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“Always a lovely place to stay!”

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The Fairmont Empress
Ranked #20 of 49 Hotels in Victoria
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersGold level
Reviewed January 11, 2013

This hotel is always lovely to stay at and to look at. The staff are overall very friendly and helpful, although I stood at the bellhop area for over 5 minutes with no one there and 3 staff members behind the desk not helping anyone, slightly annoying. The pool and spa area is great and walking through the different hallways in the hotel are always enjoyable. We had a room with two double beds, was big enough but didn't get slippers or robes. The beds were comfortable and I loved the pillows. Having the coffee maker in the room was great, with all the different coffee flavours it added something nice to the room. The cleaning staff were very friendly and polite. I really don't like paying extra for a third person however, as there is nothing different about the room or anything extra for the extra money. If 2 or 3 people stay in a room with two double beds, what difference does having a third person make? Except use of the pool I suppose. This extra cost is for all hotels, not a fan! Was very impressed with the manager however, was given a complimentary breakfast in the Empress Room and it was fantastic! The service was great, the restaurant itself was gorgeous and the food was outstanding. We probably would have never gone there ourselves to try it out just because it's priced a little high for breakfast, but was great to receive it free and the next time we stay we have decided to actually go there again for breakfast as it was fantastic! Overall staying at this hotel is quite pricey but it's an experience and I find it amazing each time! Can't wait to be back!

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled with friends
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1  Thank renae-87
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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2,657 - 2,663 of 3,839 reviews

Reviewed January 10, 2013

We stayed here over a 3day weekend before Christmas 2012. This grand old lady hotel still has plenty of charm, although updates still in progress, the rooms are tight for a family of 4. We stayed in the older wing, maybe best suited for only couples. My only irk of our room is that the bathroom has no exhaust fan for the steamy showers. Hotel is walking distance to many shops and eateries, and is smack in front of the harbor and corner of the Parliament Bldg. We booked High Tea at the Empress and it was well worth the price. Tea room was lovely and China service very original. We found restaurant Don Mee in Chinatown to be the best for dinner. We also ate at the Irish Pub along Government St. where they serve large portions of Irish favorites. A trip to Butchart Gardens in Christmas season is pretty at early evenings so you can take in the lights. A wonderful weekend, just missing the snow !!!

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled with family
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Thank Lady_Tubs
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
FairmontEmpress1908, General Manager at The Fairmont Empress, responded to this reviewResponded January 15, 2013

Dear Valued Guest from Seattle,
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 you enjoyed your stay with us and the many sites of our beautiful city. From your review I can see you were able to visit the best spots in Victoria. Don Mee's is one of my favourite restaurants and Butchart Gardens at Christmas time is not to be missed. 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 January 9, 2013

We had an exceptional experience while staying at the hotel for New Years. Our first interaction was was Richard - the doorman, he gave us ALL the information we requested and them some! Additioanlly he helped out during our stay. Him being there from the intial greeting was fantastic! Secondly we had the opportunity to visit the Bengal Bar and PAUL was outstanding! Again, start to finish he was courtious, fun, and remembered our names and our favorite drinks! Additionally, he was the bartender for New Years and we felt we had a"friend" there with us. The last person we would like to acknowlede is Della from the dining room. We experienced breaksfast time with her 3 mornings, and wish we had met her the first day! What a pleasant start to the day she provided, along with great service and postive attitude. All in all we felt we were treated VERY well by the staff we encountered during our stay. The staff memebers made such a wonderful experience while at the Empress!! Go and have fun!

Room Tip: They are all nice, just ask when checking in...they will guide you to your personal preference :)
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  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled with friends
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Thank Ginny H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 9, 2013 via mobile

Arriving at 11:00 am in the driving rain, it was with haste I entered the empress looking to find dry safe haven for our van, our luggage and ourselves. Although 5 hours early for our reservation, the porters, front desk agents and valet staff immediately made us feel at home.
Our bags were wiped dry from the wet, our van disappeared under ground to its safe parking spot and my wife and I embarked on a short wet walk for lunch in historic Victoria's plentiful offerings.

40 minutes after our original arrival the front desk called to say that our deluxe king room was ready for us...it was 12 noon. Wow.

