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“The "Spoil the Parents" Trip”

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The Fairmont Empress
Ranked #21 of 49 Hotels in Victoria
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersGold level
Reviewed September 12, 2009

My senior parents had not been to Victoria BC since the 1970's, so we booked this trip with that in mind. Staying at The Empress is something my family always meant to experience. My parents were very impressed, and the staff spoiled us rotten. The rooms are dated but charming, small but well appointed. We had two rooms in the original wing of the hotel, upper floor, with a view of the Royal Museum. The beds were soft and comfortable. Service is key at this hotel. We had breakfast in-room one morning and our food delivered quickly and at proper temperatures. The Bengal Lounge was a fun stop for drinks and appetizers. Front desk were able to obtain dinner reservations for us both nights without any trouble. Everything we had booked was within walking distance, even for my elderly parents. This is a trip none of us will ever forget.

  • Stayed: September 2009, traveled with family
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Thank pamnfam
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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3,452 - 3,458 of 3,889 reviews

Reviewed September 8, 2009

My husband and my 12 year old daughter went to the Empress at the end of August.
I make my reservation directly on the hotels web site -www.fairmont.com and they give you choices- I usually choose the "Gold" level- We LOVE their lounge and you have drinks & snacks, games, newspapers, ect. and I like the option to give the first nights deposit for a better price (Thanks!) When checking in- tell them what's important to you-
Is it a fireplace? a more Historical character room? a shorter walk? a better view? And if you are checking into a gold room and the 2nd floor check in - step into the gold lounge and have a seat while they are doing their job- No need to stare at them while they are trying their best. Many thanks to "Dillon" for welcoming us again to my Empress.

The Smart Family

  • Stayed: August 2009, traveled with family
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Thank Veroniqua
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 5, 2009

Have been given and read very mixed reviews so was cautious. But the room was lovely, faced a back street but that made it quiet and who stayed in the room with so much to do anyway. The bed was super comfortable, room small but okay, bathroom small but nice. As in most hotels the number of front desk staff seems cut back, but once you got to the desk they were very helpful. Jennifer helped us on several occasions and always had great suggestions. Tea was very overpriced, but you really do have to do it once. Victoria is a great city and this is a great location.

  • Stayed: August 2009, traveled with friends
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Thank noworry
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 30, 2009

My family and I stayed at the Fairmont Empress recently. I am a teenager, and therefore, I noticed a lot about the hotel. It's very nice, but very old.
First, many of the dining rooms seemed off limits and there was only one casual eating area, which was in the front of the hotel. The rest of the rooms required coat and tie, or were very restrictive. Second, everything just seems a little tired. Not shabby, broken, or nasty, just tired. Third, there was a CONSTANT stream of tourists that sorounded the building. At times there were a hundred people snapping pictures. It was slightly annoying because I felt like I was staying at some big tourist destination.
However, there were many good things about the hotel too! My family stayed in a suite (two rooms). The gold level was AMAZING! There was great food, great views, and not too crowded. The concierge was helpful and friendly, and were there anytime we needed something! The sunsets are incredible, the room was really nice, and overall we felt welcome. This is a great hotel to stay in, although i don't recommend taking small children here. This seemed more of a formal hotel.

  • Stayed: August 2009, traveled with family
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3  Thank traveler2themax38
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 28, 2009

It might seem a little harsh to compare The Empress to a venerable and somewhat capricious elderly aunt of a certain pedigree but on a summer’s day the absence of air conditioning does remind one that this property is from another age. The labyrinthine corridors require, if not satellite navigation (far too modern for the Empress) certainly a map-and-compass to navigate; for example, the trek from the main lifts to our room involved six turns down five long corridors. All-in-all if you come to The Empress you do so on its terms, not yours.

Be in no doubt that The Empress is the place to stay. All of Victoria seems to radiate from The Empress with the harbour in front (the departure point for ferries to several points in America as well as the astonishingly frequent seaplanes to Vancouver), Victoria’s main shopping area to one side of the Empress and the BC Museum & Government Buildings on the other side. The main coach station is directly behind the hotel, providing ridiculously easy transfers to Vancouver and Vancouver Airport. There are numerous firms offering to take you to the must-see Butchart Gardens by every form of land, sea and air transport imaginable but the best, cheapest and least publicised option is the number 75 municipal bus from a stop directly behind The Empress.

Our Gold room was adequately spacious and stylishly furnished in a pleasingly dated way, with an adequate (if chunky) old-style television and an adequate (if not blistering) Ethernet Internet connection. The absence of net curtains from the windows was a bit surprising, although some were installed when we queried this – after two days of asking. A hint of quality is indicated by the presence of a simple fridge instead of the loathsome mini-bar; something that some other Fairmont properties (for example, the Fairmont Vancouver) have yet to learn. The Gold lounge on the second floor is located in the corner of the hotel affording views across the harbour and towards the Parliament buildings.

The Empress restaurant is a dark, vaguely menacing place with hammer-head beams and cumbersome furniture. Presumably this is what someone thinks a Scottish baronial hall should look like. In fact, they only look like this in Harry Potter films and suchlike. In this context, the enormous modern wine cooler the size & shape of a cathedral organ that dominates the entrance to the restaurant looks completely out of place. The service is appropriately formal and the food good if a little unimaginative.

If the concessions demanded by the venerable and slightly capricious Empress are too much you could stay in Marriott directly behind The Empress; all shiny new and high-tech, and a fair bit cheaper, too. But that would not be the same, would it? Good as it is, the Marriott – and everywhere else in Victoria – lacks that certain je-ne-sais-quoi that sets the Empress apart. It really is one-of-a-kind.

  • Stayed: August 2009, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank SouthOxon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 23, 2009

My sister and I stayed at the Empress for 4 nights last week. Our standard room did not have a view, but was very large, about 400 sq. feet. It was quiet at night so we could sleep with the windows open. We were upgraded to a deluxe room the last 2 nights and the only difference was that it was a harbor view---and a bit noisier at night. My sister treated to the lovely high tea ($57.50 p/p plus tip). I am glad to have experienced it, but I think it was a bit too much $$$. Other hotels have high tea at perhaps cheaper. We took the Grayline hop on hop off which was great for 2 days---

  • Stayed: August 2009, traveled with family
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Thank MaryTravler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 22, 2009

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, I guess. We LIKE the idea that there is no air conditioning - coming from Seattle we know that there are maybe 2 days a year that deserve A/C. The idea that you can actually open a window delights us. Also that the doors at the ends of hallways are open. We like fresh air!!. I was impressed that when I called the concierge, I was addressed as Mrs. Petersen. The hotel iself is a lovely example of fin de siecle elegance - no matter where you look in the hotel or in the ground, your eye will fall on something beautiful. Our room wa spacious with morning sun and two windows. The bed was large and comfy with a down filled comforter. We had dinner one night at the Veranda room looking over the harbour - absolutely perfect.
We have been to Victoria many times but this trip was the best and I am sure the experience was shaped by staying at the Empress. We are comparing the experience to hotels in Paris and Tuscany - NOT Whistler for goodness sake!!
I only wish we could give it more stars...

  • Stayed: August 2009, traveled with friends
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3  Thank giuseppev
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
#16 Romantic Hotel in Victoria
#17 Family Hotel in Victoria
Price Range: $215 - $430 (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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