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“Standard's of Excellence - Fairmont Gold, Empress Hotel”

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The Fairmont Empress
Ranked #20 of 47 Hotels in Victoria
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersGold level
Reviewed September 22, 2011

After many years of being an occasional hotel guest of the Empress Hotel. I decided that it was time to right a review. I tend to only write reviews on OUTSTANDING experiences and disappointing experiences, and the Empress Hotel has earned the OUTSTANDING review category.

First of all, there is no place like FAIRMONT GOLD at the Empress Hotel. The Fairmont Gold Manager and the entire team at Fairmont Gold treat you "GOLD". Always a happy "hello Mr. W.", "Glad to have you again on the Gold Floor", "We managed to get you your favourite room", "Would you like another cappuccino" , "Let me make a dinner reservation", "That's no problem!", "Let me clear that for you", "yes, the boardroom is free and I have blocked it for you", and the list goes on.

I will capsulate in one short phrase my experience of the Fairmont Gold at the Empress Hotel - "it is home, it feels like home, and I feel welcome!". I always look forward to going to the Fairmont Gold at the Empress (I now only stay at Fairmont Gold at all Fairmont Hotels).

Like all hotels, not everything goes right every time. I had such an issue in the hotel and I wrote a letter to the General Manager to point out my observations (and disappointment). The General Manager was all over it quickly. I heard through the grapevine that same day that my point of view was already brought to the attention of the Management Staff. I was assured that my comments were being looked at seriously.

During my last visit (September 2011), these issues had been rectified, and the Empress Hotel met my expectations of a FIRST CLASS hotel. That is the sign of excellent management, and a team of employees who obviously want to make sure The Empress remains FIRST CLASS even for an occasional repeat client like myself.

Now about my experience in the rest of the hotel:

The Front Door Staff, thank you for taking care of my car - always appreciated. Always feel welcome by one or more of the Front Door / Front Desk Area staff, saying "Hello", "Welcome Back again", and sometimes actually remembering and acknowledging me by name (that is a big welcome to any guest).

The Empress Room, it is a pleasure to dine there, Chef, please keep on producing that kind of tasty cuisine, Sommelier, keep on matching good wines to the various courses, and to the waiter & staff, the service was EXCELLENT - thank you all.

The Bengal Lounge, it is a "must" experience. The energy is amazing, the staff quick, efficient and engaging (how do they do it?), the Bengal Management Staff - among the best, and last but not least the Curry Buffet - AAA+ (My second visit I had tried to practice restraint by not going back the third time.)

The Spa, cozy and always pleasant and welcoming. The Spa mineral bath is always on my list of "must do", and they are always kind to accommodate me when I ask for a favour.

Fairmont Gold, one more time - TOPS !

In ending this review, one of the most rewarding experiences at the Empress Hotel is that the staff is very friendly, often recognizes me as a previous guest, and Management seems genuine to want to make sure I have the best experience reasonably possible. Thank you to all, you have earned my loyalty.

One very last comment, on my previous trips to the Empress Hotel, there was a "Outlet/Restaurant Duty Manager" who often saw me in various parts of the hotel, who always came up to me with a genuine "Welcome back Mr. W, I saw you were coming back, great to see you". I was sad to see him go to Fairmont Newport Beach (or so I heard) and he is sorely missed, the good news, his replacements are just as engaging and welcoming. There are good people at the Fairmont!

This hotel gets a FIVE STAR rating from Me.

Room Tip: It is an older hotel, so the room configurations are sometimes challenging, view rooms to the Harbou...
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  • Stayed: September 2011, traveled on business
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1  Thank LIONSMARK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Colleen B, Executive Office at The Fairmont Empress, responded to this reviewResponded September 27, 2011

Dear Valued Guest Mr. W.,

Thank you for taking the time to write such an extraordinary review on Tripadvisor of your experiences at The Fairmont Empress. It is our goal to make you feel at home when you are staying with us and I am so thrilled to hear that is exactly how you feel here. As you note, the Fairmont Gold floor offers such a wonderful experience from the private lounge to engaging, personalized service. I am so delighted to hear that you have experienced the high level of guest service that we strive to deliver across so many areas of our property, including the Willow Stream Spa, our restaurants and more. We also miss our F&B Manager who relocated to our Newport Beach property. However, we did share your comments with him. Thank you again for taking the time to write such a thorough and honest review of your experiences with us at The Fairmont Empress. We look forward to welcoming you back when your travels bring you over to the Island again.

