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“Charming place that has it's shortcomings”

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The Fairmont Empress
Ranked #20 of 46 Hotels in Victoria
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersGold level
Reviewed August 5, 2013 via mobile

The history associated with this place and its location are enough to bring u in--at least once.

We stayed two nights. First one in a 'Gold king suite' which had a great view of the harbour as anticipated and requested. The problem was that the suite is on the small and cramped side. The layout wasn't most user friendly.

In the middle of the summer u would hope the place would be air conditioned. Yes, the nights were comfortable but one would like to have the option of a/c for the amount that you pay. Only my relatives and friends with whom I stay for free get to me tell me to do without the A/C ;).

The second night was in a another king suite without a harbour view. This suite was more open and had two baths and was cheaper than the Gold suite. You don't get access to the lounge though which was well-stocked and worth the Gold upgrade.

The location, interior and exterior of the hotel are iconic. As I said, it's worth a try at least once. Make ur own opinion after u have stayed here.

  • Stayed: July 2013
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1  Thank quattromd
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 August 6, 2013

Dear Valued Guest from Brampton,
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 stay in a Fairmont Gold Suite as well as one of our non-Fairmont Gold Suites. Both suites are great options when you are selecting a room that suits your needs. From your comments I can see the second suite you stayed in was the better fit for you. I am happy that we were able to find a room that you were comfortable in. I hope you enjoyed your time in Victoria and had the opportunity to enjoy all that our city has to offer. 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

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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2,566 - 2,572 of 3,974 reviews

Reviewed August 5, 2013

in the middle of enjoying our three day stay in the Empress Hotel. Our seventh floor suite gave us box seat views of the annual Splash event held on Sunday in Inner Harbour. Victoria Symphony entertained us for hours with fireworks lighting up our room @9pm. Sensational views compensate for a little street noise below but it's all part of the tourist bustle so no complaints. Love the rose scented toiletries and four poster bed. Happy with open windows and fans instead of aircon. Only missing bathrobes and slippers which SHOULD be in these particular suites, and the mattress needs replacing I'd say. Hardly dealt with any staff but pleasant enough. Don't spend your whole stay here. We're off to the Oak Bay resort for 2 nights, then Abigail's which travellers say is a must!
The High Tea is expensive but worth it as it is a once in a lifetime experience in this grand old dame.

  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Boheme9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 5, 2013

Our family stayed at this historic hotel in late July as part of a 2 week vacation in British Columbia/Alberta. The exterior and common areas of the hotel are beautiful. The location is great, right in the middle of central Victoria. The service was hit and miss. The restaurant staff was friendly and accommodating but a couple of the people we dealt with at the front desk were not very friendly or helpful. The room was disappointing. While the beds were comfortable, the carpet had stains, the furniture was scratched up, and the bathroom looked like something out of the 1970's. We felt the hotel was expensive for what you get and not up to Fairmont standards.

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with family
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1  Thank Sacramento_CADave
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 5, 2013

This 'grand old lady' of a hotel dominates the waterfront and offers spectacular harbour views. Other reviewers have commented that it trades on its established reputation; it has picked up a bit, but it's hard to see why the lobby is a mass of milling people trying to check in; why not more staff? There was a great deal of noise and a general feeling of chaos. Thanks to Tripadvisor we were forewarned that there might be problems at check-in, and indeed there were; the clerk did not know whether the previous occupants had checked out of our room and proposed putting us in another, but my husband stood his ground as a long queue built up behind him, and eventually got the right room.

Our first restaurant experience was bad too; we encountered surely the world's most offensive waiter. We had had the temerity to request tea and scones in the Veranda Restaurant, whereas scones apparently may only be had in the tea room. W.e will draw a veil over the rest of the episode, as the evening made up for it; a real 'dining experience' in the Empress Dining Room, where we were fortunate to be waited on by the excellent and experienced Earl. Dinner in the Bengal Lounge was good too; with a lovely cocktail to celebrate our Ruby Wedding anniversary.

