My wife and I currently Platinum Members with Fairmont President's Club. So when it comes to staying at Fairmont Hotels, our standards are quite high. I always make it a point of reading trip advisor reviews before and after visiting hotels. I'm surprised by some of the negative reviews of the Fairmont Empress, because most problems listed are highly preventable.
I agree that parking is a bit expensive at $22. So we chose valet parking which was the same price. Self parking and valet are both $22 so why not get the staff to pull up the vehicle each time you need it. There were quite a few shops around the Empress, and they are hotel independent.
We booked our room at the Entertainment rate. If you have this membership card you can book one of their lowest rates. I noticed that they will accept CAA/AAA as well. Another great package they've got that anyone can book by phoning reservations is their Secret Seasons Package. If you book this, you will get parking, breakfast, coupon book of local businesses and the room - and if you stay 2 nights under the package you can get free afternoon tea. From what I've read of other reviewers, it sounds like tea is running $100+ per sitting. Why not have tea thrown in to your 2 night stay no charge? I think the package starts at $189 per night. But, nothing beats the local residents deal. If you live in Vancouver or Victoria or surroundings, you can stay at this hotel starting at $79 per night (W-O-W). Unfortunately, we were not local residents so we ended up paying about double, but still definitely worth it... as we were upgraded to one of their harbor view one bedroom suites upon arrival.
The suite is tastefully updated in ornate victorian (don't know the lingo flow). The tapestries in the living room and bedroom were traditional, the furniture was carefully selected to match. There were two marble appointed bathrooms, both the same size, so I was assigned the one in the living room, and my wife got the other one. The bathrooms were nicely appointed with tapestries and giant mirrors. There was also two tvs and two internet connections. The bedroom carpet was sculptured berber, and the living room was done up in hardwood (looked like maple). We received free internet during our 3 night stay at the Empress (Platinum members receive free internet at all Fairmonts).
I also received free Taylor Made golf club rentals (free for all President's Club members, and its' free for you to sign up!) during our stay. The Empress surprisingly provided me with a couple sleeves of balls and tees with the complimentary Taylor Mades. In addition, Mr. Hansen, the front desk assistant manager, provided a pair of Willowstream message slippers for my wife to use, and had the slippers delivered to our room prior to arrival! Turndown service was always prompt (free for all President's Club members, and free to sign up!) Their service was exceptional right down to personal, by name greetings each and every time we arrived and left the hotel.
Just as an observation, I noticed that the Empress has almost completed their renovations at the hotel. In fact, I think they were working on the seventh floor. Just in case, when you book into the Empress, request a renovated room... That could make all the difference. But I think 85% of their rooms are completely renovated. Great location, and I can't forget to mention the breathtaking views of the harbor from our room (forgot to take a picture). My wife and I were able to frequent local restaurants, museums, and the B.C. provincial legislative building... all walking distance from the hotel. Great walk along the harbour, and the wax museum are all must-dos when presiding at the hotel. The Bengal lounge was nice as well, to hang out after a long day, before turning in. With drinks you get a bowl of nuts no charge, a nice calorie fix.
All in all, our stay was a memorable one, and we will definitely come back the next time out. The Empress is a grand land mark hotel, rich in architecture, beauty and history. When in Victoria, if not staying at the Empress, my wife and I recommend stopping in and taking a visit.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Fairmont Empress sits majestically at the cornerstone of Victoria's sparkling Inner Harbour. This landmark hotel features turn of the century architecture, classic beauty and an unrivaled location on the water. It features the highly acclaimed Willow Stream Spa regarded as one of the best spas in Canada. Food lovers can sample the English ritual of Afternoon Tea, savour the famous curry buffet in The Bengal Lounge or sample award-winning food and wine in The Empress Room. The Fairmont Empress offers wireless internet access in all guestrooms, and it is complimentary for our Fairmont President's Club members, free to join. ... 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