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“Good but not great” 4 of 5 stars
Review of The Empire Hotel & Country Club

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The Empire Hotel & Country Club
5.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Jerudong, Kampong Jerudong BG3122, Brunei Darussalam   |  
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Hotel website
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Hotel amenities
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Melbourne
Top Contributor
59 reviews 59 reviews
24 hotel reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
171 helpful votes 171 helpful votes
“Good but not great”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 18, 2007

I recently booked a 3-night stay at the Empire Hotel. I was expecting to be blown away as I had heard a lot of good things about this hotel and I had wanted to visit for a very long time.

The lobby is everything you would expect, lots of marble, over the top luxury and a great view of the ocean.

At check in, I enquired about upgrading to a junior suite and paid the extra BND150 per night.

I was seen to my room and was a bit disappointed. The hotel is starting to show its age and nowhere more so than in their guest rooms.

Yes, the junior suite was large. The first room had a dinner table, couch, mini kitchen & tv. Next was the bedroom, with tv, study and fax machine. (The fax machine had a welcome fax with my name on it, which was cool) and the 3rd room was the bathroom, with separate shower, toilet, double vanity and a spa bath. All rooms overlooked the ocean with an extra long balcony.

I was underwelmed. Yes, the room was large and super clean, but it felt a bit dated and tired. I regretted my decision to upgrade and returned to the front desk requesting to change back to my original Ocean View Deluxe Room. I just didn't think that it was worth the extra money.

The front desk happily accommodated me. The new room was much more to my liking. It was exactly the same as the Jnr Suite, just without the extra tv room, a bath instead of a spa and no fax.

What I particularly did not like about the room, was the state of the balcony. There was moss and mold all over the balcony and the table and chairs outside where definitely past their use by date. The door to the room looked ancient and did not lock properly; you need to make sure that you shut it hard enough for it to lock.

The real highlight of the hotel was the amazing pools and grounds. They are so well maintained and are just beautiful.

As other reviews suggest, the food is not at the level one would expect. Most meals although generously portioned, were average and lacked flavour.

The pool snack bar area was great. The staff brings over some cold water and oranges as soon as you sit down and really do their best to take care of their guests.

There are many activities at the hotel to keep both kids & adults alike very happy, including a country club, kids club, internet services (expensive) & a cinema.

The hotel chocolates are to die for and are definitely worth the money. The packaging makes a great keepsake.

Unlike some reviews, I must say the service I experienced in the hotel was just fantastic during my entire stay.

There are not very many hotels like this in the world (visit the much better Palazzo Versace Hotel in the Gold Coast Australia), but it is definitely worth a visit if you are in Brunei.

  • Liked — Gorgeous ocean views, pools and gardens
  • Disliked — The rooms are starting to look dated, don't spend more to upgrade.
  • Stayed April 2007, traveled on business
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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706 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (150)
Date | Rating
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  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
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English first
Edinburgh
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
18 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
63 helpful votes 63 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 23, 2007

This is the second time I have stayed at this hotel and it did not fail to impress on my last visit in February.

The 'wow' factor when you enter the grounds is unbelievable and the reception area is more than grand. The rooms are very big and well equipped and the views are all of the ocean.

The staff in the hotel would bend over backwards for you and could not be more pleasant. This includes the gift shops where it can be very easy to spend your Brunei Dollars. (be sure to use these before you leave).

There are 2 main restaurants in the evening, I favour the Italian restaurant and if anything the food has improved since last year.

The pool area is lovely and again the staff are extremely helpful and pleasant. The bar menu is basic but the food is again very good.

All in all, a wonderful hotel that I'll be visiting again next year during a trip to the Far East.

  • Stayed February 2007, traveled on business
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Calgary
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 3, 2007

This is the place to stay for making every other place you stay feel second-rate. The location and the architecture of the hotel are amazing and so exceptional it is hard to describe to my friends. The whole place is opulent beyond adequate description.

The staff is very helpful in every regard. The associated golf course and proshop are first rate and worth playing. Every conceiveable convenience like health facilities, pools (I didn't count them all) beach, restaurants and theatres are all there.

The room (huge) and view are memorable. The bathroom (with acres of marble and granite) is larger than many hotel rooms we have stayed in. The bed is very good and the room is full of high tech goodies (motorized curtains!!) The internet connection is easy to use and reasonable in price.

Altogether, a marvelous stay !! Stay at a place like this once in your life.

