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“6 star lobby, 2 star service.”

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The Empire Hotel & Country Club
Certificate of Excellence
Singapore, Singapore
Level 4 Contributor
35 reviews
29 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
“6 star lobby, 2 star service.”
Reviewed 16 January 2011

We booked this hotel for 4 days and 3 nights. Our flight was delayed from KL but we were pleasantly surprised that the limo and the driver were still waiting for us for about 2 hours. Thank you! Hubby gave a generous tip for his patience and good mannerisms. As it was over the holidays, we were expecting a big crowd. However, we were not expecting that service would be lacking.

Check-in took some time as they were clearly short staffed. We paid for an upgrade to a suite and it was stunning. Unfortunately we only had partial views of the sea. We were also given the e-club benefits. Breakfast at the e-club lounge was ok. It was a little unfortunate that we had a 11/12 yr old kids in pjs and flip flops with their hands scratching their little buns and then touching the pastries. I can understand if its a 3 year old but come on...clearly its not the hotels fault on this one. The variety of food was quite minimal. The staff were well dressed at the e-club but one or two of them would pour our coffee and it would leak onto the saucer and table. Were they nervous?

One morning, we decided to try breakfast at the Atrium Cafe and it was also sub-par. Service was really bad here. We were given a table. I had a cup and saucer, hubby did not. Hubby had napkins, i did not. Hits and misses. Food was either cold or lukewarm. Coffee was served lukewarm when we finally got the attention or someone. Juices and milk were finished. We decided to get something in the city when we went off after with our private tour.

The rooms are really nice. You really get what you pay for. Lush carpeting, big tub, nice dining area. A half bathroom and mini kitchen. Its pleasant. We also liked the welcome treats like traditional kuih-kuih, chocolate truffles and cookies. We had a restful sleep and we were pleased with our rooms. We just wished that they had all suites overlooking the ocean as opposed to a partial view. We were just happy that we could stand at our balcony and get some sun.

We ate twice at the hotel. Once at the Atrium cafe which was ok -(great Rendang). Second was a Li Gong. That is a keeper. What a beautiful restaurant and wonderful food. We went for the Mongolian Buffet they had. Yummy. We did go to Pantai to look at the menu but they had French fare that night. We love French cuisine - we are from Montreal but we decided to skip and go for local instead.

We also bought the Empire chocolates as gifts as they all had unique exotic flavours. It was a hit with those for whom it was intended.

We hit 2 further snags on the day we checked out. We were given 2 free pressing a day. We called for housekeeping one night and gave them 4 pcs of clothing. We had them separated and told them that we needed 2 the next day and the other can be given at any other time after the next. day When we checked out, they charged us for the extra 2. It was only $17 dollars but we explained and the check-out staff was persistent that we had to pay for it. We did without any further complain. Just take note and send your pressing 2 per day in future. We saved them a trip as the hotel was massive but oh well.

We were then waiting for our limo back to the airport. We ordered some tea and cake at the lobby while waiting and the mint tea was exceptionally refreshing. Goes great with their Pandan cake. We realised we were running short of Bruneian dollars and went to change some Canadian notes at the reception to tip the guys assisting us with the luggage and our limo driver. They advised that they do not accept Canadian. We then gave them Malaysian ringgit and they advised that they do not accept Malaysian. How is that possible considering that its the neighbouring country? They requested for US Dollars but we only had US in change and small notes, so that too was a no-go. We asked the sweet girl who served us tea if we could pay a bit more with our Visa and get a cash return. Her manager said no. We gave up and gave our last 20 to our driver. We felt so so so bad.

Brunei is a beautiful country with beautiful people. The lower-level staff was so amazing with their sweetness. From the buggy ride driver that was drenched in the rain when transporting hotel guests covered and protected to the Chinese restaurant to the lovely housekeeping ladies with their genuine smiles. The services provided needs to match the stunning hotel. What they need to realise here at the Empire is that its not just the glitz and the glory of the hotel that will blow your guests away. Its the smallest and simplest gestures that will go a long way.

