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“Total charm by the water with élan”

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The Fairmont Empress
Ranked #20 of 46 Hotels in Victoria
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersGold level
Reviewed October 20, 2011

I've heard about this hotel for four decades and finally had the chance to go. From arrival with a gin and tonic on the Terrace, to late night in the Bengal Lounge and up to crisp, white sheets and duvet on a magnificent bed, this absolute dowager empress of a hotel impresses absolutely.

For fun: the Empress is two blocks from the BC Museum - a great combination of history, legacy and interactive exhibits. It is also across the road from the Harbour, where for $30 or so you can rent bright red scooters and go for a couple of hours around the town and seashore.

Superb restaurants just two blocks up on Government Street, and on Douglas Street some fine pubs. On Humboldt Street, just one block north of the hotel, is the Oyster Bar. Every day 'buck-a-shucks' from 5-7 pm. How about a couple dozen fresh, cold, big, briny BC oysters for a dollar each?

Oh, and the weather? Leave your umbrella at home. Victoria has substantially less rain than Vancouver, but if it does, you can borrow an umbrella at the front desk!

Room Tip: Ask for an upgrade at check in. The staff are very, very helpful.
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  • Stayed: June 2011, traveled on business
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Thank MCHBurgess
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 November 2, 2011

Dear Valued Guest from Cobourg,
Thank you so much for taking the time to write such a great review on TripAdvisor. I am so happy to hear that you finally had a chance to join us after hearing about the hotel for so many decades. It’s so great that you were able to enjoy the dining options and found your room so comfortable and relaxing. You’ve offered some great tips about destinations that are within easy walking distance from our central location which are no doubt helpful to other travelers. Thank you again for taking the time to share your feedback. 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.
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3,239 - 3,245 of 4,003 reviews

Reviewed October 18, 2011

This is a wonderful Old World type hotel on the west coast. We spent a week here for our honeymoon in Oct. 2011. Our original room was a bit too cozy for us so we upgraded to their Gold section (free internet, breakfast, non-alcohol drinks, appetizers, concierge, Bose stereo in your room and private lounge above the Tea Room) . The room was very comfortable and spacious for an older hotel. We reserved here knowing that most historic hotels lack some of the features of newer hotels (e.g., size of bathrooms and windows), and have some peculiarities (like the vague multi-floor entries and no direct elevators to the top two floors), but we were fine with it.

The service was excellent in the Gold section lounge, Empress Dining Room and Bengal Lounge. Wade, a waiter in the Bengal Lounge, made you feel like a welcomed guest in his interesting home. Great experience in a great bar.

  • Stayed: October 2011, traveled as a couple
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Thank Eric C
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 October 19, 2011

Dear Valued Guest from California,
Thank you so much for taking the time to write such a great review on Tripadvisor of your recent stay at The Fairmont Empress. Congratulations on your recent marriage! I am so pleased to hear that you enjoyed your time on our Fairmont Gold floor. Wade is wonderful, and I love that he made you feel like a welcomed guest in his home while you were dining in the The Bengal Lounge. 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 the Pacific Northwest 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 October 18, 2011

We visited Victoria Island right after an enjoyable Alaska cruise by HAL.
When we arrived at the Fairmont Empress in the afternoon, we got our room without waiting. The original room they prepared for me was not ready and after I indicated my preference of having 2 beds , they put us on the Fairmont gold floor which is very nice and quiet.
All the hotel staff I talked to address to me by my name and they were helpful to answer my questions.
The room is very spacious and nicely decorated. The beds are very comfortable esp. after a long day. The bath shower can be a little bit too loud when in use.
One thing that really impressed me is the spirit of Fairmont Empress Service.
I was expecting a credit card replacement upon my arrival since my credit card was stopped due to some fraud charges while traveling in Alaska. When I checked in, the card was not there. I had to call Capital One credit card to check where my card is.
During my stay, I checked with the front desk 3 times if my replacement card has arrived.
Every time the front desk agent took extra precaution to walk down to the mail room to make sure they would not miss my card after not seeing it in the back office. Till the time I checked out, the new credit card never showed up.
Upon my request, Fairmont Empress service staff (front desk agent) happily took my contact info in case the card arrives later.
They even helped me connecting with the Fairmont at Whistler since I had to change my iterinery due to the credit card problem.
Few days later I received a voice mail from The Fairmont Empress staff stating my new card did arrive after my check-out and she indicates a very clear instruction on how to contact DHL delivery to get my card.
I have to say, most hotels just ignored the guest request after they check out.
But I feel Fairmont Empress really treat their guest seriously with care beyond their staying length.
To me, Fairmont Empress demonstrate Once A Guest, Always A Guest wither highest level of care and service.

