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“This is the place and they know it” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of The Fairmont Empress

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The Fairmont Empress
Ranked #19 of 52 Hotels in Victoria
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersGold level
Alameda, California
Level Contributor
46 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
“This is the place and they know it”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 10, 2012

This is my first time to have stayed at this hotel but in previous visits I have ventured into the building. The experience was good and I am glad we got to stay here. This chain has premier locations all over the world and they try to run a tight ship, but being corporate they lack individuality. Yes, the building is an attraction but service can be dull, valet parking (the only way to get in an out) is slow, you pay for internet and you must be prepared that you might not get a room that faces the harbour and instead one that faces other hotels.
I suppose this visit felt like going to a great aunt's home with all her fine china and antiques on display, she pours you tea and gives you biscuits but can't remember your name.
Do stay here to say you have done it, your will be glad you did but maybe after that you will visit a local boutique establishment the next time.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled on business
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank LisaFryklund
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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3,423 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (905)
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English first
Calgary, Canada
Level Contributor
86 reviews
26 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 62 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 10, 2012

I can't give this hotel a review higher than average.

The service is AMAZING. The coffee milk wasn't refilled in our fridge and they were there within 5 minutes with a plate filled with little creamers.
The room amenities are nice - a keurig for making your morning coffee, newspapers if you want it, and flat screen TV (last time I visited 2 years ago they still were old style tube TVs which was super disappointing at the time). My favourite thing about any hotel is the toiletries - and I loved the toiletries provided by the Fairmont. They were refilled each morning and were of the utmost quality.

The room size was quite small. Which is ok, I've come to expect that from an older style hotel. Unfortunately I feel as if they are using the "heritage" angle as an excuse to refrain from updating anything. The first morning the shower didn't drain at all. We called and they were up there within a few minutes to fix it. When we came back from our adventures we saw the toilet was filled with whatever the maintenance guy had removed from the shower - hair and gunk. It was also on the bottom of the tub. Housekeeping had been in, so I wish they had bothered to clean that up. However the shower did drain perfectly after that. The fixtures in the bathroom were dusty and rusty.

Our room backed onto some kind of loading dock - complete with view of a parking lot? So terrible. There was a constant beeping of a truck unloading all night. I would like to take this opportunity to assure you that we did not book on some kind of deal website, or have a friends or family deal. We booked through a reputable vacation company and as such expected not to be shoved into some back corner. That'll teach us to check in at 8 PM. Whoops.

Lets talk about WIFI. I've stayed at cheap motels that included free WIFI. Not here - quite expensive actually. I probably burned through quite a lot of my data this past weekend downloading a running mix for the marathon. Next time I will plan in advance and stop in at a starbucks.

Speaking of the marathon - I called to find out if they would have some kind of breakfast special, not even a deal, just a bit earlier since the race was quite early. They actually did have such a special - unfortunately the first 3 people I spoke to had NO IDEA about it - not guest services, not dining services. Eventually we received a notice telling us about it :) Again - whoops.

We hit up the pool area - gross. There were some bugs around the hot tub area. The tiles weren't clean. There was no water available to drink. Not a 5 star hotel pool area - that's for sure. And this is the pool/hot tub that is accessible from their spa. Unbelievable.

The hotel is lovely, it is elegant. The service you receive at this hotel is amazing. The fixtures, and architecture is amazing. However. The room quality is not worth the price you will pay to stay in this hotel.

Room Tip: Ask for a room that doesn't back onto the loading dock :)
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with friends
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank JenandDani
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
FairmontEmpress1908, Director of Operations at The Fairmont Empress, responded to this review, October 12, 2012
Dear Valued Guest from Calgary,
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 Resorts. From the comments you have shared I can see that we have not succeeded in keeping our service promise. I will personally be following up with our leadership team in regards to your room, pool area and guest service. I will also be sharing your comments about the WIFI with our ownership group. Thank you again for sharing the feedback; I would be happy to discuss your stay further should wish. I can be reached directly via email at drew.fisher@fairmont.com.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
172 reviews
34 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 92 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 8, 2012

Although our room (38M) offered zero views and featured a rather small bathroom (even for European standards), this was a one-of-a-kind experience. When visiting Victoria, and if you have never been here before, go ahead and pick this hotel. The staff is super-friendly, the beds are very comfortable and the rooms are equipped with both wire and wireless connections (just in case you want to check-in with work). We had breakfast at The Empress Dining Room and enjoyed every bite. The decor is sublime. OK, so you will be spending more on F&B than any other site in town, but it's well worth it. Tip: in order to ensure a better view than what we experienced, I urge you to avoid the "upper lobby." Safe travels.

