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Review of The Empress Hotel

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The Empress Hotel
Ranked #4 of 15 Hotels in Douglas
Reviewed 2 May 2012

I went to the Isle of Man for a long weekend with the missus recently and stayed at The Empress. I've stayed at this hotel a few years ago and remember liking it. It was however the first time my wife has stayed here and the Isle of Man for that matter. The terrible weather meant that we spent more time in the hotel than we intended but this wasn't necessarily a bad thing. Our room overlooked the beach front giving a fantastic view. The room itself was nice and cosy, even though it was huge. The bed was big and comfortable, the shower had good power, all of things I expect from a good hotel.

The hotel's restaurants were great. We managed to eat in all 3 of the restaurants. The Aroma, which serves a buffett for dinner was good with decent choice and fresh. The Conservatory restaurant was very nice. This exceeded our expectations, the food was excellent and the evening was very nice. It certainly gave us a sense of occasion. Finally the Piano Bar, we spent a lot of time there in the evening and during the day for lunch. It had a very relaxed atmosphere, which was perfect for us. The food was delicious and the portions were ginormous. I definitely feel like I got value for money not just with regards to the food but the entire stay.

The staff were all very friendly and helpful, be it the reception staff, bar staff, waitresses, whatever I didn't have a bad word about anyone. Im a big fan of motor racing so was interested in the TT route. A guy at the reception, Trevor, if I remember correctly, was a petrolhead like me and if you ever want to know more about the TT or driving routes on the island, he's your man.

All in all, no complaints and we had a brilliant time, save for the hurrendous ferry journey to and from the island.

  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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1  Thank Ash168
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 23 April 2012

Just back from a my weekend stay at The Empress Hotel. This was my second visit to the hotel. The hotel was originally recommended to me by friends who are very well travelled and again we were not disappointed.

We arrived in the middle of a heavy downpour but received a very warm welcome from the reception staff. Our room was modern, a good size and spotlessly clean with a great shower and comfy bed. Although the hotel is situated on a main road, we couldn't hear the traffic but instead we got an amazing view of the bay!

The hotel is in a superb location just minutes walking distance from the main sights and shopping areas in Douglas. Overall, the staff were very friendly, helpful and professional. It seemed nothing was a problem for them (and I don’t say this lightly as I am a bit of a stickler when it comes to good customer service!!). For dinner, after seeing the menu at “The Conservatory” restaurant (there are three different restaurants in the hotel!), we decided to eat in the restaurant and were thoroughly impressed with the quality of food and value. We also had lunch in the Piano Bar on our last day and again the food and service was very good.

For me, the Empress Hotel has everything - It is very conveniently located, first rate customer service, lovely spacious rooms, use of a gym and sauna facilities and great (and excellent value) dining options. All the individuals in the party I was with could not fault this hotel. We will definitely be back again - a real winner!

  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled with friends
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2  Thank westendlad
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 April 2012

Had a very enjoyable stay at the Empress for 4 nights in April 2012.

The hotel is in a great location, right on the promenade, about a 5 minute walk from the centre of Douglas.

The room was clean and well decorated, with a good sized bathroom with both bath and shower.

Good choice for breakfast (buffet) with Manx Kippers being available on request - which were very good.

Also a very comfortable bar area with views of the sea which was very well patronised.

The only critisism would be the temperature in the bedroom, which was always too hot for us, even with windows open and the radiators turned off.

All of the staff were unfailingly helpful, and we would not hesitate to return.

  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Cliffite
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 April 2012

If you are looking for some where to stay in Douglas then you wont go far wrong staying at the Empress.
Room was ok, breakfast was excellent and the location could not be better.
Staff very friendly and always helpfull, not sure about the room prices though as we stayed there on expenses.
Would go back though and spend my own money staying at the Empress, no problem, but would have to get a sea view room next time because the view from the room i stayed in was of a dodgey back yard with a chimney and a/c units to look at.

Room Tip: Try and get a sea view, we booked 5 rooms and all were looking into quite a grotty back yard.
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  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled on business
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2  Thank Darrell W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 April 2012

Was on the Isle of Man over the Easter week end for a freiends wedding which was held in Douglas at The Empress Hotel.

We had a great stay comfortable room at the back of the hotel as we booked late and were not able to get a seaview, however rooms was very clean well stocked with tea tray and good bed with duvet, shower was great very good and hot water was hot.

We had a very lovely meal at the reception and well served , not often one finds silver service as this was and all very hot and tasty, wine was good also.


