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“Opulence!”

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The Empire Hotel & Country Club
Certificate of Excellence
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Level 2 Contributor
9 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Opulence!”
Reviewed 7 April 2014

Fairly unique for affordable luxury and sheer opulent indulgence! If you're visiting the Brunei, it'd be a shame to miss out on visiting this grand hotel.

I'd recommend the ones on the main wings with their balconies, comfortable beds and huge marble clad bathrooms.

There's much to do here, but one activity we enjoyed was the hotel cinema - ask for the VIP seats at the back - sumptuously large leather armchairs to enjoy your movie in.

Another not-to-miss activity if you have the time is a day-trip to the Temburung. The boat trips to a jungle lodge deep in the rainforest are a fantastic experience for adults and children, and the canopy walk high inside and above the jungle canopy is pretty special if you've a head for heights.

The mosques and water village in Bandar are worth visiting too; especially as this is a uniquely safe, peaceful and friendly city.

  • Stayed August 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank 1974A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
TheEmpireHotel, General Manager at The Empire Hotel & Country Club, responded to this review, 9 April 2014
Dear Guest,

I am so pleased you enjoyed your visit and thank you for posting your review.

Sincerely,

Nigel Badminton
General Manager
nigel.badminton@theempirehotel.com
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Hasselt, Belgium
Level 6 Contributor
470 reviews
91 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 285 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 April 2014

We spent 3 nights at "The Empire" Hotel during our Borneo tour. Did we sleep well...that's the one thing where you can't fault "The Empire": great beds, matrasses, pillows - you will sleep heavenly. We stayed in one of the "lagoon" buildings.
While reading through reviews from others, I noticed several 5 star reviews, yet I only rate the overall experience as 4 stars, and will motivate this further on. In several other countries I've been in hotels advertising themselves as "the best hotel in the country"...and I think this is the kind of standard to be applied to "The Empire" also - hence a very solid 4 stars, meaning you'll have a great experience, yet also showing quite some areas for improvement to truly become an unforgettable experience.
ARCHITECTURE
many mention it: grand; but overall also well maintained. No faults here. We also noticed intensive debugging happening outside and around the buildings regularly which is really a need in this climate.
RECEPTION
many people at reception desk, making sure that even at busy moments the queues aren't too long; towel and welcome drink provided; luggage taken care off... all good points for the management for the reception.
ROOM
as mentioned above, we were in a lagoon building room; spacious rooms, perfectly clean, large safe and sufficient storage room, sitting corner, great king size bed (probably about 2,20x2,20m), terrace with chairs, large bathroom with separate shower and sufficient good quality towels. Very nice also, low level lighting for at night.
The little things that might get some attention:
- the curtains close by pressing a button... nice, if it works. In our room only the left half of the curtain closed; for the right half we had to use the "traditional" way
- on the bedside is a command center for lights/curtains/... also containing a clock. The clock was set at a completely wrong time, and I didn't find a way to set time right, also no manual for this setting
- shower, instead of a thermostatic tap, has the traditional hot/cold taps which are quite difficult to mix to a comfortable temperature level.
LAGOON BUILDING
well maintained, very close to main lobby (just 50m walk and you're at the back entrance of the lobby), very good and well maintained pool, with friendly staff providing towels.
Attention points:
- the inner hall is quite a noisy place; you just need 2 kids playing/running inside and you'll hear this even in your room. Maybe some extra soundproofing around the doors might help.
- the number of pool chairs is very limited; not only for the lagoon pool, but overall also for the main pool area
BREAKFAST
very professional breakfast reception and staff - I had the impression that the team handling the breakfast was the only real professional catering team in the hotel (read on about the other restaurants...). They're friendly, professional and efficient even under pressure (we experienced an allmost full breakfast room, and they did amazingly well - a good point for the hotel). As to the breakfast buffet: it was excellent and several levels above the food level for the other restaurants in the hotel, yet in comparison with other major/leading hotels I've visited, still some work before really delivering a full 5star experience. But they're clearly on the right path.
RESTAURANTS
We visited 3 (Chinese, Club, Main) of the about 5 restaurants in the hotel. This is the part where a serious effort needs to happen to bring "The Empire" to a next level. And this at different levels: we found most dishes "OK", yet certainly not special from a taste or presentation perspective (just read some of my other restaurant reviews from around the world - also from this Borneo tour - to find out about great food, tasting great, presented well, at the right price setting).
Then there's staff training which needs to be improved. To be clear - all were friendly and trying to be professional... yet quite helpless at moments. Some examples:
- in 2 of the 3 restaurants they were "begging" for customer feedback forms to be filled and clearly mentioned to "remember them"... not what I expect as behavior
- while trying to fill out the feedback form, the pen I received doesn't work, and I ask a new one to the waiter. He calls out to a colleague 10 meters away who throws him a pen across the restaurant (really????). The pen lands on the ground, and our waiter is on hands and knees under a table to find the pen (no further comment)
- in one of the restaurants my wife and me ordered 2 burgers (I agree, 2 different burgers...). We were the only 2 guests in the restaurant, really noone else, not even at the bar. Comes my burger, and we wait, and wait and wait...and 5 min later comes my wife's burger. Someone needs a course in customer focus and parallel processing in this restaurant.

