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“The food is good and the view is nice”
Review of Empress Lounge

Empress Lounge
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Ranked #901 of 3,228 Restaurants in Washington DC
Restaurant details
Detroit, Michigan
Level Contributor
189 reviews
127 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 85 helpful votes
“The food is good and the view is nice”
Reviewed October 2, 2013

I have had a few good meals here - coconut red curry chicken sate, chicken curry and fried rice. As much as I enjoy the food, every time I dine here, the service is way too lacking. My last time was when the hotel was sold out - the Empress Lounge had EVERY table filled - and there were only 2 servers. By the time I got my food I was ready to take it to my room to eat. Regrettably, the people at the surrounding tables were complaining also. I felt poorly for the 2 servers. Obviously, they were under staffed. This can happen any time - we don't know if somebody called in sick or what, but from some of the other reviews, it appears that it is more common than not.

  • Visited August 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank CorpPlanner_11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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55 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Russian first
  • Any
English first
Level Contributor
30 reviews
15 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Food was good, but too expensive”
Reviewed August 28, 2013

The food was good - had a club sandwich, fries and a coke. The lounge was very nice, modern, seating was comfortable. It is in an open lobby so it was quite loud. This bill was over $ 30.00!

Visited August 2013
Thank mjobota
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Santa Maria, California, United States
Level Contributor
29 reviews
16 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“This was a huge miss”
Reviewed August 4, 2013

The Mandarin Hotel looks classy, but the service is hit an miss. The Empress lounge visit for us was a big disappointment.

We visited the lounge after returning from a moonlight tour of the monuments. The kids had missed-out on an ice cream social the hotel hosted for our group earlier that evening because the hotel staff had put the ice cream bars out too early on a hot July night and the ice cream melted before everybody could get some. :( So I decided that after the monument tour I would treat them to some ice cream. I soon learned that the only ice cream choice readily available at that time of the evening was the Empress lounge. So we went there.

The lone server in the lounge was disorganized, obviously feeling overloaded, and allowing her frustration to flow into her interactions with the customers. She treated us dismissively when we told her we were not planning to order alcoholic beverages. We requested a food menu instead so we could see what the dessert options were. We waited for quite awhile during which time she tended to other tables, taking their orders and bringing their food. She walked by our table empty-handed several times which led me to think she had forgotten that we still needed menus (when I was in food service we avoided walking empty-handed because it amounted to wasting steps). After several minutes I again asked about the menus. She told me rather abruptly that she was busy and would be with us in a few minutes. We again waited for several more minutes. She finally brought some menus and left us for a few seconds to take a drink to another table then came back to take our order. I explained that we had not yet had a chance to look at the menu and asked her to give us a few more minutes. She looked annoyed, walked away, and did not return for quite awhile. We looked through the entire menu she gave us and found no ice cream so we decided to order different desserts. When we were ready to order I tried several times to give visual clues that we wanted to order such as making sure all menus were closed and on the table, trying to make eye contact with her, and even waving at her. After another 10 minutes or so she came over to take the order. We told her what we wanted and she said that we could not order those things because the kitchen was now closed. I then asked her what was currently available from the menu. I could not find the page in the menu she was describing, which led to more obvious displays of frustration from her (VERY poor customer service attitude). She took the menu from me to open it to the correct page. She flipped back and forth between the pages a few times before saying, "Oh, I brought you the wrong menus." She then took those menus from us and disappeared again for several minutes.

By now I'm frustrated enough to seek out a manager...and to order an alcoholic beverage! I asked for a beer and was told that the bar was closed. I explained to the manager what our experience in the lounge had been over the past approximately 45 minutes and conveyed to him that while I have sympathy for a busy server (I've been there myself many times), I think the service we had received was poor beyond what made sense for being busy. He apologized and said that the lounge had gotten a big rush of people after the return of the buses from the moonlight monument tour and the server had been struggling to keep up. (I am not sure why the hotel would have been caught so off-guard by the return of three buses from a monument tour that is a strong tourist attraction on this city. Surely the hotel has experienced other times when the buses bring back hot, hungry people looking for a little something in the food or beverage arena before retiring to their rooms.) The manager ended up taking our order and bringing the ice creams to us. I think that was nice, but I think it was obvious much earlier that the server needed help and a truly skilled manager would have stepped in sooner to ensure that customers were receiving proper care.

Just to top it off, when I looked at the correct menus that they eventually brought us, I swallowed hard at the prices. Two scoops of ice cream with a little chocolate syrup, $8. Six assorted cookies of normal size, $12. Yes, that's right, $44 for ice cream and cookies for four people. If I am paying that much for ice cream I expect either really good ice cream or really good service, or maybe even both. We received neither.

  • Visited July 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Teri W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
69 reviews
52 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“4th of July service disappointing”
Reviewed July 26, 2013

Waited 90 minutes for a cheese plate. It never arrived despite assurances that it was on its way. Iced teas took over 30 minutes. This is not 5 star quality or service. The lounge was not prepared for customers. Very disappointing.

  • Visited July 2013
    • Food
Thank kberg1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
37 reviews
26 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Comfortable seating,great atmosphere!”
Reviewed June 18, 2013

My son the sirloin burger, and it was amazing!! We had some wine and a cheese plate after a long day of sightseeing, and it was such a nice place to relax. The view of the gardens was beautiful, the chairs were comfortable, and the service was excellent. HIghly recommend for drinks and light dinner!

Visited June 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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