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“The Grand Dame”

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The Fairmont Empress
Ranked #21 of 49 Hotels in Victoria
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersGold level
Reviewed 23 July 2010

The Old Girl is ancient, but the service is superb. Our room, renovated in the past year, had several repairs, which were immediately made by the maintenance staff, and had way too few electrical outlets for those of us using modern technology (bring a multiple plug expander with you, with six plug-ins for a single dual wall outlet). The windows required some work to free them from the clinging ivy, but unlike modern hotels, the windows open to the fresh breezes off the water. Our view of the Inner Harbor was spectacular. Get some Cheerios to feed the hungry birds who light on your windowsill (if you're generous, the repeat customers tap their beaks on your window to announce their arrival). The health club is quite adequate, and includes full lockers and dressing rooms, along with the great pool, sauna and hot tub. We stayed on the Fairmont Gold floor, and the free breakfast there was nothing short of spectacular. The Front Desk and Gold floor staff were simply superlative, handling everything that came their way. I’d hire each and every one of them. If you put the Four Seasons or :Peninsula hotel chains as the gold standard, the service here is Platinum.

  • Stayed: July 2010, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank willie90212
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 reviewResponded 3 August 2010

Thank you for your very complimentary posting recognizing the outstanding efforts of our staff.
Our team strives to exceed our guest expectations and it wonderful to know that we succeeded in doing just that.

We are thrilled that you enjoyed your stay on our concierge level, Fairmont Gold, and we look forward to welcoming you back in the near future.

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3,388 - 3,394 of 3,885 reviews

Reviewed 21 July 2010

My wife and I stayed at the Fairmont Empress for two nights; having read the Reviews, I asked for a "renovated" room when checking in; was told the only renovated rooms were Fairmont Gold concierge level; we took the un-renovated room and were very satisfied. The room was small but elegant, the bed was delightful, the bathroom was dated but good enough. The hotel staff were obviously well trained and willing to help, no matter what their station; for example, then lady who checked in was perfectly willing to make reservations for the carriage tour; no pathetic "see the concierge games" here; when our keycard didn't work, the housekeeping man was ready to help; no pathetic "call the front desk" runaround. We had tea and the tea bled and accompaniments were above-average, even if a dress code might have made the ambiance more becoming. The bottom line is that although this hotel does not seem to be looking for a fifth star, it still is elegant enough and the service was responsive.

  • Stayed: July 2010, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank asw_esq
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 reviewResponded 3 August 2010

Thank you for your valuable feedback. We are delighted that you enjoyed the elegance of our grand hotel as well as the engaging service provided by our team.

Again, thank you for sharing your comments and we look forward to welcoming you back to The Fairmont Empress in the near future.

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Reviewed 21 July 2010

Beautiful hotel. Stayed one night. Room was very large as hotels rooms go and well appointed. Bath was also large. Staff was very friendly and helpful. Expensive but worth a special visit.

  • Stayed: May 2010, travelled as a couple
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Thank TCFLongIsland_NY
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 July 2010

No summer AC, No seals at the adjoining room doors to keep out noise and cigarette smoke on NO SMOKING floors! Great breakfast when you get comped!

  • Stayed: July 2010, travelled with family
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2  Thank anywherebutflorida
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 July 2010

Well, hard to take on that review. The setting of the hotel is great. Right at the harbour. The hotel itself is magnificent (from outside), but everything feels like they are sparing costs everywhere. The rooms are cute but not super clean and not really up to standards (for the price anyway). Our internet was poor, and kept disconnecting. I found the sound insulation not great. The personnel was very average, which I found often in North America. We had food provided as part of the conference I was at and it was far from being outstanding. I am bit torn as it is a very nice hotel but too expensive for what it is, really

  • Stayed: December 2009, travelled on business
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2  Thank gostram
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 July 2010

We stayed there one night in early July 2010, under a package that included dinner and breakfast in bed. LOVED the dinner....AMAZING!!! It said 3 course dinner, and I assumed it would be a limited menu; however, when we sat down, the waiter handed us the regular full menu and allowed us to select ANY appetizer, entree and dessert! Very cool! The Executive Chef even came by and spoke to us, which was a nice touch! The breakfast in bed was equally good. Ok...now for the "not-so-nice"....the hotel does NOT have air conditioning and the day we arrived, it was very, very toasty! The ceiling fan helped, as did the open windows; however, a wasp flew in, so we quickly closed the windows, and just dealt with the heat. Didn't really care for the brick walls view from our windows, either. The room was very small, but after reading other reviews, I half-expected that. We also had the afternoon tea the next day which was very nice, but I must agree, it was very over-priced (we also had the afternoon tea at Butchart Gardens, which was lovely, and much better priced). Overall, if you realize that this is a 100+ year old property, and can appreciate the history of this beautiful hotel, then perhaps you can overlook the wear & tear.

  • Stayed: July 2010, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank TLKgal
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 reviewResponded 3 August 2010

Thank you for taking the time to post your comments regarding your recent stay at The Fairmont Empress.

We are pleased that you were able to partake in one of our many tempting packages that we have available throughout the year. Your comments surrounding your dining experience in The Empress Room, In Room Dining and Afternoon Tea are very much appreciated and it will be my pleasure to share your feedback with our culinary and food and beverage teams.

We look forward to welcoming you back to the hotel on your future visits to Victoria.

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Reviewed 11 July 2010

stayed 1 night as part of a package that included breakfast and tea for two. The cost was very fair.

As some reviews have noted, this is an old hotel and so the rooms clearly were not constructed recently (or updated). But if you want a great inner harbour location and the feel of yesteryear, then the Empress is fine. (If you want ultra modern conveniences in your room, then stay elsewhere.)

As for the tea, it is overpriced if you compare it with other options in Victoria. But there is only one Empress, and to us the experience of sitting in the tea lobby is worth the extra cost. (If you are primarily concerned about cost, then buy some confections at the best patisserie in your town, go home and brew your own tea.)

We go for tea at the Empress almost every year, and if pressed I would say that without the package deal we would not likely stay at the Empress.

  • Stayed: October 2009, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank desertfor123456
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: £164 - £326 (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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