Room Tip: Experience the Fairmont Gold service!
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  • Stayed: September 2011, traveled with family
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Thank Shu-Yi Y
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 October 19, 2011

Dear Valued Guest from New York,
Thank you for taking the time to write such a great review on Tripadvisor of your recent stay at The Fairmont Empress. I am so pleased to hear that you enjoyed your stay on our Fairmont Gold floor and found the staff attentive and helpful. The story about your credit card is a wonderful example of the level of engaging guest service that we always strive to provide. I am so pleased that you felt so well taken care of when you were here. Thank you again for taking the time to write such a wonderful review. 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 October 18, 2011

I have visited Victoria BC on several occasions during my time in Canada and always enjoy the opportunity to stay at "The Empress". This is an imposing and iconic property with magnificant views of Victoria's Harbour and downtown environs. Even if you are not fortunate enough to stay at the Empress, you should venture in and visit the Bengal Bar with its high ceilings, classic colonial furnishings (including the wall mounted tiger skin) and lavish curry buffet. On my last visit I was fortunate enough to view the harbour at daybreak and could see the float planes making their way around the harbour as they readied themselves for their flights to Vancouver. What fantasitc way to start the day.

Room Tip: Join the free Presidents Club for speedy check in and free wifi internet access.
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  • Stayed: October 2011, traveled on business
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Thank JPR18_11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 18, 2011

Situation of hotel was superb, check in was quick, friendly and efficient, room was smaller than other hotels we had stayed in on our 2 week trip, but certainly not inadequate. One major complaint was the windows!!!!! Cheap aluminium sliders, glass replaced in one that had black putty substance holding it in that had not been smoothed down and looked like a chewing gum repair and the glass in all windows looked as if they had not been cleaned for years! And this in an upgrade!!! What was other room like???? Food in Bengal Room was excellent as was service, thanks. Took tea as well next day for the experience, again, once done never to be repeated, it cost more than meal and drinks in the Bengal night before! Old world charm of hotel was great but at a price.

  • Stayed: October 2011, traveled with family
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Thank Ian T
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 October 19, 2011

Dear Valued Guest from United Kingdom,
Thank you for taking the time to write such an honest review on Tripadvisor of your recent stay at The Fairmont Empress. I am pleased to hear that the “Situation of hotel was superb” and that “check in was quick, friendly and efficient.” I apologize that the window in your room was not clean and did not seem well-finished. If you have a moment and can share your room number with our Director of Operations (see email address below), I would greatly appreciate it. It will allow us to send in our maintenance team to have a look at it and correct it. I am glad that you enjoyed the “old world charm” of our property, and had a chance to visit The Bengal Lounge and do Afternoon Tea. 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 Canada 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 October 16, 2011

We stayed at the Empress having had good experience with Fairmont hotels. It is a classic turn of the century hotel with magnificent architecture and public rooms. The Bengal lounge is worth it for the decor. However, the hotel itself is a bit over rated and over priced. Be forewarned that the rooms do not have air conditioning. The staff try to be accommodating but were slow to respond to requests and having one person at the concierge desk for such a large hotel can leave one frustrated with waiting for help. Afternoon tea is nice but expensive. Think you find better accommodations at a better price.

Room Tip: Since there is no air conditioning try not to get a room on the top floor during the summer.
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  • Stayed: September 2011, traveled with family
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1  Thank Calty24
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 October 18, 2011

Dear Valued Guest from New Jersey,
Thank you for taking the time to write such an honest review on Tripadvisor of your recent stay at The Fairmont Empress. I am very pleased to hear that you found our property to be “a classic turn of the century hotel with magnificent architecture and public rooms.” We do not have air conditioning in our historic property; typically aside from a few warm days a year the ocean breezes are enough to cool our guest rooms. I apologize that our service was not as prompt as we would strive to deliver. I have passed along your comments regarding the concierge to our Front Office Manager for review. Thank you again for taking the time to write a review on Tripadvisor. We look forward to welcoming you back to The Fairmont Empress when you travels bring you to Canada 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 October 16, 2011

Stayed here for one night when visiting Victoria. The location can't be beat, especially when arriving by floatplane. Afternoon tea is really over-priced though. The room was big and comfortable and the staff very helpful. The layout is a bit of a maze, but that was part of the fun staying at an older place. The harbour view was obscured by the scaffolding on the exterior being renovated though. Would stay again because of the location.

  • Stayed: August 2011, traveled with friends
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Thank PaulONeil
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 October 18, 2011

Dear Valued Guest from Lincoln,
Thank you so much for taking the time to write such a great review on Tripadvisor of your recent stay at The Fairmont Empress. It is wonderful to hear that you feel our location “can’t be beat” and that you found our “staff very helpful.” I apologize that the view of the harbor was obstructed by some scaffolding in place as we work on the new roof. Please do not hesitate to contact our Front Desk at any time if you have any concerns about your room. We want to ensure you have a restful, enjoyable stay with us. Thank you again for writing such a wonderful review. 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.
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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
#10 Luxury Hotel in Victoria
#13 Business Hotel in Victoria
#14 Family Hotel in Victoria
#16 Romantic Hotel in Victoria
Price Range: $206 - $525 (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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