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“Opulent buildings do not make a good hotel”

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The Empire Hotel & Country Club
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 22 September 2007

We stayed at the empire on our way home from London to cure the jet lag. We were there for three nights. Any longer would have been too long. The buildings are magnificent but tasteless. We were told that over 200 architects worked on the hotel and I must say it looks like that. You can not buy good design/taste. The service staff appeared disinterested. I mean by that that a decent course in hospitality school would not have gone astray. Staff were helpful but didn't care too much.
Our dirty laundry (which we were going to take home to wash) disappeared from our room on the first day. It took many phone calls, visits to reception, threats etc to get anyone to even start looking. Never found by this time of course. I accept mistakes happen but any hotel should accept that quickly and do something to put it right asap.
The hotel is biiiiiiig. Too big. It is a long walk to anywhere. Especially when it is raining. I know size does matter but????
Food marginally acceptable. Considering you are "trapped" in their resort environment more casual dining alternatives would have been appreciated.
Rooms were large, clean and comfortable. Wonderful bathroom and one of the most comfortable beds ever in a hotel.
The spa was great. Run by Indonesian staff who do know the meaning of the hospitality industry. The best massage ever anywhere in the world (and I have had a few)

  • Stayed: September 2007, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank subby2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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832 - 838 of 1,050 reviews

Reviewed 13 September 2007

We stayed here some time ago, but I am now catching up! Its a spectacular hotel in every way. The room was large, very luxurious with a balcony overlooking the lagoon style pools and sea. Breakfast was anything you wanted from a buffet, accompanied by a shiny white grand piano that played itself. The entrance atrium was the largest, highest ever seen. There is a full size 18 hole flood lit golf course, a driving range, a theatre and cinema with leather armchair style seats, a good gym and so on and so on. The buffet in the evening is outside, and again, a huge choice of wonderful seafood. We got a good deal because we booked through Royal Brunei, and the hotel and airline are owned by the Sultan. Well worth a visit.

  • Stayed: January 2004, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Nessie P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 September 2007

Went with the missus and bubs on this trip so we stayed a nice place.

Little did I know the Empire is a biiiiiig hotel.

The rooms are excellent, their big, TV is good, business utilities are lacking and I had a hard time getting onto the internet outside of their official business centre, fantastic view over the lake nothing to complain about.......until the batch and shower spewed out muddy water on our last day was about to can the place but they ended up putting us in an upgraded room for the last 4 hours or so which is like yowzer!

The hotel building is 5 star at least, there is also a bowling alley as well as a cinema. The night we were there the Chinese restaurant had a buffet on and it was excellent, very quiet also.

The empire should really be classed as a resort not really a hotel as alot of the entertainment is for tourist resort goers. But even on a business trip I had a good time. Along with the 3 pools, one overlooking the ocean...:D

The only thing I would complain about is some of the service, at times, especially outside the lobby, it was very unprofessional and an unfortunate habit of staff in this region.

That however was really the low point of a generally enjoyable experience

  • Stayed: April 2006, travelled on business
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1  Thank Keith_KL
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 August 2007

The Empire is a fabulous hotel! We stayed for 5 nights on a return journey from Oz. The rooms are amazing and the facilities first class. Food is reasonably priced however no drink is allowed so buy some duty free before your arrival if you want to drink. Only draw back was the lack of shuttle bus and taxis are very expensive. We did the rainforest canopy tour which was well worth it although hard work. If you are going to Brunei this is the place to stay you will love it!

  • Stayed: August 2007, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Jayne M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 July 2007

I have returned from Brunei. I stayed at the Empire again, for the 11th time in two years. This what I found:
A new Manager. a despondent staff, that is what's left of all the good ones, huge decline in food services for example, no cheese because of cost cutting, hot food gone cold, furniture and fittings grubby. Room air-conditioning filthy. They now use a new privatized transport to Bandar (20 mins away @70 Brunei Dollars) so no mini busses.
The are short of staff, supposedly bringing in Brunei staff in lieu of the Indonsian, Phillipino and Malay expatriate staff. Local staff don't have much training and appear un intrested in the service industry.
Pool area is now awful, no beach to speak of, pool cracking and tiles falling off. Broken down fridges and equipment in the pool bat. Tattered and damaged umbrellas. Some days many food items not available.
Denim Jeans are now frowned upon in the Country Club and Golf areas. Many staff can't speak or won't speak english!

