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“A great city, a legendary hotel” 4 of 5 stars
Review of The Fairmont Empress

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The Fairmont Empress
4.0 of 5 Hotel   |   721 Government Street, Victoria, British Columbia V8W 1W5, Canada   |  
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Ranked #20 of 57 hotels in Victoria
GreenLeadersGold level
Vancouver, Canada
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“A great city, a legendary hotel”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 22, 2013

I spent the weekend in Victoria with my wife as sort of a mini-babymoon and we had a deluxe harbour -facing room for the weekend. The room itself was full of the authentic charm promised by the exterior of the hotel. Our room had old volumes of classic books lined up along the dresser as well as a cozy nook overlooking the water to settle in for a read. Victoria is very compact and the Empress is an excellent "basecamp" to explore the unique shops and dining options within a 10 minute radius.
The staff were excellent and the doorman greeted by name each time I came and left. I took advantage of their easy-check-in procedure and my keys were waiting for me at the door when I arrived so I didn't even have to visit the front desk.

Room Tip: Upgrade to a Deluxe. I stayed in a Fairmont (entry level) room last time, and I'd say it was may...
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
FairmontEmpress1908, General Manager at The Fairmont Empress, responded to this review, April 23, 2013
Dear Valued Guest from Vancouver,
Thank you for taking the time to write such a great review on Tripadvisor of your recent stay with us. I am so pleased to hear that you took advantage of our email check-in option. It certainly is a great way for our guests to check in and avoid the possible line ups at the front desk. It is great to read all of your wonderful comments. I will ensure they are shared with our team. I hope you enjoyed your time in Victoria for your baby-moon. Best wishes from all of us on his or her arrival. Thank you again for taking the time to write a review. We look forward to welcoming you back to The Fairmont Empress when your travels bring you to Victoria again.
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (501)
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English first
San Francisco, CA
Senior Contributor
36 reviews 36 reviews
33 hotel reviews
Reviews in 30 cities Reviews in 30 cities
74 helpful votes 74 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 21, 2013

Context: a two night getaway in Victoria
Pros: Historical building in a perfect downtown Victoria location
Great views of the Victoria Waterfront
The Empress Dining Room - Yum
Excellent staff who bend over backwards to help
Excellent old-world hotel
Easy to get around the hotel and never have to wait for the elevators!
Easy and fast valet parking service

I'm often critical of the Fairmont Hotel chain because, in the past, some of their hotels that I have stayed at have not lived up to their reputations. The Fairmont Empress, on the other hand, is beyond excellent. I highly recommend it.

Room Tip: Splurge for a waterfront facing room on a high floor. You'll see the sparkling lights of the BC...
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
North Vancouver
Top Contributor
97 reviews 97 reviews
21 hotel reviews
Reviews in 31 cities Reviews in 31 cities
108 helpful votes 108 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 21, 2013

The Empress is one of Canada's iconic hotels. It is in Victoria's best location: across from the scenic inner harbour and a short walk from attractions, restaurants and downtown shops.
I stayed here for a conference and was delighted to hear on arrival that I had a free upgrade to a king suite (a large bedroom with a king bed and desk and a small living room with a sofa and chairs; both rooms had closets and large flat screen tvs). My suite was at the end of a long hallway and was very quiet. It was in the back of the building with a less than inspiring view overlooking the roof of the convention centre. However, it was nice to have windows that opened for fresh air and also thick curtains to block out the early morning light.
You either like an older hotel or you don't. Sometimes, walking to down the long hall to my suite, I had a funny feeling that I was in the movie, "The Shining." The truth is, I prefer a more modern building with balconies (which is why I gave 4 stars instead of 5 in my rating). However, I have to say that my room was completely updated in every way. The bed and bedding were very comfortable, the shower had strong water pressure and all the furniture and fixtures were in excellent condition.
As is the case at every Fairmont I have visited, the service at the Empress is first class. I noticed that some reviewers complained that they had to pay for wifi. There is an easy solution to this: join the Fairmont President's Club (for free). One of the perks is free wifi.
I am very happy to have had the Empress experience and I would especially recommend this hotel to travellers who are visiting Victoria for their first time. Whether you stay in the Empress or not, you have to stop in for a drink or meal in one of the lounges. This hotel is a Victoria must see.

