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.
- 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