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“Room for 2.5 overlooking ocean”

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The Fairmont Empress
Ranked #19 of 49 Hotels in Victoria
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersGold level
Vancouver
Level Contributor
54 reviews
53 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 217 helpful votes
“Room for 2.5 overlooking ocean”
Reviewed 30 May 2010

This weekend was the third time we stayed at the Fairmont Empress. My husband, myself and my dog all enjoyed our stay!

We booked the hotel as part of the Fairmont President's club monthly great rates promotion. We were very happy to learn that our basic room had been upgraded to a gorgeous harbourview room on the 7th floor (benefits of choosing one or two hotel groups and sticking with them).

Note that while we appreciate the old-world charm of the Empress' design, it is not the style we typically seek in hotel decor, however, the service and location make this hotel worthwhile.

Recommendations -
- the hotel is old and grand. if you're looking for something funky, go elsewhere.
- because the hotel is old, the walls are thin. be prepared for this or ask for a room at the end of the hall.
- because the fairmont overlooks the ocean, dress warmly. the breeze cam be chilly at times--even in summer.
- if you have a chance, try the Empress' Afternoon High-Tea --it's a tradition for which they are known well and have practically perfected
- consider a pre or post-dinner drink at the Bengal Lounge (decorated with an African Lodge Feel) as you sway to the nightly music
- valet + self-park are $29/daily. if you are there on the weekend, try to park beside the parliament buildings (in front of the royal scott hotel) for FREE
- there is a grocery store a 15-min walk from the Empress in case you want to get some munchies during your stay
- each room has a small fridge which you can use

  • Stayed May 2010, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
4 Thank tripstyler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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brighton
Level Contributor
6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 May 2010

we stayed here for one night, we were given a room opersite the kitchen fans that was noisy all night, we were kindly supplied ear plugs! The room was shabby, chairs that stank of god knows what dog i think, it maybe the oldest hotel in Victoria with lots of History, but it really needs redecorating , just go for a drink and a look do not stay, it is not worth the money.

  • Stayed April 2010, travelled with family
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Helpful?
4 Thank ladygaga55
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Irvine, California
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 May 2010

Was dying to experience afternoon tea, and The Empress didn't disappoint. The server was very friendly, knowledgeable and attentive. The finger sandwiches were great, as were the scones and desserts, and they offered refills on all of it, so it was quite a meal. The dining room was gorgeous. It was pricey, but it was a fine experience and worth it. The let us take leftovers and gave us tea bags to go.

  • Stayed May 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank EMOESQ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Huntington Beach, California
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 May 2010

Our experience at the Fairmont Empress fell short of our modest expectations. Be sure to ask whether they are checking you in next to a dog on the 1st floor. Especially if you have allergies. They don't have the kind courtesy to tell you beforehand. My wife and I found out by being woken up in the night from incessant barking.

Also their toilets in their newly renovated rooms were noisy and leaked all night long. Every flush was a horrible experience. The water would splash up and would hardly refill the bowl. Amazingly, when I informed the front desk manager, Julet, she informed me that all of the rooms that she checked were the same.

After I inquired about the TV Internet service offered as one of a handful of choices on their onscreen guest services menu, I was told that the service was turned off months ago. After discussing the issue with the hotel, I directed the management staff to simply call whoever manages their onscreen guest services menu. They did and had the dead link removed from all 470+ rooms within five minutes.

Finally, when we checked out, we stood outside next to our car for over 10 minutes. The doorman was no where to be seen. After watching my wife suffer in the cold, I had to retrieve my keys myself from the doorman's station drawer.

The hotel even insisted on my contact information during my vacation and assured us their Director of Operations, Edward [-] would call us the next business day. He never did.

Overall, our experience was very poor. I would not recommend the Empress in Victoria to my friends annd family.

  • Stayed May 2010, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
6 Thank mrclooney
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
FairmontEmpress, Administrative Assistant, Operations at The Fairmont Empress, responded to this review, 10 May 2010
We are truly sorry for the poor stay that was experienced by this guest. We are grateful for their comments which are shared and used as a constructive coaching opportunity with our teams.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Calgary, Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 May 2010

The Empress is a lovely landmark hotel with a rich Canadian-British tradition in Victoria, BC.

The grounds, gardens and overall condition of the hotel is fantastic. Clearly, the staff and management take pride in the property.

Unfortunately, like many hotel experiences, the satisfaction or dissatisfaction of your stay is often determined by your interaction with hotel staff.

Positives: the hotel accomodated our request to check in as early as possible by calling us on our cellphone when our room was ready. Greatly appreciated. The Restaurant staff and Gift Shop staff were fabulous: helpful, pleasant and service-oriented.

