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“You pay for the name.”

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The Fairmont Empress
Ranked #20 of 49 Hotels in Victoria
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersGold level
Moncton
Level 2 Contributor
9 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“You pay for the name.”
Reviewed July 22, 2013

I had a room here in July at $349 per night. The issues I encountered were:

- Old dirty looking metal windows that rattled in the slightest breeze ( I had to fix this with a napkin )
- No A/C
- Tub drain that was 75% clogged leaving you with a fair amount of soapy water left in the tub by the end of your shower.

I could somewhat understand the price if the view was of the beautiful harbour across the street, but my view was of the apartment buildings on Douglas St.

I can't even say you pay for the location, because I ended up staying across the street on my last night in the city for $169 in a room every bit as comfortable and with modern non rattling windows.

That only shining point was the incredible staff. While there was nothing impressive about the rooms, the staff were second to none.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled on business
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Derek R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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San Jose, California
Level 5 Contributor
71 reviews
26 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed July 19, 2013

Staying in an historic hotel has its charms, including history and ambiance. On the other hand, it also meant no air conditioning, which can be a problem in summer. The windows did open, but that meant a lot of street noise. Thankfully, there were no mosquitos. A high floor means less noise, but more heat because heat rises. There was a small oscillating fan in the closet, and a ceiling fan, which helped. This old hotel also meant old furnishings, and an old, tiny, bathroom. The toilet was about 3 inches from the tub and if the shower curtain is opened one way, it rubs along and then sits aside the toilet, touching the toilet until moved to the other side of the tub. The hotel's location is nice, walking distance to many attractions, Beacon Hill Park, restaurants, and shops. The grounds are really beautiful. We did not eat at the hotel or have tea. The health club was nicely appointed, with a variety of good equipment.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank DRPeroli
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Denver
Level 6 Contributor
139 reviews
43 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 61 helpful votes
Reviewed July 19, 2013

We did not experience any of the waits that other reviewers did. But I did see long lines and apparently long waits that would have been frustrating. It is my 5th Fairmont this year. It is a classic, old hotel with tremendous history. If you want new and fresh, it's not your place. If you want teeped in history, rich furnishings, historic bars and rooms, then go. Everyone walking through town stops by just to look inside. As will all Fairmonts now, the bike rentals were free and easy to use. Highly recommend it.

Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
Helpful?
1 Thank ZLOfan
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 review, July 24, 2013
Dear Valued Guest from Denver,
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 enjoyed the history of our 105 year old hotel. Thank you for being such a loyal guest of Fairmont Hotels and Resorts and 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.

Kind regards,

Don Fennerty
General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hillsboro, Oregon
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed July 19, 2013

We stayed 3 nights in the Empress, because, well we thot we just MUST if going to Victoria - for the experience.
Great central location. Wonderful nearby eateries and shops, the wharf and sea air so refreshing, enjoyed the street entertainers. Efficient concierge made our out and about travels easy. Rented a black convertible mustang from Budget just behind the hotel for our day trip to Butchart Gardens via the beautiful scenic route. Very convenient. The old world charm, furnishings in the hotel are lovely and within keeping with the period, and the "wear and tear" other reviewers spoke of did not bother me - they're still lovely and of the era. Our room was nice, bed comfy, oscillating fan and open windows helped the lack of AC. Our little seating area had a glass top table that was filthy - food crusted on it. Second day I left a note asking Hoysekeeping to kindly clean it. They did. Shouldn't have had to ask - for $299/nite. Beautiful (but expensive) Bengal lounge had great food, ok service. Breakfast in Empress room was good - again, spendy.
Lets talk about High Tea. The High tea room was lovely. They offered gluten free options, and it really was good for GF. But we failed to check on the price first and about fell off our chairs when we got the bill. $60 each. Total after tip was $145. Service was excellent, but c'mon. High tea is high tea and you can find it elsewhere nearby for $30. Everyone told us, prior to our trip "you HAVE to do High Tea". I say,
no you don't. And if you do, go somewhere else. Unless of course you think you just HAVE to do it at The Empress. We feel we could have spent $145 on an exquisite dinner with a great bottle of wine anywhere nearby and come away much more satisfied. Or given it to the street entertainer, Akron.
Would we stay here again? No. For the money, check out the Oak Bay Beach Hotel. Not central, but gorgeous. Pool out on a point hanging over the sea. You'd have to have a car, but well lit underground parking is free (Empress charges $30/nite). If no car, they have free bus shuttle right into downtown Victoria.
That's my two cents - but everyone has a different idea of what type of experience they're willing to pay for.

  • Stayed July 2013
    • Value
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    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank jakohl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Stuart, Florida
Level 4 Contributor
32 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed July 18, 2013 via mobile

checkin poor. room nice. view very limited. coffee service in room on keirog mot cleaned and not fully supplief. had to call housekeeping to get supplies. will chevkmput bar later. locatipn great for leavingnhotel and eating somewhere else. baggage handling very slow even after waiting over one hour at four p m and then finally received keys for room and identifying out room number to
porter desk!

  • Stayed July 2013
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Jimronbob
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Santa Barbara, California
Level 2 Contributor
8 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed July 18, 2013

I have now stayed in Fairmont Gold at four properties, Victoria, Whistler, Banff, and Lake Louise. I looked in at Quebec and Ottawa. I am impressed. Fairmont Gold is very expensive, and worth every penny of it. My stays were memorable, delightful, wonderful, and they "made" the trip. I will remember the fun, beauty, conversations with staff, tastes and views long after I forget what it cost. What is a perfect trip worth? Fairmont Gold comes very close to delivering that perfect trip. I salute you Fairmont Gold. Now I know what to save my money for. The view from my window at Banff Springs was perfection. The staff was magnificent. The food impressed. Whistler and Lake Louise impressed me, but the Empress was first and set a very high bar for the others. Three great views, great room, helpful, fun staff made Empress special as did excursions around Victoria. What a great visit!

Room Tip: Since gold service tends to give their people the best rooms in the hotel, use Gold Service. I had...
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Baron B
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 review, July 24, 2013
Dear Valued Guest from Santa Barbara,
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 enjoyed our Fairmont Gold along with those at our sister properties. I was so pleased to read that you found our Fairmont Gold staff to be very friendly and helpful. I will personally be sharing your comments with them. 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.

Kind regards,

Don Fennerty
General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Roseville
Level 5 Contributor
88 reviews
44 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
Reviewed July 18, 2013

Keep in mind that this hotel is over 100 years old. It retains its turn of the century charm. Had a king room on the gold level (concierge level). Service is attentive, rooms are nice and clean. Had a great view overlooking the inner harbor.

Dinner in the Bengal Lounge is nice, though it is dark and can he hard to see and hear when the room fills up. Fish and chips are great. Yes, you must take afternoon tea ~$60 pp.

Walking distance to shops, mall, restaurants.

This is still a magnificient property.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Ben C
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

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
#7 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):
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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