Room Tip: The end of the hall was a long walk but was wonderfully quiet. Join the President;s Club for free wi...
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled on business
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
FairmontEmpress1908, General Manager at The Fairmont Empress, responded to this review, April 22, 2013
Dear Valued Guest from North Vancouver,
Thank you for taking the time to write such a great review on Tripadvisor of your recent stay with us. I am so pleased to hear that you enjoyed the suite that we were able to upgrade you to. Our housekeeping and maintenance teams work very hard to ensure all of our rooms and suites are well maintained and comfortable for all of our visitors. I will be sure to share your wonderful comments with both teams. Thank you again for taking the time to write a review. We look forward to welcoming you back to The Fairmont Empress when your travels bring you to Victoria again.
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Vancouver
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 20, 2013

Certainly an older hotel but Fairmont does a great job keeping the hotel looking great. The staff is attentive and professional. We always felt welcome from the time we spoke our first word to the doorman to any of the hotel housekeeping staff we passed in the hall. We were in a Fairmont Gold junior suite for the week and we couldn't have been happier. The room was ample in size with a great harbour view. Decorated nicely and a very comfortable bed. The best part of the experience is being taken care of by the Gold floor staff. Great personalities and a pleasure to interact with throughout our stay. The breakfast is faaaabulous and is a great way to start your day. Of course cocktails and canapés in the late afternoon are a nice touch also. A great time.

Room Tip: If you can afford to upgrade to the Gold floor I highly recommend it.
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ontario
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
51 helpful votes 51 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 19, 2013

This hotel looks like a castle.....built back in the 20s, high ceilings, beautiful wood work, you don't see alot of hotels like this. The food was good, room was plain (standard room) but the bed was great. Its right across from the water, museum across the street, right close to downtown. Great pubs and restaurants within walking distance.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled on business
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Whitehorse, Yukon
Senior Contributor
33 reviews 33 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 18, 2013

I recently stayed here as our conference was held at this hotel. The hotel rooms are smaller than what people might expect,however, I loved, loved the atmosphere. The bed,duvet and pillows were uber comfortable! At my age,it doesnʼt matter what the room looks like, as long as you can get a good nightsʼ sleep. The hotel staff were wonderful. They attended to my every request and did their best to answer my questions and look after my needs. The hotel pool and hot tub area is open until 1: 00 am which is later than most places. I really like this as I often get in late. This is a really important service for me. My only complaint is that the layout was confusing. I spent time going up and down elevators looking for my conference, the spa elevator and the front door??? itʼs a big hotel and a little confusing. I would definitely stay here again,in spite of me being "directionallly challenged".... I love this hotel!! Fairmont Empress, you rock!!

Room Tip: Ask to be close to an elevator if you have mobility issues.
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled on business
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
Contributor
20 reviews 20 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 17, 2013 via mobile

One of the stops on our big family holiday, we chose The Empress for a very special birthday dinner for two ladies in our party. The Bengal room is a very special place and we adults had a memorable meal in a near empty restaurant. Our waiters were attentive, interested and helpful. ( if we had not dined in the rating would have been 3 out of 5)
After Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, The Empress was a bit of a let down, it has all the marks of an old hotel (our room smelled which caused us to keep the window open for some nicer air) and it was nowhere near as cosy or inviting as CLL. There is no heart or vibe to this place, possibly because the dining areas are in the upper lobby and you don't pass by them, you have to go to them. The sitting area in the lobby has more the feel of a coach station. The beautiful Tea Room is off limits except for High Tea which is a real shame, it should be the belle of the ball.

Stayed April 2013, traveled with friends
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Fairmont Empress

Address: 721 Government Street, Victoria, British Columbia V8W 1W5, Canada
Phone Number:
Location: Canada > British Columbia > Vancouver Island > Victoria Capital Regional District > Victoria
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#2 Green Hotel in Victoria
#8 Luxury Hotel in Victoria
#11 Spa Hotel in Victoria
#13 Business Hotel in Victoria
#16 Romantic Hotel in Victoria
#21 Family Hotel in Victoria
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — The Fairmont Empress 4*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Fairmont Empress sits majestically at the cornerstone of Victoria's sparkling Inner Harbour. This landmark hotel features turn of the century architecture, classic beauty and an unrivaled location on the water. It features the highly acclaimed Willow Stream Spa regarded as one of the best spas in Canada. Food lovers can sample the English ritual of Afternoon Tea, savour the famous curry buffet in The Bengal Lounge or sample award-winning food and wine in The Empress Room. The Fairmont Empress offers wireless internet access in all guestrooms, and it is complimentary for our Fairmont President's Club members, free to join. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Fairmont Empress Hotel Victoria
Fairmont Hotel Victoria
Fairmont Hotel Empress
Empress Hotel Victoria
Fairmont Victoria
Victoria Fairmont
Fairmont Empress Hotel

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