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“High Tea!” 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 #18 of 58 Hotels in Victoria
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersGold level
Scottsdale
1 review
“High Tea!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 21, 2014

Fantastic location and a must for first time visitor to Victoria! Beautiful historical building with lots of charm and ambiance. The grounds are fantastic as well and the "High tea" is a must! Very convenient!

  • Stayed July 2014, traveled solo
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service

Review collected in partnership with Fairmont Hotels & Resorts

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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, July 25, 2014
Dear Valued Guest from Scottsdale,

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 read that you enjoyed the history and ambiance of this wonderful building. Afternoon Tea is a great highlight of a visit and I was happy to read that you were able to partake in this. Queen Elizabeth II has visited almost every decade and has enjoyed Afternoon Tea, - 1951, 1971, 1983, 1994 and 2002. I hope you had the opportunity to enjoy a city tour of Victoria and see all that our city has to offer from our central location. 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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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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2,207 reviews from our community

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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 (631)
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English first
Bellevue, Washington
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed July 21, 2014

Victoria BC had been on my list to see. We booked for two nights and paid in advance. For work, I travel about half the year so am picky about where I stay for holiday. This hotel was dated, poorly maintained and with lackluster service. We waited 20 minutes to check in and out. The front desk staff need to learn how to manage guests who have many questions, perhaps a concierge. I knew high tea would be a tourist attraction what I didn't know is it would consist of stale sandwiches and mediocre tea. Finally the houskeeping service when turing over the room did not check the alarm clock. We were awoken at 4AM by the alarm. Honeslty in my 10 years of business travel I have never had that happen to me. One would probably be better off doing a day trip to Vicotria or staying and a chain hotel.

Room Tip: don't stay there
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  • Stayed July 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 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, July 25, 2014
Dear Valued Guest from Bellevue,

Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback. I am sorry to hear that your stay was not as memorable as we would like. We strive to provide the best experience and customer service that guests have come to expect of Fairmont Hotels. I will personally be following up with our teams about your comments regarding service and the long wait that you experienced during Check In and Check Out. I was unhappy to read that your Afternoon Tea experience was not enjoyable and will be following up with our Excecutive Chef. Thank you again for sharing your valuable feedback and my apologies for all the shortcomings you experienced. I would be happy to discuss your stay further should wish.

Kind regards,

Don Fennerty
General Manager
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Alpine
1 review
2 of 5 stars Reviewed July 21, 2014

The noise in our room was terrible, the backup generator went off daily around 2pm and was on for 20-30 mintues, but also made a lower noise all day and night, hard to relax. Was over charged still waiting for a call back. Was handed the key with no introduction on the hotel. The bathroom was terribel you had to climb over the toilet to get in the shower, tiles were mismatched. The location was the best in town though.

  • Stayed July 2014, traveled with friends
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service

Review collected in partnership with Fairmont Hotels & Resorts

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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, July 25, 2014
Dear Valued Guest from Alpine,

Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback. I am sorry to hear that your stay was not as memorable as we would like. We strive to provide the best experience and customer service that guests have come to expect of Fairmont Hotels. I apologize for the noise that you experienced. We are aways very happy to move you into a room that is more comfortable, if at all possible. Regarding the over charge, please get in touch with us if you have still not heard back as this is unsatisfactory and I apologize. I was happy to read that you enjoyed our location, hope that you were able to experience some of the wonderful venues and attractions within walking distance. Thank you again for sharing the feedback; I would be happy to discuss your stay further should you wish.

Kind regards,

Don Fennerty
General Manager
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Bellevue, Washington
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 21, 2014

Have visited the Empress on previous trips to Victoria, but never stayed there before so wanted to experience a stay there once. The hotel is very special, and the staff is expecially friendly and helpful. Food - drinks/snacks in the Bengal Lounge, afternoon tea, light dinner on the Veranda, and breakfast in the Empress dining room - was all excellent. On the phone before arrival we were changed to senior rate, a significant savings, but then offered a package rate to include tea and breakfast, lessening our savings but providing an upgraded experience. Loved every experience in the hotel, including an INCREDIBLE sunset while dining on the Veranda; but we were very disappointed to find badly shredded fabric on the arms of the chairs in our room (covered by matching arm covers that slid off easily, exposing the shredding) and finding little - then no hot water (started warm, then went cold immediately) in our shower. So while the public places in the hotel were fabulous, at these prices the maintenance of the rooms should be a higher priority.