  • Stayed December 2010, travelled as a couple
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1 Thank Sabsters
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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English first
Adelaide, Australia
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 9 January 2011

the rooms , the pools, gardens and staff are just superb. We could have spent much longer than a week there. However the food and pricing really let the hotel down. we tried all 4 of the restaurants plus the restaurant at the country club and found them all to be the same. my husband ordered Fish & Chips one night and had a plate put in front of him that had 2 small pieces of fish and a plate full of pre - frozen crinkle cut chips - no salad or any thing.Not what you would expect from a 5 star hotel.Choice on menus is not that great either. Hotel is too far from town to eat anywhere else and a taxi ride to town is approx $30.00 each way. It is such a shame that this detracts so much from what can only be described as" heaven on earth."

  • Stayed November 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank chrissy291150
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level 5 Contributor
91 reviews
49 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 96 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 January 2011

This was not our first stay at the empire hotel as previously we have enjoyed our visits here, but unfortunately this most recent visit was extremely disappointing! We booked thinking this would be a Christmas treat, but left feeling more than a little short changed and wondering whether we would come back again! When we booked we were led to believe the hotel would be quiet on boxing day/ evening, not that this would have been a problem. However, the hotel was very busy, the Sunday activities which obviously attracted many non residents to use the hotel facilities, appeared to overwhelm the usually efficient staff. The toilets in the reception area which are usually manned by a dedicated cleaning person, hadn't been cleaned for some time, wet toilet floor areas, and minus toilet paper. We arrived early to hopefully maximise our visit, but although we could register our rooms weren't available. This obviously wasn't a problem, as check in was at 2pm so we waited for the promised telephone call to say our rooms were ready. This didn't happen so at 2pm we asked at reception for our room keys, however, informed that only the twin luxury room was available. We accepted this, as at least we could change and go down to enjoy the pool facilities. The reception staff said they would ring us when the other room was available. Unfortunately the usually pleasant relaxing pool area was overly busy, music blaring from the loud speakers, and the swimming pool water was very murky, we wondered whether the filters weren't working! This was no relaxing experience! Disappointed we headed back to reception at 4pm, enquiring about our room, which we were told was the room next to the twin room. Again we were told that the room was still to be cleaned and that the cleaning team " hadn't reached that floor yet!" however, after going back to the room we realised that in fact the promised room was actually still vacated and wasn't waiting for cleaning at all !! Obviously this guest had been afforded a later check out and we having booked 2 weeks earlier, were being made to wait until after 6pm to relax! This was confirmed when we visited reception for the 4th time, and discussed our concerns with a supervisor. She was very apologetic and after some negotiation we were promised a further two rooms in another location of the hotel with complimentary upgrade to " e club" facilities. However, this did mean that we had to shower and change in our sons room and then we all moved to the other area. We accepted that it was an unfortunate episode, and the supervisor was indeed very apologetic, but it was disappointing especially as it was only a one night stay. Unfortunately the promised e club facilities were very poor. The staff although pleasant again appeared to be over whelmed although there weren't that many guests using the e club dining area. Possibly many of the staff had been given their annual leave?! At this time?! Our breakfast was a very slow affair, and cold when it finally arrived, we sent x2 breakfasts back, this was after having to repeat the order several times. Why didn't they write the breakfast requests down instead of getting the orders confused? we waited, and realised that the breakfasts are sent from the main kitchen area, some distance away! And not from the assumed kitchen on level 6 ! We also realised that we would have enjoyed the buffet breakfast in the main dining room as per our original booking,much better, particularly as the e club dining area was a smaller area and we were forced to hear the noisy fellow child guests, running around! They were also bored waiting for their breakfasts!! We eventually received our now hot breakfast but after such a long wait which also included having to request cereal bowls and glasses for the juice, we didn't enjoy. What a disappointment! due to the room mix up we were also provided a late check out until 6pm, which was a good thing as the bowling wouldn't have been available otherwise. This was a promotional offer with the room and breakfast included, and at time of our booking, 2 weeks previously, we asked if we had to pre book the bowling lane. The receptionist informed us that because it would be very quiet during our stay than this wouldn't be necessary! We now wonder whether she had worked at another hotel at Christmas time?! This isn't a budget hotel and as stated we have been impressed on previous visits, but on this occasion we left feeling a little ripped off and wondering if the hotel had taken advantage!!