So it's clear that in the restaurant area, both in staff training and culinary approach, "The Empire" needs to invest to get better overall scores
SPA
no personal comments here - just those from my wife (she went twice), which gave the spa an "average" rating, and experienced quite some discomfort after the pedicure which should have been done more carefully
LOCATION
It really depends what you want - in general, I prefer to be able to walk out of my hotel and be near some areas of interest. That's not the case here (unless you're here for playing golf). As a compensation, the main pool area is great with much water surface. There might be more pool chairs to accomodate for moments when it's more crowded. Also staff come around with fresh water for all pool guests - very good, yet this could easily also be build in a bit more service proposing other drinks (not just at the pool bar).

For those interested, please be aware that in Brunei you will not get any alcohol. Also at "The Empire", there's no beer or wine available. So if you want to have e.g. a glass of wine, you can legally import up to 2 bottles of wine when arriving in Brunei - there's some paperwork involved, yet overall it's easy. Just don't forget to buy your wine at the departure airport :-).

CONCLUSION
"The Empire" will give you a great experience, and you'll sleep and bathe as a sultan.
To fully satisfy the reputation and price level, an effort in different areas will be needed, with as main one staff training in the restaurant/kitchen area.

  • Stayed March 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank MarcMich
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
TheEmpireHotel, General Manager at The Empire Hotel & Country Club, responded to this review, 9 April 2014
Dear Marc,

Thank you for your TripAdvisor report and I apologize for the inconsistency you experienced.
Your constructive feedback is most helpful and will be put to good use in our continuous endeavors to improve our service and cuisine.

I hope you will return to stay in the future, and find some improvement at this time.

Sincerely,

Nigel Badminton
General Manager
nigel.badminton@theempirehotel.com
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Singapore, Singapore
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 4 April 2014

Just came back from a 5D4N vacation, staying in the Executive Suite of The Empire during the last week of March.

The hotel architecture is extremely grand - looks like a palace in fact, and the room is spacious.

Spoke to some of the staff in the hotel and they are very friendly, helpful and cheerful. Food are delicous, be it from the meals in the club lounge, breakfast at the atrium, buffet at pantai, simple lunch at Bunker Bistro, or even the room services.

However, a few administrative and procedural gaps did result in great disappointment during the stay.

Should the gaps are fixed, this would be a perfect rest and relax venue.

  • Stayed March 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Leong-CC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
TheEmpireHotel, General Manager at The Empire Hotel & Country Club, responded to this review, 9 April 2014
Dear Leong,

I thank you for taking your time to share your review on your recent stay at The Empire and I am sorry to read that you experienced some disappointment, for which I apologize.

I would welcome your detailed feedback on the nature of this, if you have the time to write to me directly, in order that I may resolve these shortcomings.

Sincerely,

Nigel Badminton
General Manager
nigel.badminton@theempirehotel.com
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kuala Belait, Brunei Darussalam
Level 4 Contributor
24 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 April 2014

Architecturally amazing, abundantly available facilities, beautiful rooms and world class service make this my number one hotel ever visited!

The hotel is beautifully located on the Brunei coast, surrounded by wonderful gardens and an amazing golf course. A very well equipped children's pool, large infinity pool and huge free form salt water pool mean there is no shortage for outdoor activities.