Room Tip: Avoid the "upper level" if you are looking for a view of the harbor.
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank JYG61
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
FairmontEmpress1908, Director of Operations at The Fairmont Empress, responded to this review, October 12, 2012
Dear Valued Guest from New York,
Thank you for taking the time to write a 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 you found our staff to be friendly and enjoyed your meal in The Empress Room. All of our employees take great pride in providing all of our guests' with the best possible experience. From the comments you have shared I can see that we have succeeded. 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.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Haslett, Michigan
Level Contributor
33 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 6, 2012

My wife and I stayed at the Empress for our 16th anniversary vacation. We love old, historic hotels that offer comfort, service and style, even if that means accepting their quirks. For this trip, we splurged on one of the "gold" suites with a view of the harbor and we loved it. In addition to the room, we had access to a private lounge that served a very good breakfast and had all the concierge level amenities we could ask for. The suite itself had the requisite modern conveniences -- large TVs, Kuerig coffee maker, plenty of electrical outlets to charge things -- and furniture that definitely isn't new. This is not a new hotel so if signs of age in carpets or nicks in desks bother you, one of Victoria's more modern places might be a better choice. It's true that the hotel is expensive but the location, views and ambience are hard to beat.

Room Tip: You pay for the view, but it's worth it. Room 174 was right next to the elevator.
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank SMSinHaslett
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Puyallup, Washington
Level Contributor
66 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 5, 2012

I've stayed here before and always enjoy the Empress. It's in a great location, has lovely grounds and great staff. But it's expensive and the rooms are very small with no real amenities. They also charge a lot for WiFi (I was intentionally disconnected this whole trip). We have decided to explore other lodging opportunities for our next trip. That said, if you've never stayed here, you should experience it at least one time.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Sean M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
FairmontEmpress1908, Director of Operations at The Fairmont Empress, responded to this review, October 6, 2012
Dear Valued Guest from Washington,
Thank you for taking the time to write a review on Tripadvisor of your recent stay with us. I am so pleased to hear that you enjoy our location, grounds and staff. Thank you for your comments about the WIFI. While there is a fee associated with using our WIFI, it is a complimentary service for Fairmont President's Club members. I would highly recommend you become a member. You will receive many other benefits. More information can be found on our website. 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.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seattle, WA
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 4, 2012

My husband and I were excited to stay at the Empress for our anniversary. It's a landmark, after all, and the Fairmont hotels are supposedly on par with the Four Seasons. We found a great deal (Facebook special). However, while the service at check in was friendly as expected, our room is pretty....meh. The carpet is pretty dingy, the remote control is dirty and dusty (and obviously hasn't been wiped down in a VERY long time), and the ice bucket has a significant coating of dust on it. Maybe kind of nit-picky, but the tongs for the ice bucket are plastic. It's the little things.

Also, the towels are pretty thin and there are no robes in our room.We could ask, yes, but aren't robes something that are usually just there, like towels? Especially when the info says to wear a robe to the pool.

It is an old hotel, yes. And it's lovely on the outside, with an excellent location. But for the price, I expected a lot more. Had we paid the normal rate, I would be extremely disappointed. We have stayed at older hotels in Savannah and Charleston that were worth the price. Wish I could say this was.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank megsuw
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 30, 2012 via mobile

We were thrilled to be staying at such famous and luxurious hotel until we checked in. We decided to upgrade to a much bigger room with a beautiful marina view. Not so much, the room was smaller than we thought and the view was a small sliver of the marina that was blocked when we put the fan on the table in order to bear the warm weather, no air conditioning. The next morning I went to front desk and asked to be down graded to our original reserved room, a king size deluxe, which I was then informed, was really the regular size room, even though I was paying the rate online for a deluxe price. Guess that's what you get for booking early versus waiting for the special online. Our new room was large and the bed was very comfy but the floor felt like it was carpets over lumps in the floor. All in all, I would not stay again, especially for the high prices.

Stayed September 2012
Helpful?
1 Thank J B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
FairmontEmpress1908, Director of Operations at The Fairmont Empress, responded to this review, October 2, 2012
Dear Valued Guest,
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 Resorts. I do hope you had the opportunity to experience all our city has to offer. Thank you again for sharing the feedback; I would be happy to discuss your stay further should you wish. I can be reached directly via email at drew.fisher@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

Property: 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
#8 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 (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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