the next day. We felt that we were paying for location and former history.

Room Tip: Ask for a renovated room but you will be paying the extra for it.
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  • Stayed July 2014, travelled with family
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Mei Mei Y
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, 25 July 2014
Dear Valued Guest,

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. We are always very happy to move you into a room that is more comfortable. Please do not hestitate to ask in the future. I apologize for the threadbare sheets and the robes that you had in the room and am following up on these comments wtih our Executive Housekeeper. I was very pleased to read that Deborah was able to help your family with arranging a whale tour and that you also enjoyed our wonderful central location within walking distance to so many venues. Thank you again for sharing the feedback. I was unhappy to read that you left before the end of your scheduled visit, and I would be happy to discuss your stay further should you wish.

Kind regards,

Don Fennerty
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Mercer Island, Washington
Level 5 Contributor
57 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 July 2014

The Empress was the End of the Line for the old Canadian Pacific RR. She was the premier hotel on the trans-Canada trek by rail. She is now a Fairmont Hotel, but still the Grand Lady of Victoria. Service, Location, Ambiance, Public Rooms, Guest Rooms are all top notch. Best of all is the Bengal Lounge. Previously the men's smoking library, it has morphed into the finest watering hole in Victoria. They serve their traditional curry buffet for lunch and dinner - a great value. The mixed drinks are a little pricey, but top quality.

Room Tip: Pay the price and grab an Harbour View room in the old, original part of the Hotel.
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Green Features: They offer in-room recycling, optional sheet and towel replacement at user request.
  • Stayed July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank amb_on_MI
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, 25 July 2014
Dear Valued Guest from Mercer Island,

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 and that you enjoyed the history and ambiance of this great building. 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
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cornwall
Level 2 Contributor
8 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 July 2014

We stayed at The Empress for two nights as a special treat during our three week tour of BC and America. Whilst the exterior of the building and public rooms generally look good the bedrooms are a different story. We booked a harbour view room and the view was the only positive part of our stay. The voile curtains were ripped in several places. We complained and were told by Reception (who had contacted Housekeeping) that if we moved rooms it would be no different. They offered us free Wifi to try and compensate.

The room was dirty, the paintwork was peeling around the windows, the bathroom was tiny and on a VERY hot weekend there was no air conditioning - on our thermometer it read 98F in our room!!!

This hotel does no credit to the Fairmont brand and we will not stay there again and will not be recommending the hotel to friends or family. Overpriced for rooms which are no more than two star quality. In our three week tour we stayed in many hotels - all of which were cheaper than the Empress and all were far superior.

  • Stayed July 2014
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Plainthought
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, 25 July 2014
Dear Valued Guest from Cornwall,

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. We are always very happy to move you into a room that is more comfortable. Please do not hesitate to ask in the future as the response that you received after asking is not acceptable and I will be following up on this. Thank you for your feedback regarding the paint in the room which is also being followed up on. I would be happy to discuss your stay further should you wish.

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
Allentown, PA
Level 5 Contributor
78 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 July 2014

We stayed at the Empress specifically to have the afternoon high tea. My room was spacious and comfortable. Particularly good was the young concierge who encouraged us to sign up for the President's Club so we could get free WiFi, managed to get reservations for us at the Bengal Room, even though the on-line booking said they were full.

The hotel was well-maintained and retains an old-world charm.

  • Stayed July 2014, travelled with friends
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank teamfur
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, 25 July 2014
Dear Valued Guest from Allentown,

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 am pleased to read that you enjoyed your room and became a member of our Fairmont Presidents Club, our complimentary preference program. 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
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

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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