It's true there is no air con in the rooms, but the ceiling fan works well. It's a long and labyrinthine route from the back entrance where the bus drops you to get to Reception.

The nearby Museum is really excellent.

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank hoteljunkie99
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 August 6, 2013

Dear Valued Guest from the United Kingdom,

Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback. I am sorry to hear that your check in experience was not what we would have liked and that your first dining experience fell short of the service levels expected at a Fairmont Hotel. I was very pleased to read that Earl took such great care of you in The Empress Room and that you chose to celebrate your ruby anniversary in The Bengal Lounge. I will be sharing your comments with our Leadership team so that we are able to improve upon the service shortcomings you experienced. I will also be sharing your positive comments so that we are able to celebrate them with the colleagues you have mentioned. Thank you again for sharing the feedback; I hope that we will have the opportunity to welcome you back to The Fairmont Empress in the future.

Kind regards,

Don Fennerty
General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 5, 2013

Although I have travelled to BC many times, including travels around Vancouver Island, this was my first visit to Victoria.Upon arrival in my room I was greeted by a friendly gull outside my window. This friendly bird nodded its head as if in a greeting and continued to check on me daily. After taking one of the fascinating Victoria Ghost Walk Tours I began to think of this regular visitor as one of your friendly spirits there to look over me. Whether responsible or not I did have a wonderful visit. Also, just before departing for BC I discovered I had a cousin who had moved to Victoria. So after a lapse of over 40 years between seeing each other Victoria's Fairmont Empress became our meeting place so I know this will not be my last trip to Victoria and the Fairmount Empress.

Room Tip: nothing to compare to so no advise.
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  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled on business
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Thank Susan A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 4, 2013

My hubby & I stayed at the Empress and booked the Gold Floor based on other reviews here. The hotel was really grand and you can feel the history just walking through the lobby and restaurant areas. Our room was a king with the harbor view and when we first walked in, the heat from the afternoon beating on our windows was unbearable. There is no AC and although the hotel knew we were coming, the drapes were left open and the windows closed. We would return each day from sightseeing to find the staff housekeeping continued to leave the room the same way, even though we left the drapes closed to try to break some of the heat from baking our room. The bed linens were awful (pilly) and scratchy. The best part was the spa -- wonderful and relaxing and I'd definitely like to spend more time experiencing the full service of the spa. When I booked my massage the staff didn't tell me there was a steam room and mineral baths, and the spa gals were disappointed that I hadn't come early enough nor brought my swimsuit to enjoy these amenities (had I known, I sure would have enjoyed it). Our room was too expensive for the service and quality we received. I'll probably want to try another hotel (Grand Pacific?) the next time we visit Victoria.

Room Tip: Gold floor is the best way to go.
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  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Mumzie4two
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 August 6, 2013

Dear Valued Guest from Idaho,
Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback. I am sorry to hear that your stay was not as comfortable as we would have liked. I will be sharing your comments about the heat in the room with our Executive Housekeeper who will address them with her team. On warmer days it is customary to leave the drapes closed to prevent the room from heating up. I am sorry that we did not do that for you during your stay. I was happy to hear that you enjoyed your treatments in the spa but sorry that the steam room, sauna and mineral pool were not mentioned to you. I have shared your comments about with our Spa Manager who will address this with her team. Thank you again for sharing the feedback; I hope that we will have the opportunity to welcome you back should your travels bring you to Victoria again.

Kind regards,

Don Fennerty
General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 4, 2013

My daughter and I stayed here on our way to Vancouver. The hotel is so impressive with the massive stones and ivy climbing over it. We stayed in a small room but very adequate. Our highlight was eating breakfast in the Empress room. The morning buffet has a lot of variety and very good food. Just sitting in this room made you feel like you when back in history to another time and place - so old world atmosphere. It is centrally located and short walk to waterfront and restaurants. A fun place to visit.

Room Tip: Wi-fi was a little spotty depending on where you were in the hotel
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  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with family
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Thank Rita Z
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
#14 Family Hotel in Victoria
#16 Romantic Hotel in Victoria
Price Range: $203 - $541 (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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