  • Stayed December 2010, travelled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank LindsayCheshire
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 1 January 2011

I have been working in Brunei for almost 5 years now and I have been in and out of this Hotel many times for meetings, evening dinners, events etc. Although some may take them for granted but I must say they are serious about improving their standards, products and services.

I have been many occasions surprised by the little touch of service that their staff provide. They take comments and complaints seriously and have been keeping up with my expectations at the end of the day.

I have no doubt, it is still the best hotel in Brunei!!

Stayed November 2010, travelled on business
Helpful?
Thank RubberDuck11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
1 review
Reviewed 31 December 2010

I had a splendid time staying at the empire.beautiful place and away from the stressful city life.i could say the empire and brunei itself is the perfect place to relax, detox and rehabilitate oneself. I just feel that they need to train on customer service, other than that I'm utterly satisfied.

  • Stayed December 2010
    • Value
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    • Rooms
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Helpful?
Thank Kay704
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Manila, Philippines
Level 5 Contributor
86 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed 31 December 2010

The hotel's facilities are top notch, but the food is just so-so. One will be impressed with the hotel's lobby upon arrival since it's grandiose. The rooms are also opulent in that sense. I love it that the property has its own cinema, unfortunately, the seats are quite horrible!

Stayed January 2010, travelled on business
Helpful?
Thank boohain
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 December 2010

I have stayed at The Empire on and off now for nearly 10 years - since it opened; probably at least 16 times in total. My wife and I, who have travelled extensively throughout the region in some of the best hotels, have felt for sometime that this hotel no longer merits the high star recognition it is granted. It is by no means a 6 star hotel (never was), and today, is struggling to match a normal run of the mill 5 star in the SE Asian region. Granted it is the best hotel in Brunei (no accolade at all for those who know the area). It would be impossible to list all of the complaints just from this last trip but here is a sample: lost luggage for 45 mins on arrival; room tatty and shabby; sun-shade at pool positively dangerous from weather damage; staff un-attentive and often asleep (indeed we walked into Spagettenis on our first night and found a staff a member lying on the floor asleep!}; room cleanliness appalling - mirrors broken, tatty sofas; mini-bar not re-stocked once in 5 days; no room service menu; hairs left in sinks etc etc. Food overall really is terrible - with the absolute exception of Li Gong - an excellent Chinese - but elsewhere truly unforgettable and way, way to expensive - London prices. Kids food too salty, all fried; parents food - tired and worn. Altogether underwhelming to say the least. Almost forgot - we found a caterpillar in one our salad one night - 6 star hotel - i do not think so. As for the rest of the estate; the pools are shabby and unclean, the slide in the kids area is in urgent need of repair (look out for the men cleaning the kids pool with an electric plug dangling in the water - we thought we were about to see a mass electrocution); the general cleanliness is not good at all. We have no idea what the other people who posted positive reviews on here are on about at all!

A final mention for the staff....with the notable exception of one or two; those who worked in the e-club lounge and the kids club; the local staff are awful. Poor communication skills; unable to use initiative, zero understanding of customer service - no urgency, no desire - no real care. I few years ago it was mainly non-local staff at The Empire - now it appears to be more local; poorly educated and poorly trained. Oh - and did i forget to mention - there are no shops at all to write home about (dreadful tat - and in a 6 star hotel too!?) and of course, no alcohol at all. Mocktails all round!

The plus points - good beds and linen - at least that has not changed over the 10 years. Excellent gym. Great Cantonese food.

I have written to the General Manager to hear his response to this steady, apparently irreversible decline in the The Empire. It really is today a shadow of its former self - more is the pity. The only reason we will continue to go there is that quite simply there is nowhere else in Brunei to go at all. Would I travel from overseas to stay there - absolutely not. Do not do it. Would we recommend it to a friend - no chance. For the same money try any Shangri La in Singapore, Malaysia or Hong Kong; or the Sukhothai in Bangkok or the Ritz Carlton in Bali, Singapore or the Mandarin Oriental anywhere! Do not waste your money coming to the Empire - or even coming to Brunei.

  • Stayed December 2010, travelled with family
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank jamie75_10
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

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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