Our first day allowed us a wonderful lunch ( elsewhere) time for an afternoon snooze in our spacious and well layed out room, cocktails in the Bengal lounge and dinner at a local tapas bar.

The in room dining dessert selections were too tantalizing to ignore so after an evening wander we enjoyed a trio of crime brûlée s , house made decadent ice cream and a chocolate peanut butter mousse whilst enjoying a scary movie in our deliciously warm buttery soft deluxe king bed.

$229 a night inclusive of parking, Internet access and full breakfast for both us, from a menu that saddens me we couldn't try everything , leaves me to conclude the following thought, "why don't we stay here more often since we visit Victoria all the time."

With one night still to go, the treasures of the property, the impeccable service and attention to our specific needs will undoubtably leave a lasting impression.

  • Stayed: January 2013
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1  Thank Jo D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 7, 2013

My granddaughter wondered what Christmas lights in a city looked like (we live in a small town) and I wanted to rekindle a happy memory of staying in the Empress 40 years ago. We stayed only one night (my grand-niece joined us for $25 extra) and were thrilled with everything: the comfortable room, the food, the gracious ambience, the 100 decorated Christmas trees in the halls. The next day my granddaughter asked "Can we go again next year?"

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled with family
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Thank Ardith-2004
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 6, 2013

I'm a bit of an Anglophile. So, afternoon high tea in British Columbia? Yes, I'm totally in!

OK, it's pricey. Let's get that out of the way. You're sitting in the most beautiful hotel, live music and extremely attentive service. And, the most delectable high tea treats.

You get to choose your tea flavor (or should I say "flavour" since I was in Canada until this afternoon?) but the sandwiches and desserts are pre-determined.

The service was extremely friendly though the tea service itself is quite a bit fussy. It is traditional British tea service after all. Here's what I got:

- I chose the Empress Tea blend - just perfect with everything I ate
- 2 chocolate covered strawberries once I was seated - a nice little treat
- Curry chicken sandwiches - perfect amount of heat and sweet
- Egg salad on croissant - the filling was OK, but the croissant was exceptional
- Chicken pate on crostini - just OK
- Currant scone with strawberry preserves from the UK and "Empress Cream" (the hotel's version of clotted cream) - amazing! This was the best scone I've ever had. Buttery, light and amazing on its own but even better with the preserves and cream
- An assortment of sweets on the top tier - I was just so stuffed that I couldn't even think about trying anything. I got them to go for later.
- A thank you gift of 20 tea bags of the Empress Tea Blend - this kind of guest delight is most appreciated.

I was a bit self-conscious about sitting at afternoon high tea by myself. The hostess was very kind to put me at a table near the window and even provided me with some reading material about the Empress Hotel to occupy myself during the tea service. As I was enjoying the tea service, I noticed a few other tables of one filling up the tea room so I didn't feel all out of place after all.

I highly recommend this place for a great high tea experience. Yes, the price is a bit steep (yes, tea pun intended) but it's worth it especially if you are an out of towner like me wanting to take in the sights and something a little out of the ordinary in Victoria, British Columbia.

Stayed: February 2012, traveled solo
Thank Jack L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
FairmontEmpress1908, General Manager at The Fairmont Empress, responded to this reviewResponded January 15, 2013

Dear Valued Guest from Pittsburgh,
Thank you for taking the time to write such a great review on Tripadvisor of your recent experience with us. I am so pleased to hear that you enjoyed our Afternoon Tea service. It has been a tradition at The Fairmont Empress since 1908, as I am sure you read in our Empress book. I will be sure to share your great comments with our food and beverage manager and the Afternoon Tea team. They will be so pleased to hear such great comments. 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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Reviewed January 3, 2013

The Empress is a gorgeous, historical property, and beautifully preserved. I stayed at it for work, but had my child with me: it's magical for kids, and fun for parents too. Our room was spacious, the beds very comfortable, and the staff extremely helpful in responding to requests. The location is amazing and the views over the harbour from our room were lovely. The hotel is great fun to explore with a child, including the beehives outside that make the honey served with afternoon tea. The only slight downsides would be the outrageously expensive room service (food nothing to write home about) and the cost of in-room internet service. Overall, however, it was a wonderful stay.

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled on business
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Thank LGfromT
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member 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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