Staff all very friendly and smart in blue shirts and matching ties, a good stocked bar with great half bottles of champagne again good as often a full bottle gets wasted.

The breakfast was buffet style with a good selection and plenty of Tea & Coffee, my partner had Manx Kippers which he said were to die for.

The over all experience was good on our first visit to the Island, and value for money, we were lucky as the weather was marvellous.

Room Tip: It is always good to have a seaview room when close to the sea, but book early we were late and
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  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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2  Thank Brian J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 April 2012

booked 3 nights double room over easter, the room was tiny had to dance round each other to move but on the whole the room had everything you need for a stay
bath tiny !! but as not partying only washing in it it did the job
the hotel is ideally situated right on the promenade easy to get to shops, bars etc
staff all friendly and the hotel is very clean all the way through
breakfast was buffet style and plentiful, kippers, porridge etc to be ordered and cooked to order
our only problem was that whether off the buffet or ordered it went cold very quickly not sure why
would we stay again yes for definite more for location than the room

  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Thank dawnybrads
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 March 2012

Well, we have finally done it, we have found the worst run hotel anywhere we have ever stayed in the whole world. In 53 years of travel. From the tip of south america to the north of iceland, this is it. MY NUMBER ONE worst place to stay.
Where do I start ? We were travelling on business to the Isle of Man and needed to change our dates by 2 days. Being seasoned travellers, well ahead, I not only changed my dates with booking.com, but I rang twice and spoke to the hotel directly. Unfortunately on both occassions I got a girl who did not speak English. This I dont mind, but why put them on reception. I then got a very curt email from the booking manager with the wrong price and wrong date to which I replied explaining their error, and asking a couple of questions, they were ignored. Strangely I got a sense of foreboding but we were comitted so off we went.
I do want to reiterate the ONLY reason I chose this cold, unfeeling, unfriendly victorian pile was it A) had an indoor heated swimming pool and B) a pianist in the piano bar.C) A nightly buffet. mm nice I thought, while hubby is on business I can have a swim and in the evening sit and listen to someone tinkling the ivories. *Oh the joke was on us*. On arrival, after fighting to find a parking space on the busy road outside, we lugged all our luggage in. I had a suitcase in each hand, a suit in a bag and a handbag. My husband had a suitcase in each hand, a briefcase and a laptop over his shoulder. There was a small boy behind reception who I thought at first was a teenage child left to wander by his parents, but oh no, he was the face and reception of the Empress hotel. We very happily said hello, gave our names and said we are booked into a suite at the front. No smile, no greeting, NO hello, no can I help you with your luggage, can I call someone to help you with your luggage just, 'name & sign there'. I noticed the dates were wrong, so very politely said oh the dates have been changed we are staying 2 nights less. He snapped 'oh really, I dont think so'. I explained the dates, the phone calls and the emails. He snapped 'I dont care what you say you are paying' i replied of course we are paying but we changed our dates, confirmed in writing and by email. He turned and shouted 'oh right, go on then, go on show me the email, show me it then'. I was stunned, i said excuse me ? he said 'go on show me this email then'. by now we were bending under the strain of our luggage and I said 'does it look like I have a lap top balanced on my head,be able to get it down, search through my emails and print you off a copy. If you wait till I put all my luggage down and you let me use your computer I will show you the email. By now I did not care about what was right or wrong, he had just turned really nasty. 'No, you cant use our computer it is not company policy. So you cant show me it then can you'. I looked and thought, how young and how badly mannered and aggressive he was. I said to him, look there is no need to shout at me and be so rude, The dates dont even matter, we are here for 2 nights less and I rang twice. 'Oh yeah; so who did you speak to then' I said I spoke to a young girl who had very little english.he said 'oh shes useless, she only covers when there is no one about'. How was I meant to know that. so, I had a brainwave, I said to my husband put down all the cases, go and get our laptop out and I will show him the emails. To which small boy said...........ready for this ? ''oh so you havent got a laptop on your head then, even if you said you had''. He then walked away mumbling obscenities under his breath, tutting and shaking his head. he said it didnt matter what we did or said we were paying. I said we had no intention of not paying, we had just changed our booking. He said again, 'oh yeah when'? I said 7 days ago, by email and phone. he said 'well your paying'. My husband said, lets go, ive had enough of this, lets go and find another hotel. The small boy, who looked 12, but I guess must have been 17, and obviously thought the whole thing highly amusing shouted at us, 'you can go and find another hotel but your paying for this one as well'. I was too amazed to be angry, shout, lose my temper or do anything, I thought this hotel must be desperate for the money. My husband said lets pay the whole week and just go and find a nice hotel. I said, Im tired, the bags are heavy lets just run with it for now.
I wondered if there had been a death in the Empress family or some sort of an emergency for them to have left this small and obnoxious boy on reception, but being the calm mother and grandmother that I am I put down all my cases, got the laptop case, got out our laptop and set it up on reception. I said, ok, so if I cant use yours (which was 12 inches away from my right hand) i will look at mine. He said, you cant laughing. I said, why cant i use my own laptop, you advertise everywhere wifi.?? It is emblazoned on every surface. He said 'you cant connect, I said why? he said because you have to pay me. I said pay you to use my own laptop? yes, he said, we DONT say its free do we laughing out loud. He was now gloating at our bedraggled forms and muttering under his breath said it would be £5 please. I was incredulous. Aghast. I said are you telling me you advertise Wifi in every room and we pay. You pay £800 plus for a week at this hotel and have to give you £5, yes he gloated EVERYDAY. Its £5 a day so you cant look it up on your laptop can you. I said' I can go into town, to any cafe or bar, spend £1 on a drink and sit and get free wifi all day. Here you charge me daily thats incredible. I thought Ok so this hotel really must need the money and thats why they hire staff who are barely out of short trousers. I said ok, we'll just book in, pay the £5, go to bed and sort it all out tomorrow with someone older and not quite so rude
