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“A Very Pleasant and Memorable Stay!”

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The Fairmont Empress
Ranked #19 of 52 Hotels in Victoria
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersGold level
Level Contributor
9 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 97 helpful votes
“A Very Pleasant and Memorable Stay!”
Reviewed March 21, 2005

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.

  • Stayed February 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
16 Thank tttong
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Calgary Alberta Canada
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
Reviewed March 17, 2005

My fiance and I stayed at the Empress on Canada Day 2004. I have stayed in a number of Fairmonts and without a doubt this was the best one.
We brought our dog along, and started in Victoria for a 2 week trip around the islands. We stayed in a Gold room with views of the Parliament Building and the harbour. We watched the fireworks from the gold lounge, and could not beat the view. Hundreds of people were camped out in front of the hotel to watch, we could stay in our plush lounge with drinks and snacks to watch!

Sometimes with the heritage hotels the rooms can be small and dated, but the room at the Empress was beautiful and modern. We did not attend the afternoon tea (a tradition) due to the cost, but we ate ourselves silly at the Bengal room with the Indian and Chocolate buffet. Amazing food.

On arrival the staff was extremely friendly, gave my dog a fancy package of treats that looked like truffles. They provided a dog bed and bowls, it was very nice to be welcomed with a dog! (after leaving the Empress we went camping and when we set up the tent and called her in, she looked at us like we were out of our minds - wanted to go back to the Empress!)

I would highly recommend this hotel - it's a Canadian landmark.

10 Thank kootenaykitty
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
8 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed February 19, 2005

My husband and I stayed at the beautiful Empress on Oct. 27 & 28 and were amazed at the way that stay exceeded our expectations in every way. It was lovely!! I had dreamed for years of staying there, and then read a couple of negative reviews on this site. I started to worry, but a Fairmont reservationist assured me that the rooms were NOT moldy and that I would be pleased with the staff and service. He was 100% right! Every employee that we encountered, and I emphasize EVERY, was not only cordial, but downright friendly!! They went out of their way to please us and meet every need or request we had. Not one employee ignored us or nodded a greeting---every person greeted us as old friends (though this was our first stay there), every one inquired about our stay---how we were enjoying the hotel, the city, etc. The room (and bathroom) were beautiful and spotlessly clean, the concierges were extremely helpful, the food was delicious, and their own blends of tea were out of this world wonderful---wish I'd bought some to bring home with me!! I can't think of even one negative thing about our stay; my husband and I were simply delighted. The location is fantastic---across from the harbor, across the side street from the RBC Museum, walking distance to almost any place you want to go. We walked for hours along the waterfront, through parks and neighborhoods. We saw a lot of other big, fancy hotels; they held no allure for us--we were so perfectly satisfied with the Empress. I can't wait to go back!!

  • Stayed October 2004
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
12 Thank wandb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed February 8, 2005

This hotel charges $22/day for parking for hotel guests! Insane

9 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sacramento, California
Level Contributor
22 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
Reviewed January 27, 2005

The impeccable service, the magnificent Victorian decorated rooms, afternoon tea facing the inner harbor or enjoying a quiet tea before bedtime in the peaceful lounge on the gold floor. Everything about the friendly and accommodating staff and this elegant hotel conspired to make our second stay at the Fairmont Empress as wonderfully memorable as the first.

  • Stayed December 2004
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
8 Thank XtallTraveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed January 23, 2005

My husband (then date) bought me a pair of gold/jade earings there.
1. The actual amount charged was many times of the displayed price. (The sales lady said the price displayed was wrong, and since we were only dating at the time, either of us wanted to argue or back out in front of the other.)
2. After a few months, the 'gold' began to show green rust.

6 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed January 9, 2005

One thing you can guarantee about Fairmont Hotels is a consistency of
location, amenities and a grandeur of setting and elegance. If comparing
the Empress to the 'grand dames' such as Banff Springs or Fairmont
San Francisco, then perhaps you will notice a slight downgrade in overall "impressive-ness" ..... But the Empress is a very special place,
and I think an experience at this hotel is only limited by your budget and
your personal taste. If you wish to be swept away by the quiet elegance,
romantic lounges and dining rooms, the impressive view over the Inner Harbour, and the unbeatable location in downtown Victoria, then the Empress is highly recommended. If you are expecting the Four
Seasons quality for $150 per night, then perhaps you shouldn't be staying in quiet Victoria, B.C, anyway, and perhaps you should review your expectations of value for money. Yes, some rooms within the Empress are tiny. Some rooms are older in style and decor, and a considerable number have no view. But then there are magnificent and elegant rooms which have commanding views of the harbour (and more than one picture window), and all manner of amentities and luxuries.
In the off-season you can secure fantastic savings, sometimes with bonus High Tea, or breakfast included. I have stayed at this hotel 3 times in recent years (including my honeymoon) and it has never failed to impress me. The Empress remains in my heart a special, unpretentious, quiet gem in one of the prettiest coastal cities in North America. The absolute highlight of a stay here is without a doubt, the
'Bengal Lounge' .... Don't go past the Indian banquet and the cocktails.

7 Thank starcanada
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
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):
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

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