Colleen Bezeau
Executive Office

On behalf of
Edward Roe
Director of Operations
edward.roe@fairmont.com

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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3,169 - 3,175 of 3,893 reviews

Reviewed September 21, 2011

This was my second stay at the Empress Hotel and it still just speaks to my heart and soul. The food is absolutely fabulous and the hotel is so elegant and charming. We had the Curry Buffet for supper and halibut and chips for lunch in the Bengal restaurant. We had a lovely dinner in the Empress Dining Room (Chef Ramsay would absolutely approve!) And we had High Tea in the Empress Tea Room. The food was the best I have ever eaten. The hospitality is just so overwhelming. The staff was so courteous and professional. They make you feel so welcome as if they were entertaining you as a guest in their own house! I felt like a very important person and just let them take care of everything!

Room Tip: We needed a roll away bed and even it was very comfortable and big
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  • Stayed: September 2011, traveled with friends
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1  Thank Terry W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Colleen B, Executive Office at The Fairmont Empress, responded to this reviewResponded September 22, 2011

Dear Valued Guest from Spokane Valley,

Thank you for taking the time to write such a great review on Tripadvisor of your second stay at The Fairmont Empress. I am delighted to hear that you found our staff “so courteous and professional.” It sounds like you had a wonderful time experiencing the ambiance of our dining options, including our Afternoon Tea, The Bengal Lounge and The Empress Room (I am glad to hear that Chef Ramsey would approve!). Once again, thank you for taking the time to write a review on Tripadvisor. We look forward to welcoming you back to The Fairmont Empress when your travels bring you to Victoria again.

Colleen Bezeau
Executive Office

On behalf of
Edward Roe
Director of Operations
edward.roe@fairmont.com

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 20, 2011

We stayed in the Fairmont Empress and we enjoyed thoroughly the experience. The historical charm coupled with the professionalism and genuine hospitality of the staff made it for us a stay fit for royalties.

  • Stayed: September 2011, traveled as a couple
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Thank Walaf
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Colleen B, Executive Office at The Fairmont Empress, responded to this reviewResponded September 21, 2011

Dear Valued Guest from Dubai,

Thank you so much for taking the time to write a review of your recent stay at The Fairmont Empress. I am so pleased to hear that you “enjoyed thoroughly the experience” of staying with us. It sounds as though our attentive, engaged staff took wonderful care of you. We look forward to welcoming you back again to The Fairmont Empress when you return to Canada. Thank you again for taking the time to write such an honest review.

Colleen Bezeau
Executive Office

On behalf of
Edward Roe
Director of Operations
edward.roe@fairmont.com

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 20, 2011

This was once my favorite hotel not for the rooms as much as the lade back elegance. The pool is great the staff tries to be accommodating. I was sad to see the restaurant downstairs gone. The cheaper breakfast is now $30 and takes longer. I also find it irritating that the waitress acted like I was trying to pick her up because I was friendly..... I went to look at the shops to see if they still had the English Bone China and found one of the shop girls to be very rude and snobby. The only china I found had Fairmont stamped on it..... It still is a nice hotel but Next time I plan to try another Hotel!

  • Stayed: July 2011, traveled solo
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3  Thank okpeden
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Colleen B, Executive at The Fairmont Empress, responded to this reviewResponded September 22, 2011

Dear Valued Guest from San Francisco,

Thank you for taking the time to write such an honest review of your recent experience at The Fairmont Empress. I am happy to hear that you enjoyed the pool facilities our accommodating staff. Our Kiplings Restaurant, which was located downstairs, closed at the end of 2005 and is now used as banquet space. Instead, we offer our full breakfast services in our Empress Dining Room. I apologize that you did not find the service warm and engaging in The Fairmont Store. All of the fine bone china made in England sold in the store is stamped with the Fairmont logo as it is custom designed for us. This authenticates it as uniquely ours! Once again, thank you for taking the time to write a review on Tripadvisor. We look forward to welcoming you back to The Fairmont Empress when your travels bring you to Victoria again.