I decided to have swim, calm, go for a buffet and try and recover from the verbal assault we have just been subjected to by this unpleasant youth. This he found even more amusing and laughed out loud. POOLS CLOSED. I said what do you mean pools closed, you advertise a pool. 'yup, not anymore' i said I booked this hotel for the indoor heated pool. 'Gone closed'. I said since when, he said this week. I gasped, we could have gone somewhere half the price and had no pool and not been served by an idiot. ok we said, please book us in for your buffet tonight. 'NO' i said what do you mean no, CLOSED. i said closed ?? you are joking. not open on mondays. he was laughing so much we thought he was gong to have a seizure. So i said, oh your having a laugh, No pool, No buffet its a joke???. No he said CLOSED. Both. He stood beside the door to the lift and watched us lift all our bags walk to the door and put them all down again to open the door. He did not even lift his arm to open the door for us... I thought.his mother must be proud.
Off we went to our magnificent suite overlooking the sea. Ok, yes it did overlook the sea. It also must have had an interior designer who was both blind, stupid and stuck in the 1970's. The carpet was a dull dingy brown, the walls were orange and brown and the curtains were exactly the same as the hopital curtains when I had last been in hospital in London 12 years ago. We looked for a light switch, there wasnt one, So subdued lighting, im ok with that. No, only two small bedside lights with energy bulbs. It was so dark we had to put the bathroom light on to unpack. In fact we had to have the bathroom light on all the time we stayed as we couldnt see a thing. The fan drove us mad. Tried to adjust the heating and yes, youve guessed it, the knob fell off. broken. We flopped on the bed, I said lets watch TV, have a bath go into town and have a meal as the buffet is closed. we can come back sit in the piano lounge and have a drink later.Then oh great, noticed no hooks for our coats on the back of the door so just.gave up, threw our coats on the floor.
yes, have you a sense of foreboding too,,,,,,,,, the tv didnt work. I tried every chanel and every picture was all lines and fuzzy. Hopeless. So we got out the poor old trusty laptop and had to watch the news service and tv on our own laptop our whole stay. marvellous. It gets worse. Ran a bath, hot water.hooray. One hand towel. I said to hubby, have you got the towels, we searched...........no towels. Oh joy, I rang down, staff change over hooray, and said we have no towels, A very nice evening porter said he would bring us some, which he did. only 1 pillow each, rang down for an extra pillow each. We stay in £19 travelodges all the time and every one has 2 spare pillows in the cupboard. so Tv doesnt work, no towels. onwards and upwards.............out we dragged as no Buffet, had a chinese back to the hotel for a drink and some piano music. No one. No pianist. We asked, and were told oh no, NO pianist. By now I felt like throwing myself in the sea. Went back up to our room, opened the door and fell over the coats as it was too dark to see them.
Recap, ....wrong dates, curt email, rude and nasty small boy on reception, dont open doors, dont help with luggage, cant see in bedroom, horrible decor, no coat hooks, tv doesnt work, no towels, no spare pillows, no pool, no buffet, no piano player. And we had a week of this.
So we eagerly awaited our newspaper to take to breakfast, gave up waiting went down to the buffet. It was ok, very dried up and poor choice. Cheap horrible thin bread, dried bacon, tinned grapefruit, pretty awful really. But it would do. I had my usual hot water and a slice of lemon and my husband had burnt to crisp incinerated inedible kippers. The breakfast staff were very pleasantt though. I thought 'oh, they should put them on reception. Got our paper at 2pm.
We decided to spend every waking hour out of the hotel, and on our travels told everyone we met about our experience, and being medical we met a lot of people in the space of the week. Apparently The Empress is well known on the Island. I cannot repeat all the tales we were told as I dont want sued, but lets just say its well known. Day 2, couldnt sort out the booking so just agreed to pay and not make a fuss as by now I felt sick with misery and wanted to leave. The next day, breakfast, ordered my hot water and slice of lemon. NO lemon. I said what do you mean No lemon,run out. I said how can you run out of lemon, I could walk 20 feet from the hotel to the spa shop and buy one. No we are due a delivery of lemons. Right, no lemon. Next day No newspaper.........and No lemon.Still no piano player. I was depressed, telling my husband I would fly out now and he could follow on. He'd had more than enough too but had to complete his business. Day 3, no newspaper, no lemon, on it goes,on and on. I asked why no newspaper and was told we had to order it every day. I said everyday.......i have stayed all over the world from grotty dives (better than this) to chic and expensive wonderful converted palaces and only ever ordered my paper on day one for the duration of the stay. Apparently small boy hadnt done it. Next day, no paper again so we just bought one in town. We got one the day we left though ??
Back to breakfast, ordered my hot water and slice of lemon (day 4) no lemons. I said what 4 days and no lemons. I said what do you do if you want a gin and tonic in the bar and you want a sliceof lemon. Laughter ''you cant have one'' lemons didnt come. Day 5, no lemon. I said in 5 days no one could walk 20 feet to spa and buy a lemon. apparently not.. I bought a jar of sliced lemons in town.
By now we had slunk into such a malaise that we never wanted to see the IOM again. We Watched our own laptop, bought our own paper, bought our own lemons, no pool, no piano player ? The only nice member of staff in the whole building was a handsome, sweet pleasant Indian young man called ASH. He was lovely, run off his feet and he seemed to do everything. Ash, leave that place you are too good for it... We wondered what we were paying for. The only piano player or musician we saw our whole stay was made of plastic and a statue in the hall.....and the Empress hotel have the cheek to show this stupid cheap statue on all their advertising...I would put it behind reception, it would probably do a better job than the idiots they employ.
So people............i see last week alone 1,866 people read my reviews as I am a top contributer. If you want no where to park, a rude, upsetting and horrible reception, open your own doors, carry your own bags,an electric shock every time you press the lift button, no pool, no buffet on mondays, pay daily for the advertised WiFi dim lighting, dingy room, a window that opens dangerously wide you can fall out off onto the street below (photo to follow) no coat hooks,no towels no tv, no newspaper, no lemon, and no piano player this hotel is for you. On second thoughts you could go down the road and stay at the Sefton or the Welbeck, which we went and had a look round and were lovely. Or sleep on the beach, suck your own lemons and take your own towel.
And we had to pay for the privelege of staying in this dump.what an insult to humanity. Funny, I was 53 when I arrived and 93 when I left. Arn't hotels meant to work the other way round ?