The rooms are very large and very opulent in there presentation. Our balcony offered gorgeous views of the South China Sea.

An array of restaurants mean your spoilt for choice, be it European cuisine, Chinese specialities or a sneaky pastry theres no shortage of tastes.

The staff are so friendly and would do anything for you.

This is somewhere to really treat you and your family!

  • Stayed January 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Craigy_baby24
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
TheEmpireHotel, General Manager at The Empire Hotel & Country Club, responded to this review, 9 April 2014
Dear Guest,

Thank you for your kind review and I will share your kind compliment with our team.

I hope to welcome you back in the future.

Sincerely,

Nigel Badminton
General Manager
nigel.badminton@theempirehotel.com
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 April 2014

This hotel is the best in Brunei, feels like your in a palace. The property was huge and the facilities was scattered. You'll enjoy a walk around the property as the view is truly magnificent. If your feet is tired of walking; no problem there is a free buggy ride that will scroll you around. The room is awesome, it's clean and you'll have a real good night sleep. Our kids really enjoy the e-kids club swimming and playing around. While me and my wife enjoy the Kayak ride next to it. A++ hotel highly really recommended to stay. Regular price is high, you can check on the promotional rate. They always do room promotions whole year round. I only have a suggestion, I hope the management should consider to allow guest to a night swimming at Lagoon pool & beach front pool.

  • Stayed March 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank bertosalvador
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
TheEmpireHotel, General Manager at The Empire Hotel & Country Club, responded to this review, 9 April 2014
Dear Guests,

I appreciate your positive review on TripAdvisor and I look forward to welcoming you back to The Empire.

Sincerely,

Nigel Badminton
General Manager
nigel.badminton@theempirehotel.com
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
South Devon. UK
Level 5 Contributor
59 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
Reviewed 30 March 2014

The Empire is by far the best hotel in Brunei, the grounds and facilites are just wonderful.
The interior, the staff, and exterior areas are the best.
However, although they have numerous pools and two beaches, have no lifeguards, life rings or safety staff on duty.
Their nod to water safety is numerous signs denying any responsibility, and a coloured flag system that is generally out of favour everywhere else in the world.
If you go there with children make sure you keep a close eye on them at all times when using the pools or beach.

  • Stayed March 2014, travelled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank justgimmethefaxmaam
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
TheEmpireHotel, General Manager at The Empire Hotel & Country Club, responded to this review, 9 April 2014
Dear Guest,

Thank you for taking your time to share your experience and observations on your recent stay.

I have noted your concerns regarding water safety. Whilst we do have attendants at the pool side, given the size of the property, I agree with you, it is essential for guests to supervise young children. For this reason, we provide a supervised and enclosed Kids Club for young children, with a shallow pool and slide, which is complimentary to guests.

I hope to welcome you back in the future.

Sincerely,

Nigel Badminton
General Manager
nigel.badminton@theempirehotel.com
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam
Level 4 Contributor
28 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 March 2014