Negatives: After checking in, we proceeded to our room. The room was noticably in sub-standard condition for a hotel of its price-point and grand reputation: worn carpets and a general feeling of longterm neglect. The room was also connected to an adjoining room via door in the suite. Past experiences have shown us that you can be disturbed by late night tv noise, etc on the other side of the door so we always ask for a conventional room without an adjoining door.

Unfortunately, our original preferences in the on-line booking page were not addressed. We travel quite often and this is just "one of those things" that you encounter from time to time. It is usually resolved by a polite telephone call to the Front Desk.

As I called the Front Desk from the room, our Porter arrived with our luggage. He gleaned the situation and waited while I finished my conversation with the Front Desk. But things fell apart there. The Front Desk person acted as though our query about another room was an inconvenience to him. He asked us to wait in the room and he'd call us back shortly. In the meantime, while my wife, the Porter and I waited for a callback, the Porter broke his silence and weighed in with his opinion about adjoining rooms, unmistakedly critisizing us for exercising our right to ask for an alternative room. The last thing you want to deal with after a long flight and shuttle trip to the hotel is a surly, self-important person who works at the hotel. Talk about deflated first impressions.

The Front Desk eventually called our room and said there was nothing more available other than a "noisy room above the front doors of the hotel" until more people checked in later in the day. I asked if our President's Club status might open additional rooms to us. The answer "no". I told the Front Desk person that we were disappointed and asked if he could revisit our request later in the day and get back to us. He said he would.
He never called us again -- even over the full three days of our stay. Very disappointing service attitude by the Empress.

The final experience to relate was our interaction with the surly Porter the following day. It was raining In Victoria, we didn't pack an umbrella. My wife stopped by the Porter's Station and politely asked if we could borrow an umbrella. The Porter was alone. The Porter's response was to disinterestedly mumble something to my wife and point at the Front Desk. The message was basically "I have no time for you, go see them for help". I'd expect this kind of surly behavior at a low end hotel/motel, not a high-end hotel in a city trying to rebound from a serious recession.

There are many excellent hotel choices around the Victoria harbour. It might not be a bad idea for Empress management to re-focus some of their staff to this reality.

In the end, I would probably still recommend The Empress to friends and even give it another try myself with the hope that our experience was an isolated one. After all, it still is the Grande Dame of Canada's West Coast.

  • Stayed April 2010, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank LesnRob
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
FairmontEmpress, Administrative Assistant, Operations at The Fairmont Empress, responded to this review, 17 May 2010
Thank you for taking the time to document these unfortunate breakdowns in the high level of service you have come to expect from The Fairmont Empress. I can assure you that these two particular instances have been forwarded to our Front Office Manager and your comments will be shared and utilized as training tools for our front office team.

With regards to your request of a non-adjoining room, I urge you to please contact the hotel directly so that we may take the liberty of ensuring that your request of a 'non-adjoining' room is clearly indicated on your Fairmont President's Club profile.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ottawa, Canada
Level Contributor
22 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 April 2010

The Empress has the best location in Victoria. The hotel is in the harbor and close to the BC Museum and the Legislative Assembly.

Our room was small and old. The bathroom would need to be redone and if you go in the summer the room did NOT have AC. I’m guessing it could get really hot. The window opened but with kids it could be nerve wrecking to leave it open since we were on the 5th floor! Bed was old and noisy.

The pool is clean and lots of fun. The kids enjoyed it. They even have a wading pool for the little ones.

Staff was always nice and helpful.

All in all…..not amazing but it was OK for a 2 nights stay. Next time, we will try the Marriott Harbor right behind the Empress.

  • Stayed April 2010, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank ACEinCanada
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Vancouver BC
Level Contributor
33 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 71 helpful votes
Reviewed 9 April 2010

The staff were amazing they made us feel very well taken care of. They greeted us by name, and treated our little girl like a princess. The room was very quiet and comfortable. The location is fantastic. It was a perfect winter retreat!

  • Stayed January 2010, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank E-Equals-MC2
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):
The Fairmont Empress sits majestically at the cornerstone of Victoria's sparkling Inner Harbour. This landmark hotel features turn of the century architecture, classic beauty and an unrivaled location on the water. It features the highly acclaimed Willow Stream Spa regarded as one of the best spas in Canada. Food lovers can sample the English ritual of Afternoon Tea, savour the famous curry buffet in The Bengal Lounge or sample award-winning food and wine in The Empress Room. The Fairmont Empress offers wireless internet access in all guestrooms, and it is complimentary for our Fairmont President's Club members, free to join. ... 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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