Colleen Bezeau
Executive Office

On behalf of
Edward Roe
Director of Operations
edward.roe@fairmont.com

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 19, 2011

This old majestic hotel has been maintained, had wings added, and refurbished over the past decades, and it shows. Yes, it is historic (and old), but very welcoming and with everything just right. The location is wonderful, the staff all helpful, the rooms great, and the services offered what you would expect.

Room Tip: We paid a bit more than others in our party for a "gold" level room overlooking the harbor...
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  • Stayed: September 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Thank R1andR2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Colleen B, Executive Office at The Fairmont Empress, responded to this reviewResponded September 21, 2011

Dear Valued Guest from California,

Thank you so much for taking the time to write a review of your recent stay at The Fairmont Empress. I am so pleased to hear that you had such a wonderful experience with us, enjoying our food, excellent guest service, and all the amenities our historic property has to offer. The Fairmont Gold floor is a wonderful ‘hotel within a hotel’ and I am pleased that you were able to enjoy your room with its great harbor views. We look forward to welcoming you back again to The Fairmont Empress when you return to Victoria. Thank you again for taking the time to write such an honest review.

Colleen Bezeau
Executive Office

On behalf of
Edward Roe
Director of Operations
edward.roe@fairmont.com

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 19, 2011

Excellent location, exceptionally helpful staff members.
Beautiful hotel, no problems.
Beautiful and spacious room, plenty of facilities in the room.

  • Stayed: November 2010, traveled with family
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Thank LindyBopper
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Colleen B, Executive Office at The Fairmont Empress, responded to this reviewResponded September 21, 2011

Dear Valued Guest from London,

Thank you so much for taking the time to write a review of your recent stay at The Fairmont Empress. I am so pleased to hear that you enjoyed the hotel’s “excellent location” and experienced our “exceptionally helpful staff members.” We look forward to welcoming you back again to The Fairmont Empress when you return to Canada. Thank you again for taking the time to write such an honest review.

Colleen Bezeau
Executive Office

On behalf of
Edward Roe
Director of Operations
edward.roe@fairmont.com

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 18, 2011

Lovely historical hotel. Excellent food, disappointed in cleanliness of room. Much dust and not just an oversight of a day of cleaning.

  • Stayed: September 2011, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Claudia M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Colleen B, Executive Office at The Fairmont Empress, responded to this reviewResponded September 21, 2011

Dear Valued Guest from Port Townsend,

Thank you so much for taking the time to write a review of your recent stay at The Fairmont Empress. First, I want to apologize about your disappointment in the cleanliness of your guest room. Do you happen to recall your room number? If you do, can you please e-mail it to our Director of Operations (see email address below) so that we may follow-up with our Housekeeping Manager to ensure that this room is thoroughly reviewed for cleaning and any deficiencies. Your experience is not up to the standards that we strive to achieve and we would like to follow-up. I am very pleased that you enjoyed the excellent food at our property. We look forward to welcoming you back again to The Fairmont Empress when you return to the Victoria. Thank you again for taking the time to write such an honest review.

Colleen Bezeau
Executive Office

On behalf of
Edward Roe
Director of Operations
edward.roe@fairmont.com

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 Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#2 Green Hotel in Victoria
#6 Spa Hotel in Victoria
#9 Luxury Hotel in Victoria
#13 Business Hotel in Victoria
#16 Romantic Hotel in Victoria
#17 Family Hotel in Victoria
Price Range: $213 - $429 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — The Fairmont Empress 4*
Number of rooms: 477
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Regarded as a Condé Nast Readers' Choice and Gold List hotel, and honoured with the Travel + Leisure distinction as a top Canadian hotel, the Fairmont Empress graces Victoria's sparkling Inner Harbour with an iconic presence. The Fairmont Empress, Victoria B.C.’s most iconic hotel, has just unveiled a $60 million dollar restoration.This luxury hotel offers 464 beautifully appointed guest rooms and suites, and expansive meeting and wedding space adjacent to the conference centre. Located on the picturesque West Coast of Canada, this is the ideal location to explore all the natural beauty of Vancouver Island. ... 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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