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“Comfortable Stay” 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 #19 of 57 hotels in Victoria
Gainesville, Florida
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
“Comfortable Stay”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 3, 2013

During a business trip, I stayed at the hotel for a week. Our conference took place in the adjacent Conference Center, so it was very convenient. The hotel and gardens are very beautiful and centrally located, but the rooms need to be renovated. The chairs were old, with the fabric even torn at places. We had to call a few times because of problems with the room. It was missing the refrigerator, the iron, very little water in the bathroom, problems with the toilet, etc. Despite all this, I enjoyed my stay.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled on business
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
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, October 4, 2013
Dear Valued Guest from Florida,

Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback. I was happy to read that you enjoyed our lovely gardens as well as the location being so convenient to the Conference Centre. I am sorry however to hear that your stay was not as memorable as we would like due to your room. We strive to provide the best experience and customer service that guests have come to expect of Fairmont Hotels. We are aways very happy to move you into a room that is more comfortable. Please do not hestitate to ask in the future. Thank you again for sharing your feedback.

Kind regards,

Don Fennerty
General Manager
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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
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Little Rock, Arkansas
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed October 1, 2013

My husband and I stayed here Aug. 16 (after a 30+ year absence) and were very sadly disappointed. The rooms are not air-conditioned, and the one window would only open about 4 inches. Our room was shabby and missing a chair in the sitting area. Bathroom and closet were miserably small and outdated. Entire hotel is coasting on its long-ago reputation. We had just come from the Relais et Chateaux Hastings House on Salt Spring Island where we had a complimentary upgrade to a very large suite, ate very fine food and received royal service. The Empress cost us more than the Relais et Chateaux!

Room Tip: Choose one in another hotel.
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Adelaide, Australia
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 30, 2013

We recently stayed at the Empress on the final night of our Canadian/Alaskan holiday as a special treat for our mother, we were disappointed with our room, overlooking the roof and air con ducts of buildings over the road, We were given another room when we requested a change with a slightly better outlook, but found the hotel and staff unfriendly and overrated. We booked in for an afternoon high tea and whilst the selection of food was lovely to be honest we have had a better high tea in Australia. The morning of our departure was raining so we thought we would have a coffee on the verandah, The service was terrible, coffee undrinkable but we were charged $36 for 3 latte's (double shot) and 1 cup of tea, when we queried the bill we were given a patronizing answer as to the difference between coffee in a hotel and a cafe ??? The bill was halved but was very disappointed in the attitude of the staff. I loved Victoria and hope to go back again one day but will not be staying at the empress.

Room Tip: Ask for a room overlooking the bay
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  • Stayed September 2013, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney
Top Contributor
50 reviews 50 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 28 cities Reviews in 28 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 29, 2013

Spent two glorious nights at this majestic hotel enjoyed and enjoyed all facets of the hotel. The rooms overlooking the harbor are spectacular. The location of the hotel is very central to all amenities.
The afternoon teas are legendary.

Room Tip: Enjoy you book a room with a harbour view
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 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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FairmontEmpress1908, General Manager at The Fairmont Empress, responded to this review, October 4, 2013
Dear Valued Guest from Sydney,

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 we were able to provide you with the service that The Fairmont Empress is so well known for. It’s wonderful that you were able to enjoy the Afternoon Tea experience. During the centennial restoration in 2008, the hotel's original Tea Lobby floor was replaced and the wood of the original floor was transformed into delicate Afternoon Tea tables that are used today. I hope that you were able to enjoy a city tour of Victoria and see all that our city has to offer. 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.

KInd regards,

Don Fennerty
General Manager
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Huntingtown, Maryland
Top Contributor
62 reviews 62 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 28, 2013

The internet connection is one of the worst. Lost connectivity four times during this review. Had the curry buffet for lunch in the Bengal Lounge - good but pricey. $30 for four protein selections and some sides and tiny desserts. Pint drafts are 7 and 8 dollars. Great location on the water. Large hotel with connection to the convention center. A must with the rainy weather in the area.

Room Tip: Six floors. The best rooms are on floor two where there is gold service with a private lounge. The...
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  • Stayed September 2013, traveled on business
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 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.
Vancouver, Canada
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 26, 2013

I've been to several Fairmonts and this is the first one that disappointed me.

The common areas (like the Tea Room, lobby, convention area, The Bengal Lounge, etc) are beautiful - you can feel and see the history of Victoria and early Canada. The location is great and the hotel itself (from the outside) is breath-taking. The rooms, on the other hand, are badly in need up an upgrade. We stayed on the 6th floor at the FAR end of the South/older wing (this is a very large hotel with endless winding hallways and only 2 sets of elevators). We were told it was one of the "nicer" rooms, so I can't imagine what one of the "not nicer rooms" are like! It was noisy, the room was "quirky" (there was a step up to the sleeping area from the lounging area), the bathroom was old and small (we had to call maintenance to fix the toilet), and it felt like we were staying in a 3 star old European hotel... old, warn, out-dated.

Maybe rooms in the newer wing with a harvour view are better, but our experience was very disappointing. It's a landmark hotel, so we expected a beautiful hotel with high Fairmont standards but The Empress Hotel didn't even come close.

It seems like this hotel rides on the fact that it's famous... while we were there, the first weekend after labour day (the city itself wasn't bustling), the hotel was BUSY; packed with tourists from all over the world.

My advice? Stay at a newer hotel downtown like The Magnolia, Delta or Marriott if you're looking for a nice place to stay in Victoria and visit The Empress (take a wander through the lobbies, restaurants and public areas). If you want a luxurious Fairmont experience, try the Pacific Rim in Vancouver - now THAT'S a nice hotel!!

Room Tip: Maybe rooms in the newer wing with a harbour view are worth the $$ but the old wing disappointed.
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  • Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Houston, Tx.
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 25, 2013

Although we booked months in advance and were assured we would have a king bed with a nice view and possibly an upgrade to a king mini- suite with a view of the harbor, when we arrived they advised us that the king room wouldn't be available until the next night and put us in a tiny room with 2 double beds on the street level. It was noisy, hot,and tiny. The next 2 nights they moved us to a "Gold " room on the second floor which was very nice. Be careful and insist on a Gold room which comes with a complimentary breakfast.Finally, when we checked out they tried to charge us for 3 nights when I had a confirmation that our 3rd night was free.

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
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

Also Known As:
The Fairmont Empress Hotel Victoria
The Fairmont Empress Hotel
Fairmont Hotel Victoria
Fairmont Hotel Empress
Empress Hotel Victoria
Fairmont Victoria
Victoria Fairmont
Fairmont Empress Hotel
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 Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#3 Romantic Hotel in Victoria
#8 Luxury Hotel in Victoria
#15 Business Hotel in Victoria
#19 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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