The last weekend of the school holiday, we decided to check into the hotel and try the Sea View Wing. Being local, there is a special rate for the school holidays and that sway our decision to stay in Brunei rather than go the next door neighbour (Miri). For the reasonable package, it includes the room, free use of the hotel facilities, free Wi Fi, 1 bowling game at the bunker and breakfast for 2 adults + 2 children.
The service has improved for the better compared to the last time we stayed in the hotel (a good few years back). Checking In was swift and the staffs are friendly. Since the hotel is basically a really big resort, buggy/van is available to transport you to go from building to building. The waiting time is reasonable (3-5 minutes) and they will send you to wherever you want to go within the vicinity of the resort. In my opinion, it would be much better for the hotel to use the buggy instead to transport patrons from one place to another. It adds more to its resort feeling rather than having to see a van ferrying patrons from one building to the next. Furthermore, its much safer for the pedestrians who are also using the same pathway as the buggy/van.
Reaching the Sea View Building, you can see the Sea upon entering the building. What spoils it is the few trees in front of it that actually blocks the view. I would recommend for the trees to be trim or remove. Obviously the Sea View has a lot of potential. But if the hotel is not filled up, that potential will not be realised. I can foresee some activities being done on the ground level of the building since the view adds to ambience, probably serving drinks and light food pehaps while enjoying the view?
The room is huge with your own personal balcony. You can enjoy the sunrise from this side of the building. The room amenities are just right which includes tea and coffee making facilities and complimentary drinks. It is also equipped with Free Wi-fi. The hotel has replaced the TV with a standard LCD which is a welcome changed. But the channels are limited to a few. The bathroom is standard for this hotel which has the bath tub, separate shower and toilet in a huge bath room which also has two wash basins. The bath room also have a big window that is overlooking the sea.
As this is an unwind check in, the bed does not disappoint. Comfortable and the pillows are dream weaver to say the least.
The Empire Hotel & Country Club somehow has the best view of the Sunset in Brunei Darussalam. You can enjoy the view pool side area. We did just that and sit on the grass observing the sun going into the horizon. Since I was bringing my kids to see this daily spectacle, you have to be mindful of your kids since the best spot is near the manmade ‘cliff’ which has no safety railings. Probably the hotel has their own reason not to put safety railing but should consider having one. I also did not see any warnings around Its litigation waiting to happen. I also notice that there are some cigarettes buds laying around this area as well which is not a pretty sight. The hotel should also considered to have some designated smokers area, or banned smoking in the vicinity or just confine smoking into their own room.
The kids were looking forward to have a splash in the pool and we did that early in the morning (around 7.30). The pool (eKids) is clean. I noticed the big pool where it is use for canoeing activities no longer have the ‘sand beach’ and it was replaced with concrete. In my opinion that adds to the uniqueness of this particular pool and the hotel should have retain them rather than replacing them. The sands adds to the feel of a beach and really kind to the feet.
The kids also had the chance to have a go at the main pool. The depth of the pool varies from one corner to the next. They finished off by getting themselves into the Jacuzzi. They had fun.
The breakfast was served in the Atrium in the main building. The varieties of food served are a welcome changed and we did enjoy them very much and being in Brunei Darussalam, Halal is guaranteed.
Checking out is also pretty quick where you can do it on the building you are staying in. Pretty neat eh?
We would love to stay in this hotel again and eyeing the long weekend in May 2014 just to unwind at home without flying off to other countries. Better package in May, complimentary movie tickets perhaps?

Room Tip: Depends on what you want. If you want to be closer to the Lobby, stay at the main building. If you d...
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  • Stayed March 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank storm t
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
TheEmpireHotel, General Manager at The Empire Hotel & Country Club, responded to this review, 9 April 2014
Dear Guest,

Thank you for your detailed report posted on TripAdvisor and I have taken careful note of your comments.

We are shortly intending to resurface the areas surrounding the lagoon and to trim the trees around Seaview, to improve the view. I understand your parental concern regarding safety and I will keep this in mind, when planning improvements to the property.

Sincerely,

Nigel Badminton
General Manager
nigel.badminton@theempirehotel.com
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 Empire Hotel & Country Club

Property: The Empire Hotel & Country Club
Address: Kampong Jerudong BG3122, Brunei Darussalam
Phone Number:
Region: Brunei Darussalam > Brunei-Muara District > Kampong Jerudong
Amenities:
Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 5 Hotels in Kampong Jerudong
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:5 star — The Empire Hotel & Country Club 5*
Number of rooms: 518
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located on the north eastern tip of Borneo on the doorstep of one of Asia's oldest rainforests, The Empire Hotel & Country Club is Brunei’s most prestigious beach resort offering unsurpassed 5-star luxury.This palatial resort hotel, which astounds visitors with its spectacular 12 storey marble and gold lobby, is set in its own private 180-hectare (445 acres) estate of manicured gardens and an 18-hole, floodlit Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course and Country Club. Each of the hotel’s 522 opulently appointed guest rooms, suites and private villas has a view of the ocean, lagoon, gardens or golf course, while standard throughout the hotel are Imperial king-sized beds made with the finest linens, and over-sized marble bathrooms with walk-in shower, deep soaking tub with gold taps and luxury amenities. The Empire Hotel & Country Club also extends the kingdom’s regal hospitality with an impressive range of international restaurants, spa, world-class golf and sporting activities, and international meeting facilities for top level MICE gatherings, making it a resort ideal for family, romantic or business vacations. The Empire Hotel & Country Club is a member of WORLDHOTELS and recipient of numerous prestigious international awards. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Empire Hotel And Country Club
Empire Hotel Brunei

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