  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled on business
    • Value
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23  Thank Travel_Teddybears
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about The Empress Hotel

Address: Central Promenade, Douglas IM2 4RA
Region: United Kingdom > Isle of Man > Douglas
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 15 Hotels in Douglas
Price Range: £67 - £107 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — The Empress Hotel 3*
Number of rooms: 102
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Empress Hotel offers three star comfort and has 102 bedrooms of which there are 3 luxurious executive suites with separate lounge area. There are a number of Executive Sea View rooms and a fantastic top floor Penthouse overlooking the whole of Douglas Bay. All of the remaining Classic single, double and twin bedrooms are fully equipped with the comforts of home. For dining, we have The Brasserie Restaurant offering an ala carte selection of carefully prepared dishes by our expert team of chefs and this is located by reception. Alongside the restaurant is the Piano Bar which is open from 11am until late with our resident pianist playing 4 days a week and Sky Sports also available for Sports fans. Our Manx Gourmet Burger Restaurant is open on the lower ground floor, serving the best locally produced burgers on the Island. The hotel has a small gym, sauna and steam room for residents only use, along with our Beauty & Massage Suite operated by Halcyon Beauty. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Empress Hotel Douglas
Empress Hotel Isle Of Man
The Empress Hotel Isle Of Man/Douglas

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