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“Landmark hotel in great location”

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The Fairmont Empress
Ranked #20 of 49 Hotels in Victoria
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersGold level
Montreal, Canada
Level 4 Contributor
41 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“Landmark hotel in great location”
Reviewed September 1, 2013

Perfect location with easy access to lots of attractions. Although the service was very good I found the staff did not go that extra mile other Fairmont employees go through to make their guests feel special. Rooms are nicely decorated and location is rich with history which totally lives up to Fairmont standards. Unfortunately the hotel does not offer visits of the hotel, but visits are run by a private company. Breakfast was delicious, but perhaps a bit pricey for the limited selection. Overall eating at The Empress is rather expensive and in my personal opinion the hotel probably rests on it's reputation to justify such prices.

Room Tip: Become a President's Club member a get free wifi and free use of bikes. Book ahead of time for a...
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank MissForv
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Tallahassee, Florida
Level 5 Contributor
57 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed September 1, 2013

My parents and I had High Tea at the Empress, primarily just to say we've had high tea. But we really enjoyed it. The tea was great, the finger foods were awesome, the surroundings were beautiful, and the hostesses were always there to pour the next cup.

Stayed August 2013, traveled with friends
Helpful?
1 Thank Monique R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Orleans, Ontario
Level 6 Contributor
103 reviews
92 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 145 helpful votes
Reviewed August 31, 2013

While the building is beautiful and the setting is picturesque, this property is simply tired from top to bottom. I did not get a Fairmont Gold room so the bed was a small queen w/ a spongy mattress that had seen its better days. The one phone in the room was not equipped with a speaker and full of fingerprints and years of caked on sweat and grease. The desk (tiny) and chair (something from a 1940s sitting room) were not conducive to early AM or evening work. While the food is quite good, it was pricey but this is also the same for restaurants in Victoria -- which beat Vancouver and Toronto prices for many dishes and drinks. The gym is functional but small for a hotel of this size and I could not get a swim in no matter what time of the day ... I went at different times over three days were too many families etc. Like other older Fairmont properties (think Royal York Toronto, Hotel Vancouver or Chateau Laurier Ottawa), the Empress is a majestic piece of history and architecture but not the best pick for today's modern and harried business traveller.

I Wiil pick something else for future trips to Victoria and simply send folks Empress postcards.

Room Tip: Ask for a room near the main bank of elevators as it an can take a while to get to and from your roo...
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled on business
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Helpful?
Thank WJR-041
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed August 29, 2013

We had the highest hopes and expectations for our recent Fairmont Empress High Tea. Last year on our Alaskan Cruise port stop, we did not have enough time to fit in the tea on our schedule. We had greatly enjoyed the High Tea offered daily on our cruise ship, and vowed to visit the Empress for what must be one of the best High Tea experiences. We visited the Empress this time on a short trip via the Victoria Clipper cruise from Seattle. Well, sadly, we were extremely disappointed. In a beautiful grand dining space, the hostess wanted to seat us in a cold, hard 4 seat corner table until we insisted on the plush sofa and chairs arrangement that everyone else seemed to be enjoying. We paid in advance on the Victoria Clipper sailing, but were not presented with any additional offerings; we noticed diners with wine, champagne, etc. Our waitress, Paz, was not attentive to us at all; several times we refilled our own tea cups, while other waitstaff kept their diner's cups filled, and checked on them often. We saw her maybe once or twice, and at the end with the check out ticket; we were there about one hour. The price is exorbitant for what you get: for 3 adults, we received a single 3 tiered setting with the lower tier of 8 finger sandwiches, middle tier of 3 scones with curd and jelly, and top tier with small sweets i.e. petit fours, shortbread cookies, tiny chocolate mousse cups. We were told to come hungry because there would be 'so much food' but we came and left hungry. I realize it's a tea, not a gorge fest, but I thought at least the sandwiches might be replenished in our hour dining time. I have to admit the tea (a special Empress blend) was delicious, but I almost burned my arm trying to refill my own cup!
At $62.50 per person, this is outrageous! It's totally not worth it, a pure tourist trap, to be avoided at all costs. Take that money and enjoy many of the fine dining establishments, wonderful museums or great shopping options available in beautiful Victoria.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank Raemd
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fairfax, Virginia, USA
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed August 29, 2013

The Empress is absolutely the best hotel I've ever stayed in. The location is perfect, the facility is beautiful and the staff makes you feel comfortable and at ease in very elegant surroundings. We couldn't have been more pleased with our stay and would love to return at some point!

Room Tip: I can't imagine a bad room in this hotel.
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank JDE45
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lancashire
Level 5 Contributor
75 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
Reviewed August 29, 2013 via mobile

On the whole staff were very good and the location is excellent. In my opinion the hotel is overrated and needs to be modernised. Our room was a reasonable size but the bathroom was minuscule. It had a tiny primrose bath with a rubber mat to use in the bottom and a plastic shower curtain to pull across which had mould spots at the bottom as did some of the cream tiles near the ceiling. White washbasin and loo with a plastic lookalike marble top. No air conditioning in any rooms in the hotel so sleeping can be uncomfortable with an overhead fan. Our bed linen was not changed for the whole of the 5 day stay!!!

  • Stayed August 2013
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank Roblin70
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Philadelphia, PA
Level 6 Contributor
148 reviews
31 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 81 helpful votes
Reviewed August 29, 2013

The Fairmont Empress is a beautiful old time historic property that seems to be always busy. Was it too busy for me, I wondered? Upon arrival, my keys were with the doorman and I took two elevators to reach what is called "the romantic attic". My room was a corner with large windows and two window seats. Right then and there I knew I was close to heaven. Looking out of those windows I saw all the harbor delights (the Dragon Races were going on) with the sea planes taking off and landing, the water taxis in full swing, the ferry en route to wherever and the people enjoying it all on the ground. You guessed it, I never wanted to leave my perch and with a visiting seagull, I had a friend with which to share it all. The breakfasts were great and served in rooms from another era. The gym was only so so but this is a walkable, sports minded city that seems to scream..."get outdoors!"...which I did because of the hotel's perfect location. There was no AC in the room; just fans. I loved it because I don't like living as a popsicle. So for me, this was paradise and I can't wait to return to another "romantic attic" and revisit my new best friend!

Room Tip: My attic room was 732...but there is something for everyone here.
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled solo
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Helpful?
2 Thank LeahPhiladelphia_PA
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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