  • Liked — Amazing buildings and seaside location
  • Disliked — Nothing
  • Stayed February 2007, traveled on business
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
KL
Top Contributor
151 reviews 151 reviews
87 hotel reviews
Reviews in 60 cities Reviews in 60 cities
202 helpful votes 202 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 18, 2007

I stayed 5 days as part of a large group.

The building is indeed oppulent and the pool is excellent. Their own branded chocolates are heavenly. Rooms are big. But competencies and quality can be questioned, although staff are very pleasant. The breakfast buffet is ordinary and barely makes 5 star. Your table is cleared despite your placing handkerchief on chair and you find your cup and cutlery missing when you return. They do not understand the concept of vegetarianism despite specific requests for lacto vegetarian option - typical question - does that mean you eat fish sir?. TVs are more than 5years old - pre flat screen era - forget plasma.

The Italian restaurant opens only at 6pm. Internet access passwords are delivered by hand and you are not told that 24 hours of usage is counted cumulatively. In my group, most thought it was 24 hours from time of purchase - I suspect the lack of clarity may be intentional.

1 laundry bag in the room is the norm and if you want drycleaning or pressing and laundry, you have to ask for a 2nd bag. There are 2 handtowels but on 4 out of my 5 days, only 1 was replaced by housekeeping.

Try comparing price, value and quality with KL Hilton, the Shangri La hotels in Sabah and Mandarin KL. All of which are 5 star. 6 star ?- yes on buliding but 4 star on service levels.

  • Liked — Beautiful hotel
  • Disliked — patchy service
  • Stayed February 2007, traveled on business
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne, Australia
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 3, 2007

Four of us stayed at the Empire for a week in early January 2007. We had never been to Brunei before and our Travel agent wasn't even sure where it was. We selected the country, (for it's cultural and religious and environmental difference), the airline for it's price and International rating (Royal Brunei) and the hotel from it's site on the Web.
The airline lived up to it's award rating and the Hotel was something we have never experienced before.
We were upgraded by managmnent to two seaview rooms overlooking the pools and the South China Sea.
The rooms were stunning with first class amenities, the food at the restaurants was reasonably priced and with a very extensive range and the hotel team was always eager to help and extremely friendly.
Entertainment at the Hotel was catered for with a picture theatre showing movies in english and chinese and a country club with extensive sporting and spa facilities including what looked to be a great golf course (I don't play).
January is monsoon season and it is worth noting that during the seven days weather did not affect any of our activities including a a day trip to the rainforest and a canopy walk.
It is worth remembering that alcohol is not available for purchase either at the hotel or in the city so perhaps this could be an opportunity to dry out (for some). If you are desperate - don't go!

Stayed January 2007
Was this review helpful? Yes 8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brisbane, Australia
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
37 helpful votes 37 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 21, 2007

This hotel is rated as a 6 star and deserves every single one! We stayed in a deluxe sea view room and were just amazed when we entered the room.
It was huge, and the bathroom was huge and luxurious. A seperate toilet and bidet cubicle. a seperate large shower cubicle,a double sink and large bath.
The room had a seperate area for your bags, clothes etc that was screened from the rest of the room. The bed was very comfortable and the control panel for the curtains, lights etc was great.
A sitting area led out to the balcony which overlooked the sea and the gardens.
The main pool area is fantastic and the very hot spa was amazing and not to be missed.
We had room service one evening and were very impressed with the table that was wheeled in with it being beautifully set and the food kept warm underneath.The fellow who brought it was extremely pleasant and paid great attention to detail.
The only criticism we have is of the food. Some meals were quite poor in quality and the breakfast buffet was not really international standard. This greatly surprised us, as the hotel is fantastic in every otherway and is really letting itself down in the food area.
We had massages at the spa and truly say they were amongst the best in the world that we have experienced and good value as well.
Quite frankly, we did not want to leave!!!The fact of no alcohol did not bother us but could be an issue to some.
Overall, an amazingly elegant and decadent hotel that has to be seen to be believed.

Stayed December 2006
Was this review helpful? Yes 8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hampshire
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 16, 2007

A Hotel with every just a little bigger and more extravagant than any other hotel I have ever stayed in. Not all Hotels use Asprey cutlery and china, the main pool is fresh water with a sand bottom and about 70 metres in length. The complementary shuttle is a very flexible and worth using.
A great place to stay.

Stayed January 2007
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
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

Address: Jerudong, Kampong Jerudong BG3122, Brunei Darussalam
Phone Number:
Location: Brunei Darussalam > Brunei-Muara District > Kampong Jerudong
Amenities:
Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center 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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