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The Fairmont Empress
Ranked #20 of 49 Hotels in Victoria
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersGold level
Reviewed November 8, 2012

I was in Victoria a few days ago on business, and stayed at the Fairmont Empress. I've stayed there before, so I knew full well what I was getting myself into. And I'm pleased to note that once again, the Empress exceeded my expectations in every possible way.

I like staying at Fairmont hotels - mainly for the exceptional service, but also because they are often historic properties with an unmatched charm and elegance. No hotel better exemplifies this than the Empress. From the minute you step out of the cab upon arrival, the friendly and helpful staff do everything in their power to make you feel like royalty.

You can read all about the hotel's rich and colourful history on the Fairmont website. What the website doesn't tell you is exactly how wonderful this place makes you feel. The service really is top-shelf. The staff are all smiling, they all greet you by name, and you really are made to feel like you're their best customer in the world. I used Fairmont's I'm On My Way service to check-in via my Blackberry while still en route, and shortly afterward received a confirmation email that my room was ready and waiting, and the doorman would give me my keys. Upon arrival, I gave him my name and voila - he had everything ready, and I was upstairs in the room in a few minutes, with no line-ups or waiting at all.

The room was gorgeous.

The Empress is an old building, but it has been impeccably cared for all its life, and it really shows -- it's in amazingly beautiful condition. My room was larger than I had expected, with a king bed facing two large windows that opened. M view was straight out the front, overlooking the beautiful Victoria harbour. To the right, a large fireplace with a gorgeous wooden mantle. To the left, a large walk-in closet and the washroom (with excellent water pressure in the shower, something you sometimes take for granted). The carpet appeared to be fairly new (as did the carpet in the hallway), and the room was spotlessly clean. The bed was firm and comfy, with four pillows to choose from. I like having a choice of firm and soft pillows, and not all hotels offer this. Talk about a nice touch.

I was still a bit wound up from traveling, so decided to hit the hotel's gym. Wow - it was really nice, with a wide range of new equipment, and a fully stocked towel rack and beverage area. I didn't try the pool, but could see it while I worked out, and it looks great.

I did not have time to treat myself to enjoying high tea (an Empress tradition) on this trip, but did so a few months ago on a previous trip to Victoria, and strongly recommend it to anyone - whether you stay at the hotel or not.

My trip was very short, only two days, but I was genuinely sorry to have to leave. The Empress is a bit more than just a hotel, it's an indulgent experience that everyone should have at least once in their life. If you're reading this and considering staying there, just do it. You won't regret it.

Room Tip: If you can score a room overlooking the harbour, you'll enjoy amazing sunset views.
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  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled on business
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1  Thank Craig1963
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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2,698 - 2,704 of 3,839 reviews

Reviewed November 7, 2012

My wife and recently spent three days in Victoria, BC and stayed at the Fairmont Empress. The rooms are beautifully appointed, large and comfortable. The complimentary breakfast and afternoon appetizers in the the President's Club lounge were delightful and delicious. We enjoyed a nice evening meal in the Bengal Lounge and received personalized treatment by the concierge at the gold-level desk. We were there for a large education conference so the hotel was packed...but it certainly didn't feel that way at all. It felt like we were the hotel's only guests, at least from how we were treated by all staff members. The somewhat higher rate for the Empress is well worth it except for one possible exception: You will feel so pampered that your next stay in a non-Fairmont hotel pales in comparison. Prepare to be spoiled by the Empress!

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled on business
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Thank tghiemstra
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 4, 2012

We know the Empress very well so were very disappointed after being let down this weekend. Friday evening was fantastic, we enjoyed cocktails and a leisurely dinner in the Bengal Lounge, it was a wonderful evening. Saturday morning breakfast was wonderful and we went out early to enjoy Victoria. By 3PM my wife was ready for a nice relaxing bath and we were amazed to discover that our room had not been attended to. After requesting our room be serviced it was almost two hours before we could return. If we return to the Empress we will certainly request our room be serviced sooner rather than later.

  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank rkm774t
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 reviewResponded November 5, 2012

Dear Valued Guest from Nanoose Bay,
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 enjoyed your cocktails in The Bengal Lounge and breakfast in The Empress Room. I am sorry to hear that housekeeping did not service your room in a timely manner. I will be sharing your comments with our housekeeping management to ensure that this does not occur in the future. 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.
Reviewed November 4, 2012

This is a lovely hotel and the rooms are gorgeous. We were lucky to get a harbour view, which was well worth it during the 'Zombie' invasion and the marathon!
The pool and sauna are great - although it can get busy with families.
Dogs also seem welcome.
I am sure you can get cheaper, although this hotel is well worth a look first.

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank harleegirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 2, 2012

This is certainly a step back in time to the days of luxury hotels with plenty of seating areas throughout the hotel. Must spend time in the Spa and have a facial and massage. Just to be there is an experience. The location is great and you can walk to nearly everthing. Better access to the internet would have helped make a great time even better.

Room Tip: Rooms at the back of the hotel have no view
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  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled with family
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Thank Kathleen D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 2, 2012

Usually the temperatures are very pleasant in BC over the summer, but the surprise was there was not airconditioning in the hotel rooms. Not bad with ceiling fan, but when the pigeons landed on the open widow sill it was too much for my wife. High tea was great!

  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank BearGuy60
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 1, 2012

The Empress is in an excellent location for walking around Victoria. Located next to the museum, parliament and across from the harbor. The airport is a 30 outer drive and the ferries are a 5 inure walk from the hotel. Afternoon Tea at theFairmont is wonderful and relaxing. And the staff is incredible.

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank MHTruett
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 reviewResponded November 5, 2012

Dear Valued Guest from Austin,
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 you had the opportunity to enjoy 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 Victoria again.

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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: $253 - $492 (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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