  • Stayed July 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service

Review collected in partnership with Fairmont Hotels & Resorts

Was this review helpful? Yes
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, July 25, 2014
Dear Valued Guest from Bellevue,

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. I thank you for your valuable feedback regarding the chairs in your room which I am following up on with our Executive Housekeeper; as well as with our Chief Engineer regarding the lack of hot water in the shower. 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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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Old Hickory
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 20, 2014

The location was great. The gold floor is worth it and the staff was friendly. The indoor pool and workout area was very good and stays open late. The rooms were nice but no a/c but with the mild weather it wasn't an issue for me. Would stay there again.

  • Stayed July 2014, traveled on business
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service

Review collected in partnership with Fairmont Hotels & Resorts

Was this review helpful? Yes
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, July 21, 2014
Dear Valued Guest from Old Hickory,

Thank you for taking the time to write such a great review on Tripadvisor of your recent stay with us. I am so happy to hear that you had such a wonderful time on our Gold Floor and that our staff were so helpful throughout your stay. Regarding air conditioning, we are making very good progress in this regard, and I am very optimistic that one day soon we will be able to better control the temperature in our rooms. Thank you again for taking the time to write a review and share your experience. We look forward to welcoming you back to The Fairmont Empress again soon.

Kind regards,

Don Fennerty
General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fayetteville
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 20, 2014

This hotel is extremely impressive on the outside but the rooms are not quite as impressive. It is an older hotel though so we did not expect it to be perfect. The staff were great though. The room we had had no air conditioning and the outside temperatures were in the high 80s so the ceiling fan did not suffice. That said, the cleaning staff put a portable fan in our room, without being asked, so that shows that they are thinking about their guest's comfort. The hotel is very expensive, not that I compared prices with other hotels, I knew I wanted to stay at The Empress. We did the High Tea, again, very expensive but you only do it once so it was worth the expense. The only reason I have given it a 4 star rating was the cost.

  • Stayed July 2014, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service

Review collected in partnership with Fairmont Hotels & Resorts

Was this review helpful? Yes
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, July 21, 2014
Dear Valued Guest from Fayetteville,

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 is wonderful to hear that our staff was able to assist you throughout your stay. We are actively looking for ways to retrofit our century old building. I am pleased to say that I feel we are making very good progress in this regard, and I am very optimistic that one day soon we will be able to better control the temperature in our rooms. I hope you had the opportunity 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
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Utrecht, The Netherlands
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
18 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 20, 2014

While a beautiful hotel on the front, the rooms are small, outdated and not that well maintained. They are sometimes located miles from the elevators. You have to pay for wifi and parking, staff is distant and toilets are difficult to find in the lobby. Property is too large to feel at home. You can easily get lost trying to find your room, or a toilet.

Room Tip: Rooms on the front have the better view. Ask to be close to the entrance, otherwise you have to wal...
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  • Stayed June 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
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, July 21, 2014
Dear Valued Guest from Utrecht,

Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback. I am sorry to hear that your stay was not as memorable as we would like. We strive to provide the best experience and customer service that guests have come to expect of Fairmont Hotels, and in reading your review it is evident that we have not accomplished this. The need for refurbishing our guestrooms is certainly an area we are discussing as we plan for future renovations. Your comments are helpful to us in this regard, and allow us to confirm that we are investing in improvements that are most important to our valued guests. Thank you again for sharing the feedback. I would be happy to discuss your stay further should you wish.

Kind regards,

Don Fennerty
General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative 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 Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#2 Green Hotel in Victoria
#8 Luxury Hotel in Victoria
#13 Romantic Hotel in Victoria
#14 Business Hotel in Victoria
#17 Family Hotel in Victoria
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — The Fairmont Empress 4*
Number of rooms: 477
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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