So sad!

  • Stayed: July 2007, travelled with family
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6  Thank SabahMike
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 April 2007

We stayed 3 nights at the hotel on the way home from a 2 week holiday in Malaysian Borneo. The hotel is every bit as good as the reviews indicate and we would recommend it to anyone.

It was my partner’s birthday the day after we arrived and on the day a lovely chocolate cake arrived (more calories!!)

I would just add two points. Firstly make sure you take your own alcohol. This can be discreetly consumed in the hotel restaurants and the waiters are happy to pull the cork if required. Soft drinks and mixers are modestly priced

Secondly the food was not only excellent but very good value for money in the restaurants and by the pool. I was fearful that the cost of food was going to be so high it would spoil the stay for us.

As an example we had an all you can eat Chinese buffet at the Li Gong restaurant. The set-up was a little different because you selected food off a menu (about 70 dishes) and it was cooked to order. The food was super particularly the prawn dishes. The cost for two including taxes £18!!!

Also a large plate of nachos by the pool which was a good snack for two people cost £5 - As the waiters supplied free iced water all day it makes this hotel about the best value we have every stayed in

  • Stayed: April 2007, travelled as a couple
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8  Thank Mike48
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 April 2007

I recently booked a 3-night stay at the Empire Hotel. I was expecting to be blown away as I had heard a lot of good things about this hotel and I had wanted to visit for a very long time.

The lobby is everything you would expect, lots of marble, over the top luxury and a great view of the ocean.

At check in, I enquired about upgrading to a junior suite and paid the extra BND150 per night.

I was seen to my room and was a bit disappointed. The hotel is starting to show its age and nowhere more so than in their guest rooms.

Yes, the junior suite was large. The first room had a dinner table, couch, mini kitchen & tv. Next was the bedroom, with tv, study and fax machine. (The fax machine had a welcome fax with my name on it, which was cool) and the 3rd room was the bathroom, with separate shower, toilet, double vanity and a spa bath. All rooms overlooked the ocean with an extra long balcony.

I was underwelmed. Yes, the room was large and super clean, but it felt a bit dated and tired. I regretted my decision to upgrade and returned to the front desk requesting to change back to my original Ocean View Deluxe Room. I just didn't think that it was worth the extra money.

The front desk happily accommodated me. The new room was much more to my liking. It was exactly the same as the Jnr Suite, just without the extra tv room, a bath instead of a spa and no fax.

What I particularly did not like about the room, was the state of the balcony. There was moss and mold all over the balcony and the table and chairs outside where definitely past their use by date. The door to the room looked ancient and did not lock properly; you need to make sure that you shut it hard enough for it to lock.

The real highlight of the hotel was the amazing pools and grounds. They are so well maintained and are just beautiful.

As other reviews suggest, the food is not at the level one would expect. Most meals although generously portioned, were average and lacked flavour.

The pool snack bar area was great. The staff brings over some cold water and oranges as soon as you sit down and really do their best to take care of their guests.

There are many activities at the hotel to keep both kids & adults alike very happy, including a country club, kids club, internet services (expensive) & a cinema.

The hotel chocolates are to die for and are definitely worth the money. The packaging makes a great keepsake.

Unlike some reviews, I must say the service I experienced in the hotel was just fantastic during my entire stay.

There are not very many hotels like this in the world (visit the much better Palazzo Versace Hotel in the Gold Coast Australia), but it is definitely worth a visit if you are in Brunei.

  • Stayed: April 2007, travelled on business
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6  Thank Annannann
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